Author Archives: trudygyal

What we can learn from The Book of Negroes’ Aminata Diallo

Although the mini-series Book of Negroes came and passed two or three years ago, what we can take from the story of Aminata is very much relevant in our every day lives, especially as black women.

If I bear any virtues that are listed below, know that Aminata taught me.

Perseverance: Nothing tests a human’s strength like adversity and Aminata’s life was filled with many of those. After losing her second child who was just two months old, she picked herself up and carried on because she had the will to live.

Self-love: In a time where it was dangerous for black people (especially women) to love themselves, Aminata did not waver in her self-love and pride for her African heritage. The ledger she wrote called the Book of Negroes, in one episode, shows how big she was on identity.

See the good in people: Firstly, she fell in love with a slave merchant, who eventually became a slave himself. Secondly, when Aminata’s former slave master, Solomon Lindor separated her from her daughter, it did not seem right. However, when he reunited the mother and child, it became apparent that her daughter did get a better life, under the circumstances of the slave era. This shows that very few things are black and white, and that even in the midst of a depraved paradigm, some humanity still exists.

Be assertive: Even from a young age as she was captured in the slave ship from Guinea, she did not allow a man to exploit her sexually. She had many come-backs for anyone who would underestimate her. Born to be a story-teller, she never allowed anyone to write her story for her. She knew that only she could do that best.

Know yourself: I believe Aminata had a healthy amount of self –awareness; dare I say self-mastery. From a very young age, Aminata knew she had the gift of storytelling and somehow, all forces trying to separate her from her purpose ended up leading her towards it, and we watched her life go full circle. If that isn’t inspirational.

Use your gifts/ talents: She lived in a time when black people were treated as subhuman but that did not stop her from contributing to society. She capitalized on her skills, including ‘baby-catching’ to keep her going in a world designed to bring her down. By that she made friends with people of power, who could protect her. If she could thrive with her skills then, what’s our excuse today?

Be courageous: Normally a freed person who sees others in chains would mind his or her own business to stay out of trouble, but Aminata was not afraid to give them water or rescue them, even if that meant she would possibly be killed for it.

It’s okay to be vulnerable: One of Aminata’s most vulnerable moments is when she found her beloved Chikura alive after a race riot. In between sobs, she repeatedly said: “Never leave me again”. In a film that could have easily made her a ‘strong black woman’, we learn instead that she needed companionship and thrived on it too.

Cause no harm, take no crap: I already mentioned how assertive she is, but the cause-no-harm part refers to her kindness to everyone she met. From the butler she met in England, to the people she met at Nova Scotia. That way, she made many friends and learnt plenty.

You’re it! Aminata’s own story showed that she clearly had a lot to offer the world. As a result, she attracted many people. When you love yourself without any pressure, watch people get drawn to you. Just watch.

You can’t be mediocre: Listen: in her world, she had to be excellent. That was another survival tool. As a black woman, which is a double-edged sword, she had to prove herself to be capable of reading, writing and negotiating. Does that sound familiar, ladies? Probably because it still happens today. But for the sake of ourselves and not to appease anyone else, may we be enemies to mediocrity.

Just because we’re magical, doesn’t mean we’re not real: These famous words of Jesse Williams are relevant to this story, which depicts a woman of great virtue and principle yet not immune to temptation and making mistakes. We are excellent, but we are also human.

Aminata clearly lived the full and adventurous life most of us can only dream of. All we can do is allow this story to fuel the beginnings of our own inspirational sagas.

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12 Things we can learn from The Book of Negroes’ Aminata Diallo

Although this mini-series came and passed two or three years ago, what we can take from the story of  Aminata is very much relevant in our every day lives, especially as black women.

If I bear any virtues that are listed below, know that Aminata taught me.

  • Perseverance: Nothing shows a person his/her strength like adversity.  The story of Aminata is a complex one that represents what many women who were enslaved went through. She did not give up on life, and she encouraged others to do the same. After losing her 2nd child who was just two months, she picked herself up and worked. She had what we all were gifted with: the will to live.
  • Self-love: In a time where it was dangerous for black people, especially women, to love themselves, Aminata did not waver in her self-love and pride for her African heritage. The ledger she wrote called the Book of Negroes, in one episode, shows how big she was on identity.
  • See the good in people: Firstly, she fell in love with a slave merchant, who eventually became a slave himself. Secondly, when Aminata’s former slave master, Lindor separated her from her daughter, it did not seem right. However, when he reunited the mother and child, it became apparent that her daughter did get a better life, under the circumstances of the slave era. This shows that very few things are black and white, and even in the midst of a depraved paradigm, some humanity still exists.
  • Be assertive: Even from a young age as she was captured in the slave ship from Guinea, she did not allow a man to exploit her sexually. She had many come-backs for anyone who would underestimate her. Born to be a story-teller, she never allowed anyone to write her story for her. She knew that only she could do that best.
  • Know yourself: In a world that tells us not to be self-absorbed (which is okay), I believe Aminata had a healthy amount of self –awareness; dare I say self-mastery. From a very young age, Aminata knew she had the gift of storytelling and somehow, all forces trying to separate her from her purpose ended up leading her towards it, and we watched her life go full circle. If that isn’t inspirational.
  • Use your gifts/ talents: She lived in a time when black people were treated as subhuman but that did not stop her from contributing to society. She capitalized on her skills, including ‘baby-catching’ to keep her going in a world designed to bring her down. By that she made friends with people of power, who could protect her. If she could  thrive with her skills then, what’s our excuse today?
  • Be courageous: Normally a freed person who sees others in chains would mind his or her own business to stay out of trouble, but Aminata was not afraid to give them water or rescue them, even if that meant she would possibly be killed for it.
  • It’s okay to be vulnerable: One of Aminata’s most vulnerable moments is when she found her beloved Chikura alive after a riot in Nova Scotia. In between sobs, she repeatedly said: “Never leave me again”.. In a film that could have easily made her a ‘strong black woman’, we learn instead that she needed companionship and thrived on it too.
  • Cause no harm, take no crap: I already mentioned how assertive she is, but the cause-no-harm part refers to her kindness to everyone she met. From the butler she met in England, to the people she met at Nova Scotia. That way, she made many friends and learnt plenty.
  • You’re it! Aminata’s own story showed that she clearly had a lot to offer the world. As a result, she attracted many people. When you love yourself without any pressure, watch people get drawn to you. Just watch.
  • You can’t be mediocre: Listen, in her world, she had to be excellent. That was another survival tool. As a black woman, which is a double-edged sword, she had to prove herself to be capable of reading, writing and negotiating. Does that sound familiar, ladies? Probably because it still happens today. But for the sake of ourselves and not to appease anyone else, may we be enemies to mediocrity.
  • Just because we’re magical, doesn’t mean we’re not real: These famous words of Jesse Williams are relevant to this story, which depicts a woman of great virtue and principle yet not immune to temptation and making mistakes. We are excellent, but we are also human.

Aminata has clearly lived the full and adventurous life most of us can only dream of. All we can do is allow this story to fuel the beginnings of our own inspirational sagas.

 

With Neymar out of the Cup, Brazil’s racist character against blacks shows its face again

Looks like Zuniga drank plenty of haterade before the game.

Black Women of Brazil

Neymar Juan Zúñiga

Note from BW of Brazil: OK, so anyone who has been following the World Cup or is a fan of Neymar, Jr. knows that the superstar recently sustained a devastating injury after being kneed in the lower back by Colombian player Camilo Zúñiga. According to reports, as the 22-year lay in agonizing pain on the field, he reportedly said to teammate Marcelo that he couldn’t feel his legs. Any fan or simply human being seeing another person in such agony surely provokes a dreadful feeling.

Neymar lays on the field in pain atfer receiving a knee in back from Colombian player Zuñiga Neymar lays on the field in pain atfer receiving a knee in back from Colombian player Zuñiga

Indeed, millions of people probably gasped as they watched the young player being carried off the field on a stretcher with an expression of sheer agony on his face. Indeed, Brazil’s team doctor confirmed that Neymar suffered broken vertebrae and would be expected to be out of…

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trudygyal's Blog

The saying: “Don’t judge a book by its cover” could not have been more relevant. According to http://www.eonline.com/, Australian Women’s Weekly magazine took a different and brave approach to drawing its readers. This they did by featuring a surviving burn victor (rather than victim), Turia Pitt (aged 26). Two years ago, she was caught in a Bushfire during a marathon in Australia, which started from Uluru to Sydney.

While she is reputed to be an all-round “incredible human being” (E!online); she is also surrounded by equally incredible people such as her significant other, Michael Hoskin. No coveting intended, but what a beautiful hunk he is. Pitt gives veteran singletons like myself hope that it takes more than the over-rated (and cliche) aesthetic beauty to find and have true love.

In the face of her adversity, she regards herself “the luckiest girl in the world”, effectively reminding us to count our…

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Beyond the cover: Burn Survivor graces the cover of Australian Women’s Weekly Magazine

Turia Pitt, Australia Women’s Weekly

The saying: “Don’t judge a book by its cover” could not have been more relevant. According to http://www.eonline.com/, Australian Women’s Weekly magazine took a different and brave approach to drawing its readers. This they did by featuring a surviving burn victor (rather than victim), Turia Pitt (aged 26). Three years ago, she was caught in a Bushfire during an ultra-marathon in Australia.

While she is reputed to be an all-round “incredible human being” (E!online); she is also surrounded by equally incredible people such as her significant other, Michael Hoskin. No coveting intended, but what a beautiful hunk he is. Pitt gives veteran singletons like myself hope that it takes more than the over-rated (and cliche) aesthetic beauty to find and have true love.

Her positive attitude shines in that she has used her experience to write a book called Everything To Live For, which is critically acclaimed. In a world where girls are supposed to be “pretty, not smart” (Women24), her story is an ideal anti-thesis thereof. This is why: She has a degree in Mining Engineering and Science. Add to the above, https://twitter.com/TuriaPitt is also an athlete and a motivational speaker. And this is why the title of her book makes so much sense.

In the face of her adversity, she regards herself “the luckiest girl in the world”, effectively reminding us to count our blessings. We sure hope to meet her one day so we can take some life tips.

Learn more about her story her  story here.

http://t.co/DBGKtdiz8R

It seems E! and I are not the only ones who are happy about @WomensWeeklyMag’s move.

https://twitter.com/WomensWeeklyMag/status/484162342700072960/photo/1 #TuliaPitt

In an industry that tends to be idealistic (and superficial), This magazine has clearly gone against the current. Hopefully this is not the last of stories such as this one. More women (like Turia) from different walks of life should be given the opportunity to testify, thus the privilege to inspire.

In other news:

http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/23019/will-pakistani-acid-victims-ever-be-as-lucky-as-turia-pitt/

by: Trudy Rozani

Sub-texts of Dragon Ball Z: The evolution of Goku

Dragon Ball Z is one of my favourite cartoons, if not THE favourite ever to exist. With it’s cliff hangers and on-going saga’s, this serial had me hooked. 

Even the villains kept me interested because of their outlandish character profiles and aesthetics. These got me asking: ‘How will Goku conquer this one?’, until he would turn Super Saiyan.  

This brings me to the point at hand. As we (DBZ fans) know, in order for Goku to be the champion, he has to counter attack with  the ultimate level (above-mentioned) when the Kameha-meha isn’t enough. He is surrounded by fiery cyclones and Gale-force winds before his make-over is complete. He stands tall and focused, as a Blonde and blue-eyed Demigod. This image was very exciting and it caused optimism.

The following may have been the last thing on my mind then. However, now, as a young adult and Media Studies Graduate, I cannot help but defamiliarise (and demonsterize where necessary). Through the transformation of Goku, I feel that DBZ reinforces the idea of Aryan-ness as the superior and the strongest/ fittest, where victory is made (Circa 1930s and ’40s; Hitler’s Nazi regime). Goku’s hulk-esque appearance at this stage also reinforces the importance of the Alpha-male, combined with the racial OCD that Hitler himself had.

I have always thought Goku was Asian (duh). The Black spikey hair and Alabaster complexion, his Martial Arts Costume and insatiable appetite for rice (eaten with chopsticks) clearly gave that idea. So, in hindsight it appears that he had to undergo a whole racial transformation to win his fights, because his natural (Asian) looks are too mortal. 

However, if I would cross the fence, I would conclude that DBZ (through the same transformation) blurs the boundaries of race and culture. I mean, the characters also speak English with an American accent. The female characters in particular are racially ‘ambiguous’ as each one has their own hair colour in Coco-power-ranger diversity. 

At the end of it all, this internal discussion was spurred on by the question: “Why did Goku have to turn Blonde to win?”

Am I reading too much into this? Don’t answer that. 

-Trudy Rozani

 

People of colour: did Mandela really sell us out?

Here we go again: I’ve been hearing the statement ‘Madiba sold us out’, of late. But one would think it would pass over. To my understanding, it is because he did not reclaim the land that was colonized by the white people, amongst many forms of compensation, ‘in exchange for the end of Apartheid’.

However, I believe that the definition of Mandela selling us out is him accepting PW Botha’s offer to release him from prison in 1985, if the freedom fighter renounces violence aka the anti- Apartheid Struggle. Had he done that, all of what his friends such as Oliver Tambo did in exile, to campaign for a democratic South Africa, would have been worth nothing. But because he refused to settle for that, the fight for freedom was worth it.

You may ask the question: how is it worth it when there are still poor black people and wealthy whites? Let me remind you of something: We are free. Regardless of our race, we are free to rise from poverty and be anything we want to be. There is no longer Apartheid standing in the way. We are also free to go, live and study wherever we want to, without being harassed about passports. Those of us who study in big cities and away from home can live in residences made of diverse communities, where in the past black people would’ve been excluded and forced to live in townships far from the city. To get to university, we would have had to travel in segregated locomotives, with our side most likely being crowded. Not comfortable, is it?

But, within our race, there are owners of reserve banks, Investors, businessmen,-women and even members of elite. Think Tito Mboweni, Patrice Motsepe, Dr. Precious Moloi Motsepe amongst a plethora. This is all because they decided that they are the masters of their fate and the captains of their souls. They decided that they would not blame their circumstances or their past for what could have been their stagnasis. Above all this, some of them have charities to which they donate. Can you say the same for yourself?

The deepest root of the above is education. The only thing that can push the country forward, to a positive direction.

I suppose the counter-argument to this is, that many children still do not have access to education. That is true, and that is partly because we live in a world where the love of money rules the willingness to serve. It is also because of a large portion of South Africa allows that to happen. However, that blame should not be put on Nelson Mandela. This is because, during his presidency, his main emphasis and aim was education and investing in children and restoring a broken South Africa.

Yes, I am all for reparations and material compensation. That must happen, and it did. But, will it ever be enough to close the wounds created by the past atrocities? Will it ever wipe away the bitterness which may have been another kind of oppressor? If you believe that gaining mineral wealth by means of punitive justice will appease the deaths of Biko and Hani for Ubunt and Uhuru, you might as well be like the villain in Blood Diamond.

Nelson Mandela, along with his Rivonia Trial compatriots, believed that South Africa belongs to all who live in it. That ideal was one for which [they] were willing to die, if needs be. Fortunately, a number of them saw it come to life. That ideal was not about to change under the pressures of bitterness and revenge, because all that does not bring any good. If we want to build a nation and move forward, we need to embrace the values of peace and equality, for which many political prisoners fought and died for.

Everybody wants money and power; but who wants to serve? Very few people, and Mandela was one of them.

With that being said, let us stop putting blame (which is often misguided) on our freedom fighters, and focus on the challenges we need to face as the youth in post-Apartheid South Africa. Let’s treat our inherited freedom as responsibility to create the South Africa that we want.

It begins with you. #Alivewithpossibility