Month: September 2018

Generation Z

Generation Z (the mid-1990s to early 2000) is the generation after the Millennials (1980-2000). It is the generation of no limitations and ultimate risk takers-be it lifestyle or business wise. By the year 2019, it is estimated generation Z will account for 32% of the global population. Despite being defined as “millennials on steroids”, having a lower attention span due to social media and spoiled, we can not deny that some of the most extraordinary beings are from this generation. They are the generation of early starters, individuality, they are justice-minded, independent and they do not always follow the outlined course of life structured by the generations prior. They practice thinking outside the box from a very early age, to the age is literally just a number and believe even the sky is not the limit. Today’s post focuses on the few of the many who are living their lives fully, with passion and purpose-inspiring me to do the same.

This list is in no particular order.

 1.Yara Sayeh Shahidi

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Yara Sayeh Shahidi (born February 10, 2000) mostly known as Yara Shahidi is an Iranian-American actress, model and activist. She is best known as Zoey Johnson on the sitcom Black-ish and its spin-off, Grown-ish. Yara started her career at the age of 6 years and appeared in adverts for McDonald’s, Ralph Lauren, Disney, GapKids, Guess Kids and Children’s Palace. She made her cinematic debut in the movie, Imagine That (2009), starring Eddie Murphy, which then led her to win the Youngest Artist Award nomination for the best performance in a featured category.

She is well known among her generation as an activist and is the founder of Eighteen x 18 with the American social news publisher NowThis, which is a platform to encourage her peers to vote for the very first time in upcoming American elections. Her other organisations include Yara’s Club which is a partnership with Young Women’s Leadership Network of New York, which provides online guidance in hopes to end poverty through education. She has been admitted at Harvard University and made the Times Magazine list for Most Influential Teens in 2017.

2.Donel Mangena

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Donel Mangena (16 years old) is a Zimbabwean-British pop-star who was a finalist of The Voice UK. He is also a writer and penned some of the lyrics to his debut single, Bang Like A Drum. Whilst coaching him on The Voice UK, Will.i.am likened Donel to the late Michael Jackson stating, “Donel could be the biggest artist on earth, the way he is in the studio, how attentive he is, mentally, spiritually, his excitement and dedication. That’s what Michael was like”.

Donel has won hearts all across the nation with his incredible performances, he was personally invited by Prince Harry who is a fan, to the Queen’s 92nd Birthday concert earlier this year. Prince Harry introduced him on stage as: “one to watch, a star of the future”.

3.Adult Akech

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Adut Akech Bior (born December 25, 1999) is a Sudanese-Australian model, who made her fashion runway debut as an exclusive in the Saint Laurent S/S 17 show and went on to close both the Fashion Week 2017 and S/S 18 shows as an exclusive. Adut was introduced to the fashion industry by her family and despite being scouted at 13/14 years, she began her career at 16 years. Within the fashion industry, she preferred her birth name, Adut and signed with Chadwick Models in Sydney, Australia.

Adut’s first runway debut was in a local show put together by her aunt, she went on modelling at the Melbourne Fashion Week and she has been unstoppable and has walked for Kenzo, Tom Ford, Prada, Givenchy, Miu Miu, Zara, Bottega Veneta, Burberry and Versace. She has done editorials for American Vogue, British Vogue, Vogue Italia, Vogue Parish, WSJ and Vogue Australia to name a few. She made history by being the second Black Woman to close a Chanel Haute Couture.

4.Caesar Sant

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Caesar Sant (born August 1st,2008) is an American young violin prodigy who was born with a form of chronic anaemia called sickle cell anaemia. At the age of 2, he started playing the violin and at age 4 he was playing Vivaldi. He has had 3 strokes in a span of 2 years, however despite all these obstacles, he has shown stupendous courage and resilience.

In 2016, he played for the most prestigious violinists of the world and his idol, Mr Itzhak Perlman. By the age of 5, he was already fluent in 6 languages and when he was 22 months, he conducted a Beethoven 5th Symphony.

5.Malala Yousafzai

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Malala Yousafzai (12 July 1997-) is a Pakistani activist for female education ad the Youngest Nobel Prize laureate. She is known for human rights advocacy, especially the education of women and children in her native Pakistan, where the local Taliban had at times banned girls to go to school.

In 2009 when she was around 11-12 years old, Malala wrote a blog under pseudonym BBC Urdu detailing her life during the Taliban occupation of Swat. The following Summer, a journalist from America, made a documentary about her life and she rose in prominence-which made her a target of the Taliban.

October 9, 2012 while on a bus after taking an exam, Malala and two other girls were shot by a Taliban gunman in an assassination attempt in retaliation with her activism. Having been hit by a bullet in the head, Malala was in a critical condition ad remained unconscious. She survived, relocated to the UK and is currently studying for a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.

In her first speech following the attack, she addressed an international Youth Assembly at U.N Headquarters: Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution.”

6.Triplets Ghetto Kids

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Formed of 9 members-Ada, Patricia, Ashley, Nyangoma, Fred, Kokoda, Ronnie, Isaac and ManKing, Triplets Ghetto Kids is a Ugandan dance group that has swelled and touched hearts all over the world. The group has members which range from 6-17 years old and even though they were all homeless, orphaned and impoverished-dancing brought them purpose and hope.

Having been dancing for many years, their big break came when they were featured in French Montana and Swae Lee’s Unforgettable video. Their fame skyrocketed and they have become popular all over the interwebs. Previously known as Sitya Loss Kids by the media as it was seen as suitable and would make them stand out, they chose to be called Triplets Ghetto Kids because to them ghetto is not an insult or fashion but it is their identity and a way to embrace their roots.

After the feature on French Montana’s video, they appeared on the Jimmy Fallon show and performed at the 2017 BET’s with French Montana. They currently have an album called Ghetto Dreams which has sold many copies.

7.Maya Penn

Penn (born February 10, 2000) is an American entrepreneur, philanthropist, animator, artist and the CEO of her eco-friendly fashion company Maya’s world. She started her company when he was 8 years old and spoken at TEDWomen and has 2 official TedTalk.

She is the creator of an animation series, The Pollinators which emphasises on the importance of bees and other pollinators. In 2011, she founded her own nonprofit organisation Maya’s Ideas For The Planet and was amongst the people chosen by Oprah on SuperSoul 100 list of visionaries and influential leaders in 2016.

8.Kylian Mbappe Lottin

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Kylian Mbappe Lottin (born December 20, 1998) is a French professional football player who plays as a forward for Ligue 1 club Paris Sain-Germain and the France national team. At the age of 19, he was named the best young player in the world and has been projected as the future best player in the world. He made his debut into the football world at the age of 16 in Monaco and quickly made his way to the top as a goalscorer for the first team in the 2016-17 seasons.

He made his senior debut for France in 2017 and at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, he became the youngest French player to score at a World Cup. He became the second-highest goalscorer as France won the World Cup ad he received the accolade for Best Young Player Award for his performance.

9.Tanya Muzinda

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Tanya Muzinda (13 years old) is a Zimbabwean Motocross athlete who at 6 years old became the first Zimbabwean female motocross champion in history. Earlier this year, she ended up pulling out of the 2018 FIM Africa Motocross of African Nations Championships in Zambia, because there was no class for her to ride in at the big continental event. Tanya rides the 85cc (big wheel) and the only class that was available for females was 125cc.

At a young age, Tanya’s love for the sport encouraged her father to reach out to Motocross legend Stefy Bau. Stefy travelled to Zimbabwe in 2013 and trained her for 2 weeks and afterwards, Tanya dominated a second overall in the very competitive division of the 65B class. Her dream is to be the first African women to reach international success. She is currently in between the UK and the USA to be coached and has enrolled at the Coventry Motocross Junior Club, an opportunity which will open more doors for her.#TeamTanya is a project that was formed to help Tanya conquer in the male-dominated sport and for her dreams to come true.

10.Sheila Sheldon Charles

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Sheila Sheldon Charles (Generation Z) is a 9-year-old Kenyan artist who has caught the attention of many people including the President of Kenya himself, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta. Not only is she an artist but she is also a model, vlogger, dancer and is in Class Four in Mombasa. Having started at the age of 6 untrained, Sheila’s artistic talent is incomparable to her age-mate.

When asked what inspires her to draw on an interview with BBC Africa, she stated that she does not know why she draws but it is God-given and it is something in her. She likes to draw cartoons as they are her favourite things. She encourages young children with talents never to give up and to have intelligence and character-and to always thrive to be there best selves.

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Real Women Breathe

Real~actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact; not imagined or supposed.

•Women~adult females

Breathe~take air into the lungs and then expel it, especially as a regular physiological

There comes a time in every upwardly mobile woman’s life when one encounters someone who asks-Can you cook? How will you get anyone if you look like that? Men do not like that kind of thinking. How will you keep one?. First of all, a person is “kept” only if they want to stay. Culinary skills or looking like a snack 24/7 will not keep anyone who does not want to be “kept”. Society (especially African culture) has put so much pressure on women having us think we need to tick certain boxes to be considered real ( mukadzi chaiye in Shona). We are trained to be wives more than we are trained to be a decent human being. We spend our whole girlhood intaking messages about how we are supposed to sacrifice and always be at service to others before we are taught self-love.

While there is nothing wrong preparing for your husband and having “home training” (I am for it), what I find hard to fathom is when simple human skills are now categorised as weapons or snares on how to be desirable or acceptable for marriage. Character and basic building tools are being misused and redefined to “create” a real woman.

I will elaborate on why I believe and know why so much pressure has been put on women to think marriage is the major goal in life. And how basic skills are meant for us to be decent, functioning human beings and not guidelines on how to be a “real woman” because come on, if you are breathing, you are real. READER’S DISCRETION IS ADVISED, YOU MIGHT FIND THIS UNCOMFORTABLE OR NONSENSICAL BUT SINCE YOU HAVE ALREADY STARTED READING, YOU MIGHT AS WELL CONTINUE. 

1.COOKING

The number one skill a woman should have before leaving her father’s house. Legend has it, it is the true path to a man’s heart. Which is true but honestly, isn’t food the path to any human beings heart. Food is the backbone of our existence, after God, breath and bathing (this one is debatable) obviously and this should be a skill every human being is well versed in. I know I am probably getting the side-eye or you are thinking- but guys cannot cook or as a guy you are thinking but I have never been taught?

If you can read, you can cook. Read instruction and before you know it you are Gordon Ramsay flipping skillets and inventing recipes. Every human being can cook-it might not taste good but if it is fit to keep you alive, my friend you are doing well. Culinary skills should not be skills we are taught to “steal” men or keep them. I know a couple of Auntie’s who make dishes that make you want to slap your mama but they were left by the husband’s they lured or stole with food.

Personally, I can cook but I do not enjoy it. I know, in most of your eyes I have not made the cut of a real woman (it is ok, I have accepted that I am a lost cause in the real women club). My African aunties are probably praying for me now, asking God to fix this uncooking demon which has possessed me. What I am reinstating is, cooking is not only for women but for both sexes, this whole theory of saying men cannot cook is as real as Santa Clause/Father Christmas. The most famous chefs in the world are men, Gordon Ramsay, Antonio Bourdain, Gringo the Best Cooker and so on. I think we should be taught to cook to survive not to be deemed acceptable for marriage. And there is nothing wrong with wanting to cook for your family, go be great but do not believe the lie that it keeps a man. I personally do not enjoy cooking but because I do not want to die, I have to. So, fellow human being due to the fact that we do not want to die, let us equip ourselves before people have to write eulogies of how we died of hunger by choice- goodness, my corpse will sure be embarrassed.

2.RIDE OR DIE/LOYALTY

Apparently being a ride or die chick/girl/woman is one of the boxes women have to tick to be surveyed as a real one. Whilst being a ride or die is deemed as loyalty, I believe it has been redefined to fit ridiculous “standards”.Fair enough if it means standing by someone through the hard times (by hard times I do not man him cheating on you a jabillion times) and being a supportive partner. However, when it means standing by someone and being “loyal” when they cheat, lie and do some heinous things-that is when common sense fails us. Women we have a tendency of wanting to be “fixers” (I have had a couple of guys I tried to fix, to my dismay of course)-we are all Olivia Pope’s in our minds. Any kind of person (especially men) we believe we can “fix”, we are born that way or we are taught to be that way in our “how to keep a man” classes, I do not know. I subscribe to loyalty going both ways and it should not be part of you Fit To Be A Spouse Resumé. It should be a human basic quality, not something that qualifies one to be real or be rewarded.

Women are classified to be real when they stand by their men even if they are to do things that degrade them- because we just have to, which I personally do not understand. We are told real women do not expose their husbands infidelity because it will embarrass them (I hope this sounds stupid to you as it does to me, what I am getting here is- it is alright for a man to embarrass his wife by beating/cheating on her but shameful for the wife to call him out for betraying and hurting her.) We are to stand by them and of course, attack the young/ older women who we believe are a threat to our relationships and marriages but shy away from confronting the man. In modern society this could be in the form of an I am coming to you as a woman text.

I had a discussion with a colleague and we were talking about things that would have us divorce someone (God forbid but it is one of those discussions we have) and for me, it would be: cheating, molester, murder, abuse (all the abuses) and being gay. We stressed on cheating and she was saying how I would have to stay if he cheats because of the kids and because that is what men are like. I explained to her, that knowing myself I would constantly remind him of what he did. He could bump his toe on a stool and I would console him by telling I felt like that when he hurt me, only it was worse and in my heart. I do not think I am mature enough to stay if that happens, I will moonwalk out of that relationship faster than Michael Jackson on his 1992 tour. How about the kids you may ask- I leave because I love my children. I believe they deserve to be in an environment that is not toxic and where they are also respected and appreciated. They deserve to grow up knowing love does not hurt but it is patient, kind, truthful, is not rude, arrogant or envious.

3.“BE NICE”/SACRIFICIAL LAMB

For aeons, girls from a young age we have been taught to sacrifice for our children, husbands and practically everyone. We are taught to be nice so that we are liked and again-wait for it-deemed to be “real”. I personally prefer kindness to niceness due to the fact that with being nice- you are letting people walk all over you so you will be liked. However, with kindness, it is being friendly, considerate and generous. Kindness is more of a characteristic as niceness is a mere act. I believe niceness confides you into a box and it is more based on what people think/say about you rather than who you truly are.

We are told women should be nice, poised, soft, gentle and “weak”.I am pretty sure if you are old enough to be reading and understanding this-you have met women who have neither one nor any of the “characteristics” mentioned above. As a Christian, it is a daily process and the Holy Spirit has been working overtime on me to be gentle, kind and patient-not to be walked over but for me to be strong in my faith. However, in our (African) society, these characteristics are enforced on us so that we lower ourselves, shrink ourselves so we do not intimidate the man. Urged to not speak up (be nice), to not argue (be soft), to not oppose or ask questions (because no man wants that) and not to do “manly” think because it emasculates the man. Allow me to call CRAP on this because these are things we are taught to get a man not to be a decent human being. Of course, these traits are good, acceptable, plausible even- what I disagree with is WHY we are taught to be like that. So that we are deemed “real women” – you are not a real one if you are outspoken (controlling), assertive (aggressive) or have more than your husband (emasculating).

I for one pray to be on the same team with my husband-not his competition or only his cheerleader. We sacrifice together (time and money), we stay/ take care of the children together (fathers do not babysit or are to be thanked for changing their own kids- they are supposed to take care of them). I do not want to be nice so that I am liked but I want to be kind because every human being deserves kindness.

4.BE-YOU-TIFUL

We all want to be called beautiful-which we ALL are but we fail to see our individual beauty because beauty has been redefined. In this day and age, beauty is being light skinned, petite, long straight hair, curvy body, flawless skin, neon white teeth and a face beat for the gawds. I understand whilst these may be natural traits for certain people, it puts a lot of pressure on those who are not “blessed” with those features. Most women and girls have gone through an identity crisis trying to fit into the new “standards” of beauty. I too have gone through stages where I would cry, blaming God for making me ugly whilst others wake up looking like they just came from a Vogue photoshoot. I would scroll through Instagram or Facebook seeing all these women looking flawless with bodies to die for. I would also make the mistake of going through the comment section because there, people would be commenting on how these are real women. I would self-hate and think of how I am never going to be good/beautiful enough for anyone. It bruised my growing confidence and I had to go back to my never-going-to-be-beautiful-for-anyone cocoon. I still have those days but they are lesser than a year ago. I personally do not like make up (nothing wrong with it) mainly because most of my teenage years my face was swamped with pimples and acne and now that it is clearing up, I want to allow myself to love and embrace my skin and also because I can not put on makeup to save my life.

I believe every human being should be clean, well-kempt and smell good. Good hygiene is a form of good manners and it is healthy too. Whilst from a young age, we are told to be clean and look good for husbands – I am unlearning all this and learning to look good for myself. I wear things that make me feel confident, good and sometimes sexy (FOR ME!). I understand in our society, there are certain clothing items that are viewed as “thirst traps” for example, jeans, leggings and mini skirts. Apparently they are clothes that trace every inch of our different body types and they might tempt men and we should avoid this – I have a problem with this, for the sole reason that we have to be responsible for men’s actions (instead of telling girls to stop wearing certain clothing items, does it not make more sense to teach boys/men to guide their minds and hearts especially Christian men). From petite to plump, there are certain clothes forever body type that we are not permitted to wear (too revealing or tempting) or encouraged to wear (thirst traps) so we are deemed, real women. If you are a person who lives to please people or who wears certain clothes or puts on make up for men, please do not stress yourself. What I need you to do now is look at yourself on the mirror/ front camera/ reflection on your computer screen and tell yourself you are beautiful just the way you are.

The pressure of looking a certain way to match the criteria of being “wifey” material is so much, most women have resorted to taking matters into their own hands. Bleaching, taming natural hair, endless diets and procedures that do not even make sense, such as anus bleaching (yep, this is how the human race is slowly becoming stupid and extinct). Whatever shape, shade or height you are, God made you and said it was good – who then is going to oppose the Creator Himself? You?

5.GODLY WOMAN

Once in a while, I ask myself why I am a Christian-I make sure I am honest with my answer because one of my mantras is to never lie to myself because I will only be fooling myself. Whilst the answer has varied from wanting to go to heaven, wanting something to being one because everyone in my family is. I have grown to understand God is my Father who loves me, cares and hears me – not a vending machine. and Jesus is actually brown with hair like wool. ( see Revelations 1 v 13-15 and if you find it hard to believe, let us resort to geography and ponder on where He was born and the ethnic group He was born into). The environment I grew up in presented Jesus as a white man with blonde hair and blue eyes and God as a white bald old guy, with a long silver beard who was waiting to just punish me. I grew up scared of God because hell was preached more than Jesus’ love and grace. I was fearful of God and on top of that, I was told for me to get married and be a strong African woman-I had to be prayerful and godly. How was I suppose to pray to someone I feared but not know, I did not know. My prayers were fuelled with fear rather than faith. I was constantly told a woman’s prayers to hold a household-her husband and children. Being taught that a woman had to pray more than a man (my mother’s prayers are not going to save my soul.The grace of God and my relationship with Jesus are what strengthen me, the same way they strengthen every human being male or female).

Women are taught to pray for husbands and marriage before they are taught to have a relationship with Jesus. We go to church 6 days a week, serve in the church, pay tithes and plausible members of society but we do not have a relationship with God. We only know of God on Sundays but during the week we are alien to Him. We put our Sunday best outfits and “show” how Christian we are but our hearts are calloused and vile. Our prayers are misdirected because we are not sure we are praying to. Like I always say, it is a process and you never really arrive. I would have appreciated if I was taught of the love of God and His grace more than going to hell if I talk back or disrespect a grown up by telling them no when I am uncomfortable.

I thrive to be a Godly woman because I love God and I want a relationship with Him. I want to seek His face and be more like Him. His word encourages us to seek His Kingdom first and all shall be given according to His will. Husbands come from God, they are not trapped by culinary skills, being light skinned or by being nice. I am confident in God not what I have been told will lure a man, especially basic skills which men and women should be well versed in. I am for submitting to my husband, even though now submission has been redefined to mean control. I understand submission in the example of God the Father and Jesus the Son. They are equal but have different functions- both their posts are essentially important but they just have different roles. Just like how a husband and wife become one and are equal but have different roles.

For me, submission is I am going to trust you to lead (us) because you have a plan, drive and God being the centre. And I believe submission is not controlled and when you are with the right person you will not mind them leading. So, no Auntie Noprah (an Oprah who gives bad advice), I will not be submitting to a man who does not have a personal relationship with God, does not have leadership qualities or cannot cook. There is a fair chance we will send him back to his father’s house to be taught good home training.

So to all the women, we are all real as long as we are breathing. Find things that you like and love to do for you. Do not plan your life around marriage, for all you know you have been called to singleness. It is His will after all

Seasons

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One of my worst fears is to be loved in seasons;

Love with an expiring date that can be discarded when out of season;

I want to be loved in years and decades;

Loved timelessly, in a world where time waits for no man;

Love me in summer-when my melanin glows and shows the majesty of my ancestors who were baked to a chocolate hue under the African sun;

Love me in winter- when my spirit is too cold to open the doors of my heart;

Love me in autumn-when my soul hopes for a new beginning, shedding away all the pain, hurt and mistrust;

Darling, love me in spring-when my spirit becomes calloused with my past mistakes and looks forward to butterflies that invade my heart and stomach when I see you;

Love me to wrinkles;

Love me senseless;

Love me shamelessly;

Love me in all the seasons.