21 hours, that is the first thing I remember about going to Chicago Illinois, the hours to get there just waiting in the plane by watching movies and getting served meals by the flight attendants.
Finally, we land and it’s still day on that side of the world so technically I experience two days in one day . So we land, me and my mom are greeted by my aunt and my cousins holding a big banner saying, “Welcome to America” . I was so ecstatic to see snow only to get disappointed to see that it hasn’t snowed yet but it was so cold I vividly remember my feet instantly get cold and every time you breathe and speak, visible cold air was seen so we went straight to my aunt’s house to drink warm beverages, I drank hot chocolate .
My aunt has been living in America for over 14 years with her husband and her two children, one turning 17 and the other just turned 8. We always went after every two years to visit the family but now they are now returning the favour and coming to South Africa .
When my mother and I were there we went to this kids restaurant called Chuck E Cheese and to my surprise, I was utterly terrified of the mascot and I don’t know why. However, I believe it is because I knew rats could not be that big and happy, so I cried and there is even I photo in the album proving that .
Soon after of being there for a few days, I was woken up by my aunt saying, “it is snowing”, to say the least I was out of that bed faster than you run from a lion. I’m running downstairs and about to run outside then I slip and fall tearing my favourite pants from the back to front, not hearing my aunts warning to not run. In that moment, I didn’t care because I was seeing snow! Not for the first time but each time I go there, it gets more exciting and fun to play with. Even though its freezing, the memories that are formed trump any coldness you are feeling .The best part of playing in the snow are the snowmen that freeze your whole back and legs but looks beautiful at the end of it all .
The next few days I attended my cousin’s school just to see if the American school life is what we see of TV, somethings are true, like the cafeteria, is HUGE and busy.
The funniest part of the whole American school experience was that the children don’t have knowledge of what happens outside their country. I went into my cousin’s class the first time and the teacher introduced me and added that I come from South Africa. Immediately hands went up to ask me questions, the first few were normal understandable questions when suddenly a boy asked if I had a pet lion and if that wasn’t enough, he also asked if we wear animal skin as clothes! The teacher she was about to tell him to stop asking such questions but I interrupted her and said it is fine and I would answer the questions because me being a sarcastic, joking teenager I said that I had a pet lion named Simba after his ancestor and that I wear animal skin on a daily basis just like I am wearing right now ( which I wasn’t, I was wearing a hoodie and jeans) that is when I got a disapproved look from the teacher while other students started laughing. And that was just the classroom but while in the cafeteria that was a whole other story. So many people surrounded the table I was at with my cousin and kept asking for me to speak so they could hear my ‘accent’. While I spoke, I mentioned they are the ones with the accents but none could hear me considering the commotion they were making after hearing me. This was such a fun eventful day that took so much energy out of me, so the minute we got home I went straight to bed to sleep even missing supper.
Soon the three weeks were over, as sad as I was, it was back to normal routine life back in South Africa.
Overall my experience in Chicago, Illinois was amazing and such an adventure, and making the memories with my cousins, aunt and uncle were so precious and will not be forgotten and can’t wait to go back.
Places you can visit in Chicago:
- Skydeck, Chicago:It was the most thrilling yet scary experience I have ever felt in my life standing on a glass floor 412.4 meters above street level.
- The Field Museum: The most educational but interesting history that dates back to 4.5 billion years ago and the exciting thing to see was the Tyrannosaurus Rex which is huge and has sharp dagger teeth.
- Art Institute in Chicago: it is such a relaxing and peaceful day at a famous art exhibition with the famous paintings by Monet, Van Gogh, Degas and Gaugin.
- Shedd Aquarium: The most spectacular and mesmerizing place where you lose sense of reality and enter a whole fantasy world with the sea life around you.
I recently overheard two young women, both around 19 years old debating between themselves whether they should apply to study next year or continue doing the promotions work they do. They love the promotions work because it pays them more than they know, around R3,000.00 per month and they feel they can earn more as they position themselves to become influencers. They were watching a YouTube by a South African influencer who was sharing how she earns more than R50,000.00 as an influencer, these two young ladies went crazy at the thought that they could earn such “easy” money just by building a following on Instagram by looking good, looks easy right? They missed the part that this particular influencer has a Bcom degree. An interesting tidbit, quite a few of the successful influencers we see on Instagram actually have degrees.
I wanted to jump in and say “young sis, please stay go to school!” Even Kim Kardashian is studying towards a Law Degree because she wants to be taken seriously, and she is already worth at least $300million and moved from being an influencer to being an owner of a brand!
It is mid-year and around the time when universities will be closing soon, have you decided what you will be studying in 2020? Or which skill you want to learn in 2020? This could be a new design programme you will learn over YouTube, or learning to DJ so you can do gigs over the weekend and flex your love for music even though your day job keeps you in a stiff corporate environment. In this day and age we need to multi-task not only to make more money but to be happy and do the things we love that keep us inspired.
I have a degree and I have been working in the media sector for a couple years and I am still studying part-time towards my Honour’s Degree in Media Studies at UNISA and I plan to study towards my Master’s Degree! I think it is safe to assume that a Master’s Degree is the new degree in the competitive work environment, well at least in some sectors. I also write on the side to earn more money and to do something I really love, which is to write and express my opinion.
The University of Cambridge, Oxford University, Harvard, Berkeley, Yale. These are some of the most Influential, well-known and excellent universities in the world. These are some of the universities we strive to go to, well I am still striving towards. I read about how most of the people I admire, who are amongst the most well educated people in our country and around the world, have attended these universities and they are today some of the most well-respected people. Universities like these speak of class, excellence and a certain kind of education we can only dream of, but importantly going to a good university gets you access and gets you into a network that makes moving up in life easier. I myself have the hopes and dreams of entering institutions like these. However, none of this can be achieved without a good education or rather foundation.
It doesn’t matter where you start from. This is a journey which begins in pre-school, and continues through to middle, and high school. It may not seem like the value of education is much right now, but every step of the way counts on the road to being a successful individual who is in control of their destiny. Education plays a vital role to a productive and good life. It improves your value and and adds meaning to life. A good education, especially in the South African and African context, eliminates poverty and the trappings that come with poverty, especially in a female lead household where you would be the main bread winner. This is a high likelihood in South Africa. By achieving a good education, you can get a good job which pays you enough to be able to live a satisfactory life. The education you gain coupled with experience makes it easier for you to climb up the ladder of success, whatever field you choose. Education is an important tool for total emancipation for women. Women have to work twice as hard as men to climb up the corporate ladder and black women have to work thrice as hard, and this is easier if you have an education.
Achieving an education also plays a role on you wanting to be a good parent. Research has shown that mothers who have gone to school have healthier, better-nourished children, who are most likely to succeed. Also, most successful women who go through school and end up having a successful career including marriage have fewer kids, therefore have improved parental care. Education augments the ability of families to handle health issues and as an educated female you are able to advise your family on health concerns.
Education can open opportunities especially for women, this means women have the power to climb the work environment ladder one degree at a time. It does not always happen that way though however women who are educated stand a good chance in being recognised. It’s kind of sad that women always must prove themselves especially in the workplace and always must work twice as hard to be recognised but this is the society, we live in. Which is why we can never stop striving to being on top, we can never stop learning, growing and most importantly educating ourselves, especially in this work environment where technology is always changing and new knowledge develop. Being educated means it is easier for you to learn new things and new ways.
Education also gives you confidence and provides us with the things we need to partake in today’s world. I love the example of Nomzamo Mbatha who still worked towards completing her degree so that she can be respected as a business woman and also get into other ectors and not just entertaiment. Education makes us more independent and aware of what is going on in the world today, along with the awareness of opportunities and rights. It offers a greater understanding and power which we need to carry on. It gives us a sense of confidence to go for what we want.
Further education is a fundamental element to ensure success in one’s life. Having some sort of education be it a certificate, a diploma or degree is a huge achievement on its own but don’t let it stop there. I have always had this conscious feeling regarding studying further. When I finished my BA in Corporate Communication a lot of people around me advised me to carry on, they advised me not to take a gap year, now let’s be clear our situations in life are not the same. Be sure of what you want to do and if you are not sure what you want to study, do take the necessary time you need to figure that out but do not delay too long.
Some stats and research by the department of business innovation skills shows the different reasons of why people decide to studying further such as the main reasons for embarking on further education are economically related: 40% of learners (44% of men and 38% of women) cited economic or job-related reasons for wanting to study further . Of this number, more than seven in ten (72%) undertook further studying to either improve their job prospects or gain a new career; while 15% of these suggested that the primary reason related to improving their ability of education is because their current job. 23% mentioned a personal interest in the course, while 16% of these mentioned that they were undertaking the qualification in order to progress onto a higher level of education and training. Less than 3% of all learners mentioned ‘meeting new people’ or ‘building self- confidence’ as the primary reason for engaging in further studying.
As stated above there are many more reasons why people decide to study further. Studying further doesn’t always mean enrolling in a formal degree, you can improve skills and education by learning on YouTube for instance. My argument is that it is important to keep learning and improving your skills to not only remain competitive but also for your own freedom. In the growing gig economy where we can be free to choose the work we want and work from anywhere in the world, it is even more imperative to keep your skills and knowledge set up because we now compete globally and not locally.
Girl Boss Rating: 8/10
To say this album was widely anticipated is an understatement! Some will argue she took her time letting go of this project, I imagine it being a difficult thing to just let out. As a labour of love, you want it to be just perfect. In our view it may not be perfect but it came quite close.
In the intro she reminds her detractors and naysayers what she’s here for and does so quite skilfully.
Nadia is an excellent rapper, who has gotten better with each song she makes. We appreciate that she gave us 17 tracks and a really good look into her mind, what matters to her and how she thinks.
‘Africa’ is an ode to our continent, the song, distinctly peppered with ragga raps on a bed of African
drums makes it a unique and enjoyable song, on its own we give it a 9/10. This is one of our favourite tracks. Rap is considered a competitive genre, she doesn’t shy away from letting others know in the ‘game’ that she’s here to take the top spot. But does she have to swear so much?? Our other favorites are Ima Boss, (because we are bosses and we wont have it any other way), Yass Bitch. ‘On the Block’ with Khuli Chana, she flows effortlessly over a classic boom bap jazzy beat showcasing raw rapping skills, no gimmicks. starter. ‘Darkness Defined’ featuring Lady Zamar is a pure vibe. ‘Chankura’ is a bonafide party starter featuring Cassper Nyovest her label boss is guys featured on that track. An interesting song is ‘Rap Bitches’, which is an interesting song, clearly inspired by Rap Niggas, favourite of ours by the late Gangsta Rapper, Nipsey Hussle.
Our standout favourite is ‘Kreatures,’ a retrospective, melancholic cut which features another favourite
of ours Kwesta trading bars on the either sides of Sio’s perfectly haunting hook.
This album is near perfect, well crafted, you can tell a lot of time and thought went into putting this
together. We have had the privilege of watching her perform live and we can tell she’s an artist that
pays attention to every aspect of her artistry, from how she presents herself on stage to the carefully
picked collaborators on songs, to the album cover and perhaps importantly the carefully chosen bars
she’s chooses to spit.
Dare we say it it is one of the most well put together albums to come out of ours shores. Give it a
good listen. Let it grow on you…But still, why does she sweat so much?
We give it a good 8/10, making it a classic, it just wasn’t a flawless effort. I think she will do better. It was a good first album and I have no doubt the next album.
You know you are a ‘proud’ African when you get annoyed easily when people outside the continent make generalisations about Africa. Often times these generalisations are usually in the negative hence our defensive apprehension about them. We right to get peeved when we hear someone say ‘I am going to Africa’ or ‘In Africa this or that happens’. We have a uniform rebuttal: “Africa is not a country damn it. It would be nicer if you were more specific which country you referring to!”
Of course Africa is not a country and the sooner the world appreciates this the better. In fact, Africa is so diverse no two group of people can ever be thought of as the same. In Zambia alone, a country of just 15 million people, there are as many as 72 ethnic groups and as many languages. Now scale that up and think of Ethiopia with its 105 million people and you get the full picture. Ethiopia is the perfect example of the richness of African diversity; ethnically, racially and even linguistically. It would therefore smack of ignorance to make some blanket generalisation about a continent this huge and diverse.
However, we Africans have gotten so obsessed with trying to correct foreigners about some assumed or real prejudice about us that we have missed an important discussion on the subject—what if Africa was a country? There is a joke Dave Chappelle tells in his recent stand up special about the dangers of standing too close to the elephant. He argues that to see the true picture and size of the elephant you must stand a safe distant away because ‘being too close can make you see only its penis like skin’. Now therein lies the rub! Growing up in the ‘homogenous’ country of eSwatini, formerly called Swaziland, I too was imbued with all the ignorance and prejudice the outside world has about our continent. Swaziland has just over 1 million population with one ethnic group, language, religion and tribe. Most of us never truly experience Africa in its diversity as a daily lived experience. It would not be too much of an exaggeration that growing in such a country feels like standing too close to the elephant.
It took me living in Europe, Norway in particular, to finally make one painful admission—I, too, am as ignorant about Africa as the rest of the world. For starters, it was embarrassing that I had not been to as many African countries relative to those I have visited in Europe. Imagine sitting with people from other parts of the world being schooled about your own continent because they have been to more African countries than you. One could argue that it is logistically easy to visit Africa from outside than from within but still this experience put to question my own obsession with seeing other parts of the world without wanting to really familiarise and experience myself my own backyard. Even worse is that I am the first to ‘correct’ and reprimand people who so much as say something slightly wrong about the continent. Wouldn’t it then make sense if I invested as much time in knowing my continent before feigning myself as some Africanist warrier defending the continent from its perceived and real enemies?
My second epiphany happened while I was at a party in Oslo. I met up with a Congolese friend and wanting to impress I told her I know at least one word in Congolese. She looked at me in utter bewilderment, ‘so what exactly is Congolese?’ she asked. Congo has as many languages as I have exes, yet here I was exposing my ignorance like that. There are many other instances that expose my lack of knowledge about Africa. I soon began to realise I am not the Africanist I see myself as. Collectively these experiences made me consider a scenario—what if Africa was a country? As soon as the idea of Africa as one country began coalescing in my mind I knew I had reached my own Einstein moment. I wanted to test my theory. Who else better to be my guinea pig than my Ghanaian friend. Let us call him Rob. Like a typical African, Rob is proud of Ghana (bar its politics). At some point I was worried his patriotism bordered on vile nationalism. So there I was narrating to him a scenario. “So if I peed here and someone saw me, how me do you think they would describe me?” I asked. Without a hint of irony he blurted out, ‘They would probably say two Africans were seen walking and one then peed.” “Exactly,” I retorted. My point had been made. I later explained that we walk around carrying these petty country identities that mean nothing outside our countries. To everyone else we are just Africans. We are not Ghanaian and Swazis here in Europe. We are not Igbo or Yoruba. We are Africans. Maybe we must see ourselves as belonging to one country called Africa.
Maybe, just maybe, when we start to see ourselves as Africans and not attach these petty tribal and national labels we would stop engaging in xenophobic killings and embrace what the rest of the world long realized about us—we are one big country and I can only imagine the greatness that would start to build from a united economy and peoples, I imagine our economy would blossom and we would stop looking for aid and competing with each other to see who can be colonised the fastest by China. Imagining Africa as a country for economic reasons requires an article of its own, it is nonetheless something worth working to see realized by our generation. We can remain proudly Swazi, Igbo, Yoruba, Akan and also be proudly African, these country divisions have caused more detriment than progress in our lives and countries.