Thursday, December 9, 2010

Pause...

I feel like such a terrible "blogger"

Crazy beautiful crazy month since I last blogged.

#IsaidNo is becoming something bigger than I could have ever imagined - but the start is to break the culture of silence. Look out for www.isaidno.co.za in coming weeks for updates.

Finally got a job. A great one too. Client Service at one of the best agencies in the country. Very exciting

Life has been a rollercoaster. 2010 has been one of the toughest and most brilliant years of my life and I loved and hated it. Wouldn't change a thing about it though, I'll just make better decisions from lessons learnt.

Won't lie, I'm pretty much done with this year. But I will savour every last drop of it.

So much has happened and is happening... Could write a bestseller about this lifetime called twentyten

In the end, and with every passing moment, I am Thankful for love, light, laughter and life.

See you soon!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I said NO.....

I said No…

Before I begin, I'd like to copy and paste a part of a twitter conversation I had that has me now sitting in front on my laptop, cigarette in hand, writing something I never thought I would ever share.

@Akona1: Maybe I'm just a girl standing in front of the virtual world asking it to help me help the real world…

To which a friend whose opinion I respect implicitly responded:

"We live in times that require strength; you'll have to tap into what makes you a strong woman and march us forward."

Twitter's brilliance is the 140-character limit per tweet (less when you reply / @ someone), however, it is too limiting at times. So I have a little story to tell you. A story I've never told so publicly, a story begging to be written because something has to be said and done, a story I hope will make a difference, no matter how small.

It was January 23rd of the year 2000, 6 months after the passing of my beloved mother, I was 15 and in standard 7 of high school. It was a few hours after one of the school's interhouse swimming galas and some friends and fellow swimmers, cheerleaders and school mates had gathered for a little braai at a friend's house nearby. There was music, swimming, food, dancing, laughing and drinking. I'd arrived at the house a little later than most of the guests as I had to do some admin at school before leaving and when I arrived the gathering was in full swing with about 40 or so people having a good time in the sun.

The first half an hour or so I spent chatting to some friends, played a little soccer in the medium sized backyard with some of the boys, most especially because I wanted to get the attention of this older boy I had had a crush on. At some we went and sat down under a tree and chatted – I was cool, calm and cute with my heart fluttering with every word that sang out of his mouth.

After a few minutes, one of his friends joined us and offered me a beer. I'd tasted alcohol before and was not opposed to it, but I was not interested in having the beer he was adamant I should have. With some back on forth regarding my not wanting it, he got up and left with it but then returned with a cider. I took it and drank it and we continued to talk and laugh under the tree. About half way through the drink I wasn't feeling good at all, dizzy and nauseous, I thought that being out in the sun and the days activities were weighing down on me so I excused myself went inside the house to use the bathroom. It was occupied, as I turned around to try and find another loo the friend, lets him R, was standing very close to me stroking my arm and told me that there was a bathroom outside by the maids quarter that I could use if I didn't want to wait. I followed him, letting him guide my faint self and my wobbly legs outside.

At the entrance to the bathroom, the boy I had been crushing on was standing at the door and I thought it was so sweet of him to be there to see if I was alright. R led me inside and suddenly the door shut with a bang and he was in there with me. Slurring my words, I asked that he please give me some privacy and he said he wanted to make sure I'd be okay. I tried to open the unlocked door, but the handle wouldn't move. I was confused, was it stuck? Was crush boy holding it so that I wouldn't be able to open. Then a moment is realisation dawned on me. It wasn't the heat that was getting to me, something was very very wrong.

R turned me around and started kissing my neck and face, my weak arms tried to push him away and with all the saliva I could muster I spat in his face and my dry mouth fought to say the word I knew would stop this madness. No. At first it came out as a whisper and I could not believe my voice was failing me at such a crucial moment. Again, I tried, No. This time the venom I needed carried through and his hands, which were now on my budding breasts, stopped mid grope and I sighed in victory.

The room was spinning, my heart was hammering at my chest and my legs were about to give in when I was jolted into shock, as he had reached under skirt and frantically tugging at my underwear. No wasn't getting me anywhere. I said it again, I pushed as hard as I could, and my final words were "don't do this, I'm on my period". I saw the glint in his eye; he licked his lips and turned me around to face the wall. He ripped off my panties and as I looked down, my bloody tampon was lying there, staring back up at me. Tears rolled down cheeks and joined the blood keeping my tampon company.

R giggled and said he loved when a woman was menstruating and I could feel his penis getting hard against me and all I was thinking was that I was just a girl, and he was about to force me into womanhood. He pushed me to the ground in the corner of the bathroom. There were some planks and nails and broken tiles that hurt my back, and as he mounted me I was ever so grateful for the pain on my back which was helping me not to concentrate on the burning sensation coming from him entering me.

Minutes passed and he got off, got up, zipped him pants, bent down and kissed me on the forehead. I closed my eyes expecting crushboy to enter and have his way with me too, but there was silence. I lay there for a long time.

When I finally opened my eyes it was getting dark. I got up, cleaned myself up in the basin, cleaned the blood of the floor, tied a knot into my panties and put them on. Used some toilet paper as a makeshift pad so as not to soil myself. I left the house and walked home.

Went to school the next day and didn't say anything to anyone about what had happened. Why? I didn't want to be a statistic, I didn't want to give him the power to make me a victim, I didn't want to feel any more ashamed than I did and I didn't want anyone's pity. I wanted to believe that I am stronger.

In my head, I had a long life ahead of me and I was going to live it, without the stigma of being a survivor. It took me years to even say it to myself – I was raped. My innocence was gone. To this day, at 25 years of age, I still struggle to call myself a woman – because of how 'becoming a woman' happened. Never even told my boyfriend, years later, that he was in fact not my first.


It is now November of the year 2010, and rape is in the headlines every day, there seems to be more victims than there are not, some as young as a year old. Most recently, a 15-year-old girl was drugged and raped, in front of her school mates, on school property, her rape was recorded on cellphones and spread around her school. First the police refused to arrest the offenders because they did not want to interrupt they boys while writing their exams, then her teachers said she deserved to raped because she was drunk and now, the National Prosecuting Authority dropped the charges against the rapists because they say there is not enough evidence.

One in nine rapes are reported. When this one, with video evidence and witnesses cannot be prosecuted, what hope do victims who are raped in dirty bathrooms have?

I'm telling this story not because I want your pity, I'm telling you because I need your help to do something about this. I need help to get justice for all the victims, whether we know about them or not. I need to help to change the entitlement of our patriarchal society. I need help to say enough is enough. I said NO.

Let's march, Let's Shout, Let's petition, whatever! Let us please do something.

Akona.ndungane@gmail.com

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I just want to scream....

Yes, I haven't blogged in a long time...
On one hand, I'm sorry and on the other I think keeping things to myself isn't necessarily a terrible thing.
A good friend always says "self preservation is a noble instinct."

I don't know if this shut down- feel sorry for myself- want to bang my head against a wall - hopelessness - anxiety - lonely feeling - alone -confused - angry- completely lost state of being- not wanting to talk to anyone thing is healthy. What am I talking about? Of course it's not.

Back to the point- I haven't blogged! Damnit!
I haven't had anything to say, I still don't.
Just want to scream. So I will.

Wouldn't even know where to begin expressing the frustration. So I won't.
Just want to scream. So I will.

Forgive me Friends, it has been a while since my last blog confession...
It's been a rollercoaster and a half and I haven't yet even absorbed it all myself.

Wherever you are, raise a glass and wish me luck, light, love and laughter. Sure as hell need it.

I'll be back when the pity party is over. Maybe you can share some hangover remedies...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Language fascinates me...

It started with a fellow tweetster asking what 'injibhabha' in English means, he assumed 'flying dog', which, for a Xhosa speaker is hilarious enough, but I can see where he went wrong. 'Inja' means dog. 'Bhabha' means to fly. However, sometimes language is tricky like that; the two words together mean something completely different and unrelated. In this case - Injibhabha means a receding hairline.

Then upon checking 'word of the day' on Dictionary.com, came across this very apt quote:
• . . .the tension inherent in human language when it attempts to relate the ineffable, see the invisible, understand the incomprehensible.
— A History of Heaven, Jeffrey Burton Russell

I then asked my twitter and facebook friends to tell me their favourite words in any language and here are some of the results:

@Ma_V: 'Maktub'- an alchemist term (arabic word) which literally means it is written. From mystical point of view, it points to the fact that whatever happens is already known to the One. It signifies that Destiny exists. It points finger to the fact that everything is already known to God.

@Maxmofo: Beskikbaar its Afrikaans for available(I think)...just like how it sounds.."Ek is nie nou beskikbaar nie"

@AkanyangM 'Kota'. Its meaning would be lost in explanation & defination, trust me

@VinylAngel: my favourite word since std 5, borborigmy (bor-boh-rig-mee) the sound your stomach makes when you're hungry...

@ClaireMawisa (via facebook) 'Qaqamba'. isiXhosa. it means "to shine" or "to hurt"

Vuyisa Ngcukana (via facebook) 'Gambate' it's Japanese, means "keep pushing-never give up

Lebogang Luvuno (via facebook) 'Serendipity', means making happy discoveries by accident. I'd like a life filled with happy discoveries :)

@ThatLloyd: "Whakind" - it's a slang greeting, it's not in any dictionary, but it's my favourite word, because it let's me know my roots.

@Esoterik 'Esoteric' - understood by or meant for a select few. Someone used it to describe me a while back, it mos def explains who I am.

Love it.

Off to enjoy a blessed Saturday...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Simple and complex concept of etiquette…

In the past few weeks since I've been back in Johannesburg, and living in my dad's house I've been very sensitive to how people act, especially around my father and how my guests treat my home. I've also been thinking a lot about people and friends and the differences and similarities in how we conduct ourselves in the different situations that speak to the way we were raised, this thinking and sensitivity sparked the following conversation in my head.

Through our young years we live by our parents rule, their law and do so until the 'while under my roof' stage is over – but do these lessons they exact on us stay in the house? Do we leave them behind when we grow up, shed our youth and exercise our independence? Surely, what we were taught, in any manner or form, were and are the things our parents wanted us to use to guide us through adulthood and help us become adults who are not socially inept.

Obviously situations change and circumstances differ, but for the most part, we all have some sort of basic understanding of manners and etiquette. We use some, and leave some

It's the little things we are taught; from making your bed before leaving the house, wearing clean underpants in case you are in an accident, washing the dishes before sleeping, offering guests something to eat or drink when they, not dishing up too much food on the plate as this is considered a way of kicking someone out, as a child, leave the room when adults are in discussions, to serving the men or elders first, each family has their own little things.
Outside the home, when you go visiting friend's overnight we don't go empty handed by having a gift or money for the home you will be attending a sleepover for, knowing not to over stay your welcome, not putting your feet on the couch, maybe even taking your shoes off at the door, not talking on your cellphone in a meeting or at the table and so on and so forth, these, I believe are some basic social skills we learn at an early age and should by all means carry with us into adulthood.

Today, for example, I would never attend a dinner party without a bottle of wine, if it's a non-alcoholic home or I am unsure, I would bring dessert or flowers. Even something as small as waiting for everyone to be settled and served before scoffing down your food, to offering your seat to elders are some of the things that speak to our breeding, grooming and understanding of etiquette or manners.

On the point of 'elders', sometimes I refer to and understand it as everyone older than you by even a year. Obviously if I'm on a bus with friends of varying ages, there are certain etiquette exercises I won't practice, but if an associate or stranger older than I, by say a few years, needs a seat, I will most certainly show respect and offer mine. Of course, there are exceptions to the rules and discretion must be used in certain conditions.
In other basic (to me) matters of sense, I believe that older men and women are essentially your uncle, your aunt, your mother or your father and should thus be treated with respect, without discrimination by status.

This does create certain difficulties when in a restaurant and I am waited on by an older man or woman, or even asking the housekeeper to wash the carpets, or interacting with an elder shop assistant due to this learned understanding of respect. All these people are also humans; I will greet and smile in a polite manner no matter who they are or where they are, as this is basic human, dare I say 'black', and maybe 'Ndungane family' etiquette.

Inside or outside the home, how you conduct yourself is a reflection of your parents; as it was when in school; you represent your school while in school uniform, on or off the school grounds. Although there were cases when kids from my high school were recognized at the local shopping mall smoking while in their 'civvies' clothes, and got called into the principals office the next day, and at the weekly assembly we were all reminded of being ambassadors of the school at all times. Would it then be wrong to expect us as human to understand that we are ambassadors of our roots; be it our homes, social clubs, school, work place, city, and even our respective countries when we conduct ourselves?

So what about guilt by association? My friends and how they behave is in large part a reflection of me. Maybe this is my judgy judgison talking, but I want my parents to be proud of how they raised me, not only by my actions but also by the kind of people I surround myself with, and how those people carry themselves. I also don't want to be judged negatively because of the company I keep, so why then when I have made to effort to move out of home together with my large suitcase of manners in tow should I associate myself with or forgive people who've shoved their etiquette luggage far under the bed with their porn stash and love letters to collect dust and only be retrieved when they are in their parents house? Do I then take it upon myself to teach friends of my expectations of their behaviour or do I just not associate with people I feel are not up to par?

I know we are not raised the same, but there has to be some level of common and basic sense in the world. Right? This is not me being a snob (Lord knows I can be), or even acting all holier than thou, it's that as I am growing up I'm realizing that these little things are becoming very important to me. I am by no means saying that I am perfect, but I am, however, on a mission to create the kind of world I want to live in, with the kind of people I want to breathe in, the sort of situations I want to be in or want navigate, and even finding love, I am now aware that the things I want are affected by the way I carry myself, through the lessons I have learnt, the way I was raised and the lessons I choose to take with me. It begins at home, and home is inside me.

I guess I'm just getting to a place where I know and am learning about who I'll be taking with me into the next phase of my life, including the parts of myself, and therefore need to act according to the standards I am setting out for the people I want to be surrounded by.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

...The wisdom to know the difference

A few days ago I proclaimed to myself: " I'm done praying, bored with eating, over loving" as I read someone's tweet talking about Eat.Pray.Love.

Last week, I had picked up my friends copy of the book and read a few pages - the words touched something in me, almost begging me to see my own truth and make decisions about my life. I need to read the rest of the book, but for now I have my story to live and tell.

I have dreams, big and small. Sometimes I think they are stupid, sometimes I think they are impossible, sometimes they keep me up at night, but the most important part is the fact that I have dreams again. After my trip around the world courtesy of Smirnoff a couple years ago, I came back somewhat empty. I had now lived my biggest dream - to travel, and I didn't really expect to have happened before I hit 25. It happened, and I'm forever grateful, even though the 2 years since have been torturous for my soul. Me dreaming again means I'm finally waking up and wanting to live and get more out of life. Don't know how I will make any of it happen, but I will.

* I'm in two minds about sharing what it is I'd like to do on such a public forum. So, for now, I'll whisper it to the universe *

Today, I put the final nail on the coffin of a long and weird relationship. A man who had been a part of my life in some way or form over past 3 years, we went through our ups, downs, breaks up and make ups and today, finally we died. For the sake of my self love I had to make a really difficult call and walk away, for the very last time. Good times were had, and I know I will miss him very much, I will forgive myself and him and I will emerge. I had to be selfish, I had to put myself first and out of harms way, I had to realise the fantasy wasn't meant to be. I'm proud of myself for the strength and taking back control of my life.


Today, the serenity prayer visited my heart and I spoke the words, without hesitation,however from in the past tense. God GAVE me the strength to change what I could not accept, the courage to change what I could and ....wisdom to know the difference. This I am grateful for

In work, in play, in love, we need to exercise the wisdom to know the difference.

Focus. Eliminate distraction. Beat obstructions. Learn. And march forward believing in our dreams.

No matter how many disappointments I face, dark days when I wonder if any of this will make sense, I promise myself to keep marching, never give up but know when to let go and try another avenue.

Failure is choosing not to get up. We do our best, even if the road to tomorrow is unclear.

Love, light and laughter

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

... To be thankful

As I typed the title, Yolanda Adams' song 'Open up my heart' popped into my head. I think that it is the perfect soundtrack to my path right now.

So to begin; I've moved back to Joburg, Jozi, Jobusy, Jonasbeg, Johazardous and it's been just over a week since I touched down. I left Cape Town with a heavy heart as I felt I hadn't even begun to do the things I'd set my mind to accomplish in the year I spent. But regret and missed/ unacknowledged opportunity aside, I realise I will have another chance to spread my wings - maybe even in another country altogether. Before I let my fantasies take me away to dreams beyond, I need to concentrate on the right now. The now that has me in this unfamiliar city I've spent 15 odd years of my life... JiggyJointville.

The past few months have been riddled with confusion, distraction, states of limbo and so much more I can't quite articulate right now, I can however express the realisation I've been in a negative state of mind.

Today, I'd like to take the opportunity to be thankful for what I do have and not allow what I lack, even though this lack exists, to bury my in darkness. I don't want to be Alice falling down the rabbit hole anymore, I don't want to be consumed by this deep and burning sense of failure that seems to have extinguished the fire in my eyes and passion in my heart...

I'm thankful for the people who have believe and believed in me, through it all. It means so much; humbling and inspiring.
I am thankful for the opportunities I have been given to find my voice - I'm still trying.
I am thankful that everyday I'm learning that I can be great at anything I put my mind to.
I am thankful that I know I am running from my own greatness. This hard truth is setting me free - one step at a time.

I keep walking. I keep trying. I will be better, for me and in turn for whoever crosses my path on their own journey to greatness. Our gifts, talents, skills aren't ours to keep - we learn, to share.

Bless

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

...to be wonderful



Woke before sunrise to have my breakfast before the sun said hello... and for the first time in a long time I felt peaceful. I stayed outside on the balcony watching as tentative rays of light raced to crash against Table Mountain, and so I watched, and watched and allowed myself to be still and be.

I had a to do list as long as my arm, boxes that needed to be ticked and miracles had to be begged out of their hiding place, but I just sat there quietly and let the world of morning wash over me. This day began unlike any other - I was still and I flowed to a beat not manufactured by fear.

Instead of rushing back into the warmth of the bed to catch another half hour of snooze, I instead went through the motions of being lead by an unknown force. I put away my problem solving woman persona and rather let her snooze away - I just let the day happen and I didn't fight against it.

For the first time in a long time I didn't let the knot of anxiety in my tummy paralyse and depress me. With no real plan, and just reactions to a bad situation I breathed as if I actually believed everything would be okay. Oh and heavens did this day happen.

Got a call from a large creative agency for an interview for a job later this week, received an email from someone complimenting my blog, spent a great hour or so with the O fashion team chatting, laughing, sharing and planning, wandered the streets running into people I hadn't caught up with in a while, brainstormed an incredible arts and crafts development project with some awesome people, enjoyed a home cooked dinner with my boys, and finally hung out with two beautiful and quirky women discussing the day, life, dreams and craziness. Along of things happened today that point in the right direction, all too much to detail now, but what I do know for sure is that all will be fine. I ticked off all the tasks, even added a few items as the hours passed, completed them and achieved more than I imagined I would, just by being present in my own life.

I breath a little easier tonight. Tomorrow I plan to give more to the day and let myself live, be alive and trust in the core of my being that even though choices need to made, not all decisions are mine to make, and the most important thing is to work with what I've got, show gratitude and do my very best to realise my dreams.
One day at a time.

I am peaceful.

The road is still long, but I am equipped.

"We should all start to live before we get too old. Fear is stupid. So are regrets."
— Marilyn Monroe

Monday, August 23, 2010

I NEED: Subway Wayfarer



I have no words really...



Never before have I coveted an item as much I do these shades


Why oh why did the interweb let me see them. I'm trembling as I type this. 


Take Ray Ban Wayfarer (my fav style) add some quirk creatively (subway map) and make sure the quirk pulls a heart string (NYC subway map - one of my top 5 cities) an voila, we have superlative beauty





I want. I need. I love. 
The above style is apparently widely available at $145

Below style is a little more exclusive. Either way - I WANT. I NEED. I LOVE
A special Subway-inspired Wayfarer releases from Ray-Ban. Featuring a pattern replicating New York City’s iconic subway system, the Wayfarers come with a red leather case. The Ray-Ban “Subway” Wayfarer is limited to 100 pieces and will be only available through swagger retailers across Japan


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sweet 16

As I mentioned earlier, tonight I was on a mission to sort out a pair of loved earrings: The Chappies

I then decided to clear out my treasure chest of adornments by throwing out the useless (read: damaged) or the unloved (read: boring) and reintroduced myself to the beautiful collection, which is now at a total of 50 great pairs.


Here is my Sweet 16 (read: can't live without)
Quirky and unique

I would list them, but I think they are pretty self explanatory.

My love for these accessories materialised when I started shaving my head in 2002. You can't argue with the fact that hair is as much an accessory as anything else. Earrings have become my obsession.

Quirkville makes happy

A

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Chappies Bubble Gum

Tonight's crafty activity: Replace my missing /lost / eaten Chappies bubblegum earring

I'm a fanatic for weird and wonderful accessories

I got theses wickedly awesome earrings in 2008 in Cape Town, unfortunately, somewhere along the line, I lost one, or someone ate it. They were bought from accessories label - Minx, which was then stocked at a store named 'Nylon' located just off Long Street. Nylon no longer exists and I have no idea where to find this Minx. See my predicament?

Thankfully I'm a problem solver; so this afternoon I bought the replacement Chappies (for a whole 25c each) to recreate the pair. Let's hope this goes well.

Wish me luck :)

Goodbye Winter?

Today was such a gorgeous day in Cape Town.

Spent most of the day on location on some rocky 'beach' close to The Twelve Apostles Hotel - (have no idea what the area is called). I'll blog about the day in more detail later; what I wanted to address is a comment my friend made after I proclaimed "Hello Summer, I missed you"
Showered in light
Early arrival on location


He pointed out, truthfully, that even though Cape Town weather over the past few weeks has been sunny and glorious, it wouldn't be wise to think winter has said its final goodbye.

Come September and October the dark clouds, rain and cold will be back to help us appreciate the sweet once the bitter disappears.


Having also posted the "Hello Summer" status on facebook, I received this comment from my friend Odwa

Mr. Burst My Bubble


I guess it's not yet time to put away the boots, coats and warm Russian furry hats. Either way, I'm going to enjoy the good that is RIGHT NOW.


On a cold winter's day



Hello today, I'll live you.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Don't judge my dirty All Stars

Was having a chat on twitter with @Converse_Africa and I was reminded of the love / hate / misunderstood relationship I have with sneakers / tekkies etc.


I don't really wear sneakers, of any kind, I just don't know how. My feet feel gigantic and my ankles are tiny. The last time I had running shoes, for example, was in High School - I just don't well in that department... but it's okay. 


Before my Smirnoff globetrotting trip in 2008 started I decided to break this laceless life of mine and I got myself a pair of white Converse All Stars. The plan was to wear them at least once in every single city /island we visited and never wash them until until I got home. I did, it was fun, and they soaked up love in every city.


13 months, 32 odd cities and taa daa, my not so white All Stars. I tried to wash them once, but then felt bad, as though I was washing away memories... this is where the trouble begins. I have this really cute outfit I'd like to wear today, and in my head it would look great paired with my All Stars. Will I be judged for wearing a really awesome skirt and dirty shoes? 






I was once told that All Stars shouldn't look brand new, and the 'dirt' gave them character. I'm not too sure about that. 


Catch me at Misael tonight for the Champagne Exhibition event and see if I go through with the shoes...


Happy Friday the 13th...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

#CreativeActivist: Miss Milli B


In this installment of Creative Activist I take my hat off to bright young thing Milisuthando Bongela. The Umtata born 25-year-old writer, fashionista, trend observer, fashion commentator and businesswoman, who lives in Joburg, takes us through her journey in the fashion, blogging and activist worlds she lives and loves. Milisuthando’s online footprint is quite comprehensive, so I wanted to delve deeper and find things we wouldn’t readily find out just by googling the creative activist.
By far, the most interesting person I've had the pleasure of knowing and I know you will agree after reading this. Miss Milli is an inspiration…

Who is the bella named Miss Milli?
Miss Milli is actually my digital persona, though it's a nickname I've inherited in the past couple of years. I am my mother's child, meaning I'm not a regular or normal Xhosa girl. I've never swum with the current and I think that sums me up.
       
What are some of the many hats you don?
I'm a freelance wheeler-dealer. I'm a journalist by "training" but I also write what I see. I listen and observe then formulate a point of view from the default of being a bilingual black woman living in South Africa. I'm also interested in developing the fashion industry through my writing but also practically by working to find solutions to the many problems we face. Right now, I'm putting my money where my mouth is by half focusing my energies on selling South African designers through Pulchritude.

When did you first fall in love with fashion?
The light went on when I was sitting on my bed one Sunday afternoon reading my older sister's Cosmopolitan magazine.  My heart stopped when I saw Themba Darkie's clothes for the first time.  I used to wear vintage when it was very uncool and seeing it in a magazine validated my sense of style somehow in my 15-year-old mind. It was then that I knew I needed to be part of this industry.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I still don't know if I should be one, or that I am one. It's a big thing to call yourself when you are still learning the ropes. My dad was an accomplished author so I've always had the skill.  It's a daily process of packing and unpacking.

Tell me about the journey of finding what you want out of life and self?
It's still happening.  A lot of young people in South Africa are restless. Clever, talented people and I think it's because we are the first generation to really have anything we bloody well want - everything is so accessible.  I've done a lot of different things in an effort to "find what I was meant to do" and I think even though I have not had the Eureka moment, I get closer to it every day because I'm so hungry for it.  I have no patience for doing things for money or security. I need to be able to sleep well at night and that's been my goal since I left Cosmo at the end of 2007. This is the happiest time for me. I finally took the leap and although it's not easy - I know I made the right choice.

When did you start blogging and why?
I started my blog in February 2010 just before I went to New York Fashion Week. I wanted to document my journey. It's kinda grown since then and I'm proud of myself for maintaining it, I hardly ever follow through with things like that.

Tell me about your Missmillib blog?
It's become something more than just a place to find cool, alternative fashionistas, photographers and images. It's my own private magazine and a platform for me to be heard without shouting. I love it and am so grateful for the 95 people that follow it and for the ones to who take the time to read it, even if they don't agree with me.

How do you find balance being writer, blogger, fashionista, and creative activist?
I meditate when I can't take it (the work) anymore. I write in my journal when I've been doing too much of what I call "veneer living" - where one just lives on the surface of things.  I am also very fortunate to have wise and loving people that I surround myself with, people who remind me that the most important thing is to be a good person, do for and stand for what is fundamentally right. I spend days by myself so that's a great way of getting things done, because it's all on me.

Where do you find your inspiration?
I find it from people who do things that I admire, or things that I would like to associate myself with.

How do you define creativity?
To me, creativity is the ability to make people feel just by looking, listening and touching.  It's one of God's gifts to humans.

What is the importance of finding inspiration from Africa?
Creatively, I don't think there are many other places to find the inspiration that Africa can conjure up.  It's important that we are inspired by and use our surroundings to communicate our message to the world.  The world is almost out of original ideas, and we are sitting on plenty.  This place is inspiring because there is so much that can still be done to make it what it was meant to be.

       
Some of the high’s and lows of the fashion writing business?
Being misinterpreted or misrepresented is definitely a low that exists in both and sometimes that's not in my control.  I love fashion because we are a young industry that's still making mistakes and everyday is an opportunity to rectify those mistakes. There are so many possibilities.
                   
What are some of the accolades you've received?
Just one, I'm still very young. I won the Sanlam Journalism Award in 2009 and I'm wondering whether I'll be the last "Sanlam" winner because they have since pulled out of the fashion industry. I'd hate that.



Tell me about your trip to New York Fashion week
I chose to go to NY after I won the Sanlam Journalism Award. The prize was that I could go to any fashion event in the world between a specific time, then I'd have to come back and write about it.  I decided to blog about it for SA Fashion Week because they were kind enough to hook me up with a bit of work experience while I was there.  Instead of attending the shows as a spectator or journalist, I wanted to see what happens behind the scenes at NYFW.  Lucilla Booysen introduced me to her friend and creator of Video Fashion, Marlene Cardin who created the media company in the 1970s in NY.  It's like style.com but it's an actual channel in many countries and it's all about covering fashion news from shows to designer interviews.  I was there as a spot marker, meaning I had to be specific shows marking the spot for Video Fashion's photographers and cameramen on the media riser, the place at the end of the runway where photographers stand. It was amazing to say the least because I got to see things that the magazines and websites don't cover; I got to see how shows are put together. It was amazing seeing people like Kirsten Dunst, Sasha Pivovarova, Lara Stone, Andre Leon Talley and Whoopi Goldberg but a meter from me just doing their thing.  I will definitely go back to NY. Their fashion industry is a prototype of a system that works. It's not as couture and intimidating as the European Fashion Scene, in terms of talent, some of our designers could be places right next to American designers.  But when it comes to the structure of the American industry, we lag faaaaaar behind.  Everybody has a role and EVERYTHING is taken very very seriously, which isn't the case in SA. There are rankings and organisation when it comes to who does what - the media, models, guest, buyers and designers each do what they need to do to make sure the machine runs and it was amazing to watch. We will get there though.  What do they say about Rome?

*read Mili’s “Lessons from NY Fashion Week” here

Which cities hold a special place in your heart and why?
Johannesburg.  I mean I like the other places I've been to but I have a serious love hate relationship with Joburg. No other place winds me up and down like Jozi and it's gritty beauty. I also really really loved New York.  You really have to know who you are and what you are about to feel adequate there. There's something daring about that.  I'd love to go to San Francisco and Tokyo soon.


What do you love about Joburg?
This place lacks the complacency you find in other South African cities. People hustle the hell out of life here and I love that black people don't have to feel out of place in fancy places. I don't think there's any other place on earth where black women are as celebrated. That means a lot to me.

What is your new baby, Pulchitrude, about?
It's still very much a baby.  The concept behind Pulchritude is to take local designers to the streets.  One aspect of the traveling shop is the market sales I have at the Jozi Food Market every month and wherever else if I've got stock.  Through that, I meet new customers and shop buyers and the idea is form relationships with both.  I want to take designer clothes to shops all over the country and as a result, make the clothes more accessible to the public all over South Africa.  I have 8 different clothing and jewelry designers each month and the aim is to build a brand (Pulchritude) that will be synonymous with the growth and flourishing of South African fashion.

Where else can people see / purchase?
One day, it will be online but for now, Joburgers must come to the month end sales at Jozi Food Market, or my house when there's bubbly.  The best places of course, are emporiums like Just, Mememe, Big Blue and The Space - places that stock only locally produced designer clothing. That's where people can start.


The future of Pulchitrude– where to from here?
Around the country; I may even employ a person or twenty one day. There's a lot on the books, stay tuned.

How do we get hold of you?
email: milisuthandobongela@gmail.com - this is the best way to contact me


Misael invites you

As we all know, Cape Town Fashion Week has kicked off, with the launch party last night (no, I wasn't there) and the shows begin today...


More importantly though, Misael, the creative space we know and love offers you a chance to catch your breath, meet and connect with Cape Town's finest, enjoy delicious nibbles, sip on some bubbly and savour the creativity of of the city's most inspiring art |style | design | food | emporium 


You can't say no


So be there tomorrow Friday 13 August and immerse yourself in splendor. 

Friday, August 6, 2010

The highlight of World Cup 2010

I remember when this story broke on twitter I was making my way to the unofficial official fan park, Mojitos on Long street, to join my friends for the final game of the 2010 World Cup


After the closing ceremony and before the final match, this brilliant young man jumped onto the field, sprinted across in his mad dash to either touch or steal the gold trophy! He got so close. 


The comments on twitter were so hilarious, mainly from people who were at Soccer City that night - from reports of him getting a beat down to people trying to figure out why he did what he did. Either way, he's my hero!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

#Blog Loving - Aug

You thought I'd forgotten didn't you? Okay, I did. 
I'm back though, giving credit where it is due with another instalment of #blogloving
There are 5 South African blogs and 1 international that I'll be giving kudos to. 


In no particular order:




http://skinnybitchesinthemaking.blogspot.com/


Quirky, fun, entertaining and funny these Skinny Bitches entertain with tales of "cute boys, killer heels, dream apartments and size zero apartment"
They not only make it on the list for this but also because they are running their first blog competition in which they are giving away a spa treatment. Who doesn't want to be touched on their studio by the experts at Urban Spa?




www.aficionado.co.za


I'd always loved Justine's ifor1 blog, and recently she, Jamie Who blogger and Maketh Man blogger came together and launched Aficionado. The powers of three awesome bloggers have created this one stop shop for all things fashion, food, drinks, art, interiors, decor, lifestyle and travel.






http://www.garancedore.fr/


You just have to visit Garance's blog daily. The French photographer posts images so light, airy and full beauty, she makes any day just seem wonderful. She also gets a nod for having English translation of her posts for us non Frenchies.  We once used her images as reference for a denim story in O magazine, so you know you too will be inspired. Plus she's the girlfriend (or wife) of the original street style blogger The Sartorialist



http://katesque.wordpress.com/


In the manner of Kat as it is called, the 80's baby from Jozi has given her blog a little bit of a facelift with her new logo. I love it. The blog is a light hearted and honest look at some of the things that make her smile. Kudos to Katesque. 




www.styleguidecapetown.blogspot.com


How could I not include my daily fix of the scribing, fashion news and  and lovely images from O Magazines Fashion Editor, Robyn Cooke of StyleGuideCapeTown? The blog is over two years old and every day brings a fresh  fashionable post. Style Guide CT is currently on a well deserved holiday, but will be back just in time for Cape Town Fashion Week taking place 12 - 14 August, so you'd better check out the blog for all the fashion happenings and reviews of the scene. Oh and of course to catch up with her holiday in the English countryside. 




www.teeteeiswithme.blogspot.com


The lady makes me miss Joburg like there's no tomorrow with her accounts of the vibey and stylish events in the city of gold. The style queen has also been featured in a couple magazines lately and so her style cred, so to speak, has been sealed. As a on contributor on the party blog PinkLyte, Thithi keeps us up to date on what's hot in and around Jozi. 


....and that's all (for now) folks. 
Tell me which blogs have been tickling your fancy and I'll be sure to check them out.


Don't forget to nominate and vote for your favourite South African blogs in this years SA Blog Awards






Life as an Intern at O Mag: Pt2


So I’ve given you the background of my leap of faith to becoming an unpaid intern in the fashion department at O, The Oprah Magazine. Now comes a breakdown of my three months.

It’s not all glamour, but it has its moments of glam. It’s not all about pretty packaged gifts, but it does include being around pretty things we wish were gifts. Being an intern has moments of paging through amazing magazines I’d never heard of for references, but also making copies of them. Drinking smooth and delicious coffee while picking the brains of industry leaders, but also picking up that coffee, skinny dark hot chocolate, skinny single latte and full cream chai latte for the industry leaders. 
The role of intern is not too small nor is it too big, it’s not child’s play while all the same time everything any lover of life’s gorgeous things dreams of as child. An intern is all that and so much more. I was a sponge soaking up the information as well as being a fresh set of eyes; imparting whatever knowledge I had accumulated in my life leading up to the moments of creativity.

And so I’ll paint the picture, of my life as an intern, as part of a team creating gorgeous pictures, in a few short strokes of my keyboard.

In Part two of the intern chronicles, I’ll tell you a little about first day and first shoot.


First Day:
The first day was mainly a briefing session with The Robyn, Fashion Editor, and The Luisa, fashion assistant, notepad and pen in hand (even though I wished I had a mini recorder for all the info flying around), I soaked it all up. All I needed to know about my responsibilities for the next 3 months, what needed to be done, how it would be done etc.

At the end of each day, we would have a ‘what have I learnt today’ session where I would share my learning’s from the day. The first day went by very quickly and I knew I’d made the right decision – this was a world I knew very little about. As much as I have ‘acceptable’ personal style, conveying the language and conversation of fashion is something else all together. Robyn honestly is a Goddess when it comes to the world of fashion and style and not a single moment with her is wasted.

Later in the week we were going to have a shoot with actress Terry Pheto for the 'local star in local fashion' feature, and so the preparations began. Luisa and I would mission to find beautiful garments, to grace the gorgeous Ms. Pheto for the shoot. Excitement. This part of the job is called sourcing. Working to the brief and getting everything needed for the shoot. The first week on the job also introduced me my first ‘Storegasm

First Shoot:
Starstruck. That’s the only way to describe the first shoot. All through the week I had enjoyed dropping Terry’s name while picking up dresses, shoes, accessories from various stores and designers for the shoot. My excitement could not be contained. My first shoot! With award winning actress, model and Face of L'Oréal, Terry Pheto! Yes, yes, thank you ma’am!

We were photographing Terry for the Real People feauture for the Success issue of O magazine and she was dressed by amazing South African designers Thula Sindi, Gavin Rajah and Stefania Morland to name a few.

The starstruck moment had to end though as I’m not there to just stand around and listen while Robyn chats with the star. WhilL'Oréal make up artists Sylvie took her of the make up, work had to be done. 

Clothes to be arranged and steamed, coffee to be bought and had, recording the items to be shot for credits, model to be undressed, dressed & clamped. On set, you need to constantly be on your toes. No time to just stand around.

Can I just mention how gorgeous Terry is. Every shot was perfect and had it’s own personality coupled with the outfit. She has the most beautiful face, arresting smile, and curvy, well-toned real woman body, tall and just stunning. Add to this, she’s funny, witty and she has this thing about that makes you feel acknowledged when she talk to you. I could go on, but I think I’ll keep my girl crush to myself.




I also gained a lot of respect for photographer, Anthony Friend. The man knows how to get the best out of the ‘subject’ and completely compliments the needs of client. I love the way he knows how to direct people and it isn’t the same for every one – this is a skill required as much being able to capture an image, I say.

Check out the August issue of O magazine for the shoot. OUT NOW!!


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