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2020 – The Worst Year Ever

Just like that, Covid 19 abruptly ended our social lives, on an ordinary weekday in March!

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2020 Image Source: Arklign
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Rorisang Moyo

The year is 2020, some random day in March.  Apparently, people have to stay at home. Just like that, Covid 19 abruptly ended our social lives, on an ordinary weekday in March!

2020 - The Worst Year Ever Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: SA Government Initial Lockdown Announcement

Covid has been real. Stories turned to numbers, and numbers turned to names of people that we knew who had been affected.  Today I am going to run you through the bad things that turned out to be great this year.

A New Kinda Struggle

Most children will testify that the African parent’s narration of how they went to school always involves being scorched by fire, and being rained on. Despite all this, they knew the response to a teacher’s question in the classroom before they were even asked. It is always a story about how they had to sweep the windows and mop the roof, which shaped them into the strong adults of today.

Millennials finally have their narrative of struggle that will be passed down to generations. As millennials, we are already compiling the script of the number of ways to say no when our future offspring tries to have some fun. It goes something like this; “When I was your age, I did not leave home for one year and I could not see my friends. Please do not complain about your friend that you have not seen in two weeks.”

Era of the Zoom

Do you remember when you had to wake up at 5am to get ready for work in winter? Your toes were freezing cold and you had to look presentable while you were grumpy that you had to slave away for work. Now, one gets to work while wearing some lazy pants and colorful socks with a decent t-shirt during a Zoom meeting. You get to look like a decent working-class member of society, waist up. Congratulations!

2020 - The Worst Year Ever Asante Afrika Magazine
Image Source: Popsugar Fashion

Unavoidable Family Time 

Lockdown has also forced you to love your children. Now you know how naughty your bundle of joy is.  They have moved from climbing tables at crèche to climbing on your TV at home. Do you know how hard a teacher’s job is? You are currently struggling to supervise your 5 year old’s four-hour day at school. Imagine teachers who have to deal with hundreds of children who are just like yours, every year! A teacher’s daily life is like watching variations of the same movie. Bless their souls!

2020 - The Worst Year Ever Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Homeschooling meme

You remember when you used to tell your university children to calm down because outside was not going anywhere. See now, outside has left. Outside is closed, even for you Mrs. Jones!

2020 taught us not to take anything for granted and that we are literally visitors on this earth.  We had to go back to the drawing board to realign our values and what was important to us.

Ever Mounting Issues

In these unprecedented times where we had to restructure our lives, the topic of mental health has had to move from being an abstract concept to something that is more real to us.  Best believe that when we have nations that have not been taught to process disaster and how they feel about it, we will be heading towards a catastrophe. At times our immediate environment can be harmful to our mental state, as it might be damaging and toxic. Throughout this pandemic, there have been reports of increased domestic violence cases as well as sexual violence cases. 

Even if Covid-19 comes to an end, the damage is done; we will emerge a damaged society. At first, alcohol was blamed for an increase in domestic violence cases. However, when it was taken out of the equation, the problem still persisted. Covid-19 has revealed a deeply rooted culture of violence that we need to resolve through a change of structural mechanisms. These should be decided on local, government, regional and international levels.

The World at Large 

Remember when you were younger and looked at the American flag with admiration, the good old lack of self-belief that we had in our leaders when America was the poster child of democracy and excellent governance. Well, I am kindly asking you to kill whatever American dream you had. The refusal of Americans to wear masks during a literal living and breathing pandemic was shocking!

We learnt in 2020 that a black person can just be shot by ‘accident’ while jogging in the park. As if that was not enough, in our very own Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and friends, police brutality was not just something people watched on TV. Think about #EndSars and #ZimbabweanLivesMatter online civil rights movements, which were a cry for help. While we thought we were resting from that, Uganda’s Museveni decided that the presidency existed for his sole enjoyment. The presidency could not be contested for fairly.

2020 - The Worst Year Ever Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Yoweri Museveni

In 2020 we came, we saw, and we conquered. As citizens of the world, we even tried to make our own homemade alcohol using pineapple and yeast. That did not end well.

Africa maintained its place as the hub of entertainment and humour.

Men held their annual imaginary conference, ‘Men’s Conference’, simply a three day long, imaginary conference that is scheduled between 14 and 16 February. At this imaginary conference, which is designed to escape Valentine’s, men will get to talk about all sorts of things really. It’s just a men’s conference. A group of grown men promoted a nonexistent event on Twitter and gave us a few laughs.

2020 - The Worst Year Ever Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: ‘On way to Men’s Conference’ Meme

I do not want to lie to you and have toxic positivity about the current state of affairs in the world. Toxic positivity sounds like this.

  • It’ll all be fine.”
  • “You should smile more.”
  • “Don’t worry about it.”
  • “It could be worse.”
  • “Don’t be so negative.”
  • “Always look on the bright side!”
  • “Everything happens for a reason.”
  • “Think happy thoughts!”

All I will say is… “Let us be responsible. Let us stay safe, and sanitize.”

Connect with Rori via her Blog and LinkedIn:

https://rorisangmoyo2.wixsite.com/website/blog

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rorisang-moyo-2a8731193/

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Lifestyle

Unprepared and Offended

We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters. ~ Gloria Steinem

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Hazel Lifa

For years tension has been building between the sexes, a battle line has been drawn, and if we are being honest, noone knows when this happened. It is evident in movements like the Men’s Rights Movement and the christened ‘Third Wave of Feminism’. Somehow it has become a ‘Men vs. Women’ world in a reality where we honestly need each other to evolve and survive.

“It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals”.

emma watson

In a past article I spoke about how of late we tend to make everything about gender; a man behaves badly, it’s because he is a man. If a woman abuses her spouse, it is because she is a woman and privileged. In our bid to simplify the issues each sex meets in life and figuring out who’s to blame, we have cultivated so much contempt and mistrust. According to actress, Emma Watson, “It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum, instead of two sets of opposing ideals”.

Unprepared and Offended Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Emma Watson 

I recently had a conversation with an educated lady who pointed out a huge factor in the case of the modern woman and man. Men and boys were never prepared for the empowered, educated and powerful woman point-blank. Think about it; when you are born into societies where two parties hold such suspicion and resentment towards each other, what happens when we try to evolve and grow? Further misunderstanding and skepticism, and the game of broken telephone continues.

“…I will go as far as to say the modern woman is seen as less than.”

Whether it be in the African setting or European household, women have generally played the subservient role; treed away from major roles in powerful spaces like politics or law enforcement, asked only to entertain with their feminine appealing looks, and valued for procreation.

With the rise of feminism, women were encouraged to be just as daring as men, confident, and commanding. Women started entering the workforce, voting, started businesses… oh what a time it was! However, no one thought to prepare boys and men for this evolution of the woman, and unfortunately, it has ended in a stand-off.

The modern-day educated and working woman is often persecuted and made to feel guilty for having aspirations beyond a household and a spouse. Speaking from an African perspective, I will go as far as to say the modern woman is seen as less than. I have been genuinely warned to not get ‘too educated’, as I will be hard to marry off.

“We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.”

Gloria Steinem

On a social level, boys and men have and are still being taught that to be a ‘man’, a woman or several have to be at their mercy, inferior, and often in a position of humiliation. A woman being intelligent and insightful is equated to a man being less than. One would think that logically, having a working and educated wife would add to the quality of an ideal spouse and life partner. Many households are plagued with violence of all kinds created by insecurities which young boys are taught and carry into adulthood.

The tension has gotten to a point where women are either taking too long to marry, or forgoing the experience altogether. Such actions will have ramifications on society, but the biggest question is whether they will be positive or negative? One asks, “Ok, we have identified the issue, now how do we correct it?” The truth is that the fix is tedious, and it requires dedication from parents and adults around young boys. In the famous words of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “Culture does not make people. People make culture.”

Unprepared and Offended Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 

The perception of the opposite sex and the dynamics of man and woman are topics taught from the tender stage of infancy, hence the nuclear family unit is where the work should start. Boys should be taught that it’s ok if a girl is better than you in a sport or at a job, her capabilities shouldn’t translate to your self-worth. “We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters,” says Gloria Steinem. 

Let us be brave enough to teach boys to not see girls as the benchmark of weakness and inadequacy. Teach boys to not to be sore losers who rather than be motivated to do better next time, lash out at girls and women who excel. Let us make phrases like ‘throws like a girl‘, ‘fights like a girl’, a positive thing; if I am a girl, how else am I to throw, fight, etc.?

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#BlackGirlMagic

Zambian professional soccer star, Barbara Banda made history at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo by becoming the first woman to achieve multiple hat tricks in a single Olympic event.

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Image: Zambian professional football star, Barbara Banda
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Hazel Lifa

They say it’s better late than never. The month of August’s significance is one that originated in South Africa after more than 20 000 women from all walks of life united in a mass demonstration walking towards the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

#BlackGirlMagic Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Women’s March for Human Rights 1956

The strength and audacity exercised by women like Helen Joseph and Albertina Sisulu on August 9th 1956 are virtues that young African and black women alike can look up to in today’s world. For this year’s just ended National Women’s Month, I would like to shine a bright light on the black girl magic that has been going around in Africa and around the globe lately.

It is the time of the black woman to shine, not to say she couldn’t before, but the world right now is giving black women, as they say these days, ‘their roses while they’re alive to smell them’.

I will kick off this magical show with a feat I am sure many will agree is a game-changer. Kamala Devi Harris, the 49th Vice President of U.S.A. This biracial black woman of South Asian descent is moving in circles which women with any trace of melanin complexion couldn’t even dream of being included in for centuries. Harris’ position as Vice President of the most powerful nation on the planet gives women of colour, old and young, a sense of pride.

#BlackGirlMagic Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Vice President Kamala Harris

Her success also gives us another platform to discuss and grow; Harris’ sex and race are not all she is but they play a large role in the world she lives in. With time we can only hope the novelty wears off.

Zambian professional football star, Barbara Banda made history at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo. She has become the first woman to achieve multiple hat tricks in a single Olympic event. The Zambian Women’s soccer squad’s captain is the first African woman to achieve a hat trick in Olympic history ever. Furthermore, she now holds the women’s record for most Olympic goals scored by an African. The 21-year-old is a striker who began her professional career in 2018 playing with Logrono in Spain; she scored 16 goals in 28 games. Banda came to the Olympics an unknown, but has left a name for the history books.

#BlackGirlMagic Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Barbara Banda in a Zambia vs. China Olympics match

Earlier this year we were impressed and elated to learn that the Miss South Africa pageant would be opening its doors to Transgender participants. Lehlogonolo Machaba took this invitation and ran with it, becoming the first openly transgender participant to make the top 30 of the competition.

#BlackGirlMagic Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Miss SA Finalist Letlogonolo Machaba

“Everything I do as a dark-skinned, transgender woman is a statement. My mere existence in society is threatening, and there’s a lot of closet transgender women who are afraid to come out in fear of receiving hate and even worse, being killed. By doing this I am helping all those women to know that there’s still hope and the world is changing for good, slowly but surely,” Machaba said.

Machaba works as a model booker at Invade Models, and is also the founder of the DeMollies fashion brand. She has a Diploma in Fashion Design technology from the Tshwane University of Technology.

Hailing from the western African nation of Nigeria is innovator and businesswoman, Oluwayimika Angel Adelaja. Adelaja’s two businesses Fresh Direct Produce and We Farm Africa are innovating farming technology, a feat that couldn’t come at a better time considering global warming and all. Adelaja is leading the crowd with her revolutionary stackable container farms that ease the strain on land use and opens up the world of fresh quality food to urban populations.

#BlackGirlMagic Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Oluwayimika Angel Adelaja
#BlackGirlMagic Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Oluwayimika Angel Adelaja at one of her container farms

Adelaja’s organic urban farms require way less land and water in comparison with traditional farming methods, and all while producing a yield 15times higher. Adelaja’s food shortage solutions and farming techniques all work towards creating a cohesive agricultural chain of production and creates opportunities for Africans. Adelaja also works towards the empowerment of women and developmental economics, and still holds positions like Special Assistant to the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Poverty Alleviation and National Coordinator and Consultant to the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Wealth Creation.

In the world of poetry, Dasha Kelly Hamilton is the first black woman to be named the Wisconsin Poet Laureate in its 20years of existence. Her primary objective as the award holder is to be an ambassador who encourages poetry throughout her tenure of 2years. Hamilton will be receiving a stipend of US$2,500 and a residency at Shake Rag Alley Centre for Arts in Mineral Point.

#BlackGirlMagic Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Dasha Kelly Hamilton

Brenda Katwesigye saw something broken in a system and set out to correct it; the result is Wazi Vision. The Ugandan native became concerned with the high cost of eyecare back in 2015 during a personal visit and launched Wazi Vision in 2016. Wazi Vision provides free eyes tests at schools and rural areas; the startup has even developed an app that incorporates virtual reality in visual tests.

#BlackGirlMagic Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Brenda Katwesigye

The company also uses recycled materials in manufacturing their glasses which cuts the cost of glasses. In 2018, Wazi Vision was named in the Forbes Top 60 Woman-led Startups that are shaking up Africa, and Katwesigye was named as one of Quartz Africa’s top 30 Innovators. I could go on and on, black girl magic is upon us, and backwards never my melanin beauties.

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The Strength Of A Woman – Celebrating National Women’s Month

To be a woman is to reject being known as a strong woman, because our value goes beyond our expectation to be confronted by pain.

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Image: @remyshoots Photography
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Reflections By Rorisang Moyo

Kumkanikazi. Mofumahadi. Mfumukazi. Queen.

You are most of the time overlooked, undermined,
stifled, frustrated. Scorched by fire, dipped in water;
yet pressure does not end you, it elevates you to
your fullest potential.

This does not mean that to be a woman means
pain is romanticised. To be a woman is to reject
being known as a strong woman, because our value
goes beyond our expectation to be confronted by
pain.

The Strength Of A Woman - Celebrating National Women's Month Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: @remyshoots Photography

To be a woman means to feel things deeply in
their entirety, to be at one with the earth and how it
works. After all, it is through us that great men and
women continue to be born, and to take their place
on this earth.

Woman means beauty, strength, community,
trendsetter, lover, and fighter. To be a girl child and
a daughter, means potential and endless possibilities.

The privilege of standing on the shoulders of
giants, a community of other women; women who
have paved the way for you to live without any barriers – ever-changing, limitless and fluid.

The Strength Of A Woman - Celebrating National Women's Month Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: @remyshoots Photography

No person alive can put a lid on the power of woman.

Photography by Jeremy Kupfuwa, IG @remyshoots

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