The LGBTQIA+ community is important. Their voice should be heard and should be protected. South Africa is one of the most accommodating countries in Africa, however, there is still a long way to go. Anza Thiba (@anzathiba), Mpho Koloko (@fruity_jay) and Salmaan Jacobs aka Sally (@werqsally) had a discussion on what needs to change in South Africa for the community to be accepted fully rather than tolerated. This podcast is a must listen, it will definitely shed light on many important factors on the queer community.
After a period of continued struggle and oppression, there comes a time when enough is enough. The mind, body, and spirit simply will not be capable of taking any more pain. For Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian street vendor, this moment came on the 17th of December 2010. Bouazizi doused himself with a flammable petroleum liquid, lit a match and set himself on fire. He had been pushed to this point of desperation by the seizing of his vegetable stand by police because he did not have in his possession a valid permit. This sparked the Tunisian Revolution but more importantly, it led to the Arab Spring, a series of pro-democracy uprisings across the Middle East.
One of the countries to be directly affected by this revolution was Yemen. Yemen is one of the most poverty-stricken Arab countries in the world. In anticipation of the rolling Arab Spring protests, Yemen seemed to be ahead of the curve in terms of change. The president at that time was Ali Abdullah Saleh who was an authoritarian leader who had been in charge of the country for almost thirty years. With the Arab Spring almost at their doorstep, Yemen as a country decided to have a political transition. This was only to be the source of their problems.
Long-time President Ali Abdullah Saleh was removed and replaced by his deputy, Abrabbuh Mansour Hadi. This was a peaceful transition that was meant to create a sense of peace and stability in Yemen. All is well that ends well, so they thought. This was simply not the case for Yemen and its leader, Hadi. He faced a number of problems that included jihadist attacks, a separatist movement in the south of the country, the continued loyalty of security personnel to former leader Saleh as well as the corruption, unemployment and food insecurity of the average person on the ground. Perception means a lot in politics and all the aforementioned factors made Hadi look like an indecisive, weak leader. This created ripe conditions for ambitious opportunists.
The Houthi movement took advantage of the new president’s apparent weakness. The Houthi is a movement formerly known as Ansar Allah. This movement champions Yemen’s Zaidi Shia, which is a Muslim minority in the country. The Houthis took control of the northern areas of the country including the province of Saada and other neighbouring areas. The transition from Saleh to Hadi left many ordinary Yemenis disillusioned, so they joined the Houthis in their rebellion. This also included Sunni Muslims. Sunni and Shia Muslims generally do not get along. In late 2014, early 2015 the rebels gradually took over the capital Sana. The Houthis and security forces loyal to Saleh saw this as a sign that they could take over the entire country. This forced President Hadi to flee the country.
Saudi Arabia was alarmed by the rise of a group they believed had military backing from regional Shia power, Iran. Saudi Arabia and eight other mostly Sunni Arab states in the region began air campaigns against the Houthis. At the beginning of this campaign, Saudi Arabia and the other Arab states believed that it would only last a few weeks. This was in 2015, today in 2020 the conflict continues. The civil war is still raging with complicated relationships existing between the parties involved in the war. The most unfortunate part of all this is the fact that a country has been destroyed along with the lives and livelihood of its people. At the moment it is not known exactly how many people have been killed during the conflict. It is estimated that about 100 000 people have been killed in the conflict, this includes 12 000 civilians. The conflict has brought normal life to a stop so activities such as agriculture and trade do not function as they used to, in most instances, they have actually ground to a halt. This means that the population of Yemen are not getting food as they should be. Food security is close to non-existent in the country. It is estimated that 85 000 people have died from famine. It is said by the UN that more than 24 million people in Yemen are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. This includes more than 12 million children. It is estimated that around 2 million children under 5 years of age are suffering from malnutrition and require immediate treatment.
The sudden appearance of Covid-19 on the world stage added salt to an open wound. The country has been bombed and has very poor sanitation and provision of water. This has created a dire situation in an emergency. The damage to hospitals has led to their closure, disrupting health services amongst other things.
The situation in Yemen found its genesis within the country. But sooner rather than later, a myriad of parties became involved in the conflict. This includes outside parties such as Saudi Arabia. More significantly one clearly sees the hand of the Western powers, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom providing weapons that are being used in the conflict. This is a repetition of these superpowers meddling and involving themselves in the issues of sovereign territory. Most times these countries see themselves as protectors of democracy and innocent people too but in the end, they just add to the misery, chaos, and death in these countries. It should also be highlighted that countries such as the United States of America profit from these conflicts by selling weapons and military equipment.
The situation in Yemen is dire, it deserves more of the world’s attention. The lack of widespread media coverage on the conflict further highlights that some regions, countries, and people are not as valued as others. This is unbecoming in the year 2020. As human beings, we need to do more to draw attention to the Yemeni people’s plight.
It is also important to highlight that as with every war, the females and children are bearing the brunt of the war. The UN estimates that 76% of the internally displaced persons are women and children and an estimated 3 million girls are at risk of gender based violence. 21% of households are now headed by girls below the age of 18 years. Women are now having to carry the double burden of being providers of their homes, amongst other roles played by men, as well as play their roles of primary caregivers in families. This is because most men have either been killed, injured or disappeared.
Whilst women are most heavily impacted by the war, they are under represented in politics, in 2013 only 0.7% of Member of the Yemeni Parliament were women. Yemen has been ranked last in the World Economic Forum\s Global Gender Gap Index for 13 consecutive years. Yemen has always been a deeply patriarchal society with very strictly defined gender roles and obtuse gender inequality. Whilst the protracted war and the need for women to now play dual roles that step outside of the rigidly defined gender roles has given women insight into what life could be if the heavy hood of patriarchy were to be lifted, and could be an opportunity for equalising gender inequality; the other side of it is that men have become more violent “literature has shown that in societies with rigid gender norms, men feel emasculated and threatened when they experience a shift in gender roles, which can lead to an increase in intimate partner violence.”
28 June 1969. New York City. Stonewall Inn, a bar located in Greenwich Village, frequented by the gay community, was raided by the police. Patrons within the establishment were taken outside in order to be arrested. The tension caused by the raid continued increasing with patrons resisting arrest and a growing crowd becoming more and more animated. Soon coins and bottles were being thrown at the police officers. The underlying energy that had been building up in the New York gay community, after years of harassment by the authorities, exploded and resulted in three days of protest.
These protests became the spark for the rise of emerging gay rights movements. This led to the formation of organisations, meetings with politicians, and more positive conversations in the public with regard to the gay community. The original organisers decided to make June, Pride Month as a means of paying homage to the Stonewall protests of 1969. The Pride name came from Brenda Howard, a bisexual activist from New York. She was nicknamed “Mother of Pride”. She is credited for organising the first Pride parade as a way to commemorate the first anniversary of the Stonewall protest. The rainbow flag and colours are other highlights of Pride Month. The flag was designed by artist and designer Gilbert Baker after being commissioned by Harvey Milk, an openly gay elected official in the USA. Baker, who was also a gay rights activist took inspiration from the diverse interests within the queer community and used the colours of the rainbow to represent that diversity.
June is Pride Month. This is the month in which the world’s LGBTQIA+ communities come together in order to celebrate themselves and their freedom to be. LGBTQIA+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer, intersexual, and asexual. Here’s a breakdown of the LGBTQIA+ community:
• Gay people and lesbians are people attracted to people of the same sex. Lesbians are women in this instance.
• Bisexual people are attracted to people of their gender as well as other genders.
• A person is transsexual when they feel emotionally and psychologically as if they belong to the opposite sex.
• Queer is an umbrella term referring to non-straight people.
• Intersex refers to those whose sex is not clearly defined because of genetic, hormonal, and biological differences.
• Asexual describes those people who do not feel any sexual attraction. The plus is for the people who recognise themselves as gender-fluid, whose gender identity shifts according to the situation or time.
Pride gatherings came about as a fightback against continued prejudice that resulted in the loss of dignity, opportunities, and even death. This was a decades’ long fight for the LGBTQIA+ community to be accepted as who they are. Pride events are geared towards being an inclusive space in which all people are allowed to be present, even people who identify as heterosexual. It should be noted that a greater emphasis is placed on people who feel that their sexual identity falls outside the boundaries of the mainstream.
Pride events usually take place in June but it is a common place for different cities around the world to host them during different periods of time. For example in 2020, the Cape Town Gay Pride was largely held during the month of February, from the 14th of February until the 1st of March. The first Lesbian and Gay pride march in South Africa was held in Johannesburg on 13 October 1990. It was the very first march of its kind to be held in Africa. One of the outstanding facts about that march was that it was both a pro-queer and anti-apartheid protest. The Gay and Lesbian Organisation of the Witwatersrand (GLOW) was the organiser of the march and it attracted a sizable crowd of around 800 people. The march was attended by Beverly Ditsie, Simon Nkoli, and Judge Edwin Cameron. Simon Nkoli, who was an anti-apartheid, gay rights and AIDS activist, spoke at the march and the following are his words, “I am black and I am gay. I cannot separate the two parts of me into primary or secondary struggles. They will be all one struggle.” These were still dangerous times in South Africa so a large portion of the crowd was wearing masks. There was a notable presence of religious groups and onlookers who described the march as “disgusting”. The event was an important foundation for Pride marches as each province in South Africa currently hosts one.
South Africa was the first country in the world to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation. It was also the fifth country to legalise same sex marriage. Same sex couples are allowed to adopt children. LGBTQIA+ community are protected from discrimination due to constitutional and statutory protections. South Africa is one of the most accommodating countries in Africa, however, the LGBTQIA community still suffers from homophobic violence such as corrective rape. On the 21st of March, a lesbian teen was stabbed 13 times for accidently bumping into a man. The young female died a painful death due to homophobia. South Africa still has a long way to go.
Pride Month is an important institution in the LGBTQIA+ community. It is an important platform that can be used for many reasons to improve the lives and livelihoods of people within its community. It should be supported and allowed to span its wings even further.
Have you seen a picture of your body from two years ago and thought “wow, my body was so fit and amazing”, however, at that time you didn’t think so and would found fault in all areas. That is Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)! Or when you look in the mirror and see a skinny girl with sadness when in fact, your body is thick and healthy. That is Body Dysmorphic Disorder! BDD is a mental health condition where a person worries about their appearance and flaws. These flaws are usually not noticeable to others.
I’m sure you are wondering, what if I’m just insecure? And yes, that’s a valid question. There can be confusion between BDD and low self-esteem. BDD is characterized by being overly preoccupied with your flaws. It’s more extensive because the individual can be affected to the point of inability to function normally. it will have an impact on their emotional, social educational, or occupational welfare. Their behaviours will develop into obsessive actions such as checking their appearance 100 times throughout the day.
So how do you spot it? The symptoms of BDD are constantly worrying about certain areas of your body, comparing yourself to other people, avoiding mirrors or always looking into the mirror, finding ways to conceal your flaws e.g. baggy clothing, apply too much makeup, hairstyles which hide your face and self-harm. This disorder can lead to further mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. BDD isn’t considered an eating disorder, however, it can trigger anorexia nervosa, bulimia, or binge eating as it has to do with appearance. One might feel the need to eat more or less depending on what they are struggling with.
Vast studies have been conducted to get to the root of BDD, the causes are not specifically known. However, they can be associated with:
• Traumatic life experiences such as teasing, bullying, and abuse. These experiences could have taken place at any point.
• Genetics – having relatives with a history of BDD or obsessive-compulsive disorder.
• A chemical imbalance in the brain (usually associated with anxiety or depression).
• Unrealistic societal pressures or expectations of beauty standards.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder can be life-changing. It can steal joy and prevent one from living their best life. A person needs to have confidence in their self to feel good and overcome fears. Therefore, treatment is a must and seeking help get one to a place of good health. It is recommended that you visit a GP and from there you will be transferred to the appropriate specialist.
These are some of the different treatments that may be given to someone diagnosed with BDD:
1. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
At the beginning of therapy, you will discuss goals and what you’d like to achieve from the session. CBT will help you change your mindset. Therefore, change how you think and behave. The therapist will help you identify triggers. You will then be given strategies on how to deal with the trigger and habits. It won’t be easy as it entails exposing emotions and feelings you might not want to confront. If you are a minor family therapy can be included, so that parents are well aware of the root of the problem.
2. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
SSRI’s are a type of antidepressant. Antidepressants are effective if used correctly. One must be monitored when on them. It takes about 12 weeks to the medication to have an impact on your symptoms. You will take to take them for months before coming off. Nevertheless, coming off SSRIs has to be done slowly by the reduction of the dose. This is done to prevent withdrawal symptoms as it can be a side effect of stopping abruptly.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder is actually quite common, many celebrities experience it. Kim Kardashian as admitted to BDD and has had numerous surgeries to ‘fix’ what she didn’t like. Michael Jackson is one of the biggest celebrities in recent history to suffer from BDD going to extreme measure to change the colour of his skin from black to white. And in South Africa we have seen an increasing trend of celebrities like Khanyi Mbau also bleaching their skin, this is also BDD.
Having a disorder such as Body Dysmorphic Disorder can take away from you. We all deserve to live full lives centered on fulfilling our purpose. We all deserve to be happy and comfortable in our skin because at the end of the day, the body we have is ours to keep forever. If you are dealing with this disorder, we want you to know that you are worthy, valued, loved, and appreciated.
Okay, let’s face it. I’ve been waiting for the longest time for gyms to reopen and for me to pick up my old exercising habits once again, but that does not seem anywhere close to my near future. I have accepted this and have decided to revert to my basic training days when a gym membership was not a privilege. So back in 2015, I witnessed my greatest weight loss transformation. When I mean transformation, I mean that a girl worked extremely hard to achieve those results. But back then l was mostly at home and didn’t have that many commitments. I try not to use this as an excuse. But it’s true. When you find yourself at home, it’s easier to set your mind on achieving something, especially regarding your body because there aren’t that many distractions to your disposal. I mean you can only watch TV for so long before it tires you. And so, I set out on working on my body.
The first thing I did was log on to my social media pages and looked for images of people who were known for being fitness gurus. This was not too difficult to find. However, they always posted their workout recommendations, from 15 min workout to full body workouts, etc. I also decided to download some home training videos that focused on different types of training from Hip Hop Abs, to Yoga, to Core workouts, lower back training, arms, and legs. The videos honestly helped me the most because they had momentum. They motivate you to finish what you started.
I knew my diet had to change. I probably had one big last crappy meal, cleansed my system, and began on a new foot. I will post something on diets soon. But I mostly consumed less starch, because I knew my body reacted the most to foods that were harder to digest, and stuck to white meat and seafood too. Understanding my body type meant that I had to train for my body type. I would consider myself gifted, in the sense that the universe did really bless me with a little bit of everything, depriving me of nothing. You can actually say that when I gain weight I gain weight in every inch of my body, and when I lose weight the same applies. Cardio training was high on my training routine followed by muscle building and core strength. But before anything I first had to shed a great amount of fat.
Running outside is the BEST and by far the most EFFICIENT way to burn calories. I would prefer running in the early mornings as the air was crisp and this would motivate me to stick to my clean eating habits throughout the day. You get better the more you train and your stamina improves. This is also a great way to warm up your muscles and to get your blood pumping. If you don’t know how long you should run for, at least run until you break a sweat. My exercise choice would differ every day but here are some recommendations:
• THE 100 WORKOUT
100 JUMPING JACKS
70 LEG LIFT
60 JUMPING JACKS
30 LEG LIFTS
20 JUMPING JACKS
RUN FOR 10 MINUTES
• SPELL YOUR NAME & SURNAME!
A: 50 JUMPING JACKS
B: 20 CRUNCHES
C: 30 SQUATS
D: 15 PUSH-UPS
E: 1-MINUTE WALL SIT
F: 10 BURPEES
G: 20 SEC. ARM CIRCLES
H: 20 SQUATS
I: 30 JUMPING JACKS
J: 15 CRUNCHES
K: 10 PUSH-UPS
L: 2-MINUTE WALL SIT
M: 20 BURPEES
N: 40 JUMPING JACKS
O: 25 BURPEES
P: 15 SEC. ARM CIRCLES
Q: 30 CRUNCHES
R: 15 PUSH-UPS
S: 30 BURPEES
T: 15 SQUATS
U: 30 SEC. ARM CIRCLES
V: 3 MINUTE WALL SIT
W: 20 BURPEES
X: 60 JUMPING JACKS
Y: 10 CRUNCHES
Z: 10 PUSH-UPS
• SATURDAY WORKOUT – Repeat 5x, 25 reps each
2. Wall Push-ups
3. Jumping Jacks
4. Shoulder touches
6. High knees
• ABS THURSDAY – Repeat 5x
1. 15 raised leg circles
2. 20 leg raises
3. 12 scissors
4. 20 flutter kicks
5. 20 mountain climbers
6. 20 knee pull-ins
• FRIDAY WORKOUT – Repeat 5x, 20 reps each
3. Mountain climbers
5. Jumping Lunges
6. Cross punch sit-ups
7. Bicycle crunches
8. Leg raises
9. Side plank crunches
There are a countless number of these kinds of workouts that you can source pretty much anywhere. All it takes is dedication and consistency. And they are perfect because you can do all of these at home, including the home workout videos. It gets even better and you get even stronger when you start adding weights into the mix. This, together with a clean and healthy diet and tones of water, and you’re set for a new you, all in the comfort of your home.