Posts

Showing posts from 2016

India diaries: Good bye India

I've been useless at blogging about this trip. Mostly because I was always too tired at the end of the day or I was mulling over the day and couldn't decide what to write about (it was easier just leaving a Facebook post in fact). But it's only fitting that I least write a final blog seeing as today is the last day of the trip.

India has been a lesson about many things and unfortunately I have very little original thoughts on my trip because I leave with the lessons I've seen been written about many times before: the inequality, the history, the traffic, the pollution etc etc. Of course this list runs the risk of framing India as the single story of what we mostly see on CNN or the media (perhaps excluding Bollywood). It's been an interesting 10 days which have left me with many questions. The trip spanned Pondicherry, Chennai and New Delhi (I would have loved to pass through Jaipur but after the New Delhi experience we decided against it).

The first mistake I made…

India Diaries: Day 2 in Pondicherry

Image
What a day! After surviving a three hour drive from Chennai yesterday-- no streetlights, reckless overtaking, incessant hooting, robots I can count on one hand-- we arrived in Pondicherry. It was cooler and quieter than Chennai. Pondicherry is right by the coast of what used to be a French colony. Today we started the day with Sku talking to MA students at Pondicherry University. Pondicherry University is a mixture of both buildings and forest across the campus (or jungle;we saw a snake slither across the road) . It's a postgrad university with only Masters and PhD students. The class Sku addressed was dominated by women. There's very little I can say beyond my observations about the campus as I spoke to very few students. The class dynamic was very apparent within the university as the cleaners around the university were women who are visibly poor, gaunt and old. The university is so expansive we couldn't walk from the gate to the Humanities building when we arrived. We h…

Hello and Goodbye: farewell speech to my girls

As is customary at my (now previous) school; when teachers leave they say a farewell speech to the school. Before I said goodbye to the school two of my students in Form II said their speech which ended in two sonnets which made me realise what my two years at St Mary's have meant. Below are the two sonnets-with little iambic pentameter if at all- which they read as well as the speech from me (because that was the last section of work we did).

(Shakespearean Sonnet)
Could I compare thee to a summers day?
Nope, you simply outshine the summer sun,
And anyway it would sound too Cliche,
And not describe the amazing things you've done,

English from you was more than just a lecture,
Because you were the teacher that gave us a voice,
And we used to explore topics like history and pop culture,
And you'd listen to our opinions like you had no choice,

Being taught by an empowering woman like you,
Made us want to make a permanent mark in society,
Just like your strong Africa tattoo,
Because we h…

Surname saga: final edition (hopefully)

Image
A few months ago I wrote a piece about discovering my surname had been changed without my permission at the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) with the title "What's in a woman's [sur]name?". The issue of women's surnames being changed after they got married, even though they had stipulated they wanted to keep their surnames, caused a bit of a stir a few days after the local elections. Many of us had dared to lean over and check our details on the voter's roll only to discover the surname was different.

A few weeks after I wrote the article I had an email conversation with someone who made me think more about the issue and the piece I wrote. It feels relevant posting this exchange because today I was at Home Affairs. I'm in the process of getting a new passport (and I decided to throw in a smart ID in there as well). If you haven't got your smart ID yet, do it. It's easy and efficient assuming you have good wifi and internet banking and a bank nearby…

Asinakuthula umhlab’ubolile: the poetry of Nontsizi Mgqwetho

Kaulirol’iqingaSiwavun’amazimba Hoha Mrs M. Maxeke Mti omde orara wakulo Deborah Bhikica emva kwabavumi Mrs M. Maxeke Ze nengcwaba lamagqwira Libe ndaweninye (Ho, Mrs M. Maxeke, Tall, bitter tree, Deborah’s sister, Give us advice On harvesting crops Glean in the wake of the reapers Mrs M. Maxeke So every w