Category Archives: Opinions

The inspiration behind the Slave Bell Lamp

I am no social activist, but as of late I find I want to express my opinion regarding social matters through my designs.

A native of the Western Cape, I lived in Johannesburg for the last 7 years and recently returned back home. In a way, my absence made me oblivious to certain ills of our tainted history.

 

Ironically, despite all the efforts made, the great divide still exists and it is more and more evident that the gap of inequality is getting bigger…instead of narrowing.  The effect it has had on me is quite shocking and monuments like the slave bell towers that are scattered on many farms, has started an emotional battle within me. And instead of ranting and raving, I have decided to create constructive awareness through design.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enough said. All I ask is that we remember.

#blackconsciousness #rememberslavery #remembrance #slavery

 

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Letter to an unsuspecting thief

Thief/skelm/trouble-maker/ bandit/crook/outlaw _{A criminal who takes property belonging to someone else with the intention of keeping it or selling it.}

Dear thief

Thanks to you, we now have electric fencing.  My fellow Joburgers cynically frown and me when they hear we have been living without all this time.

 

leaving.detailelectric

Ironically the ticking of the energizer box is lulling me to sleep.  The very same thing I have been fighting is now a source of comfort.  Who would have thought that we would go to measures this extreme?  After all, I am just a girl from the Winelands.  Where I am from, people don’t even have security bars on their windows. People literally don’t lock their doors at night.  And why should that be unusual?  The thieves I encountered back there were literally small town fry.  They would steal my broom or a few logs of wood from my pile in the back yard to make a fire for the night.  Sounds harmless yes, but it still doesn’t make it right.

What would bring you to the place that makes you think it is ok to steal, or to commit a crime? What happened in your life that would incite you to break and enter a stranger’s property and invade their privacy? You convince yourself that I am better off than you, and at the time of going through my personal belongings, you do it because you feel a sense of entitlement…you feel it is ok to take from me?

Have you ever considered that I am just also the average South African? Trying to live an honest and respectable life? I am also just trying to give my children the best life I can. And yes, I realise you will try and defend your actions and justify it by saying I am more privileged than you.  What does that mean? How do you define privileged? Yes I was privileged to have parents that cared for me. My parents have always lived a modest life.  They have always tried their best to give us a good life.  They reared us to be honest and hardworking.  We never lived lavishly and my father still makes an honest living as a builder.  He believes in using his skill and trade to put food on the table.  And if you knew his background…he had all the reason in the world to become a criminal.  But he chose not to.  Let me focus on the words chose, or choose, or choices.

You see, life consists of making decisions and choices every day.  It is a part of life.  Some are so trivial and insignificant, we don’t even think about making them.  Others are life-changing; choosing your life partner, where to live and what job to take.  And yes, maybe you haven’t been offered a job.  But maybe you haven’t really tried to work your God-given gift? I am sure you are nifty with your hands.  After all, you managed to swiftly break my security gate’s lock? You have a very clever and crafty mind.  So crafty, you manage to escape our wonderful enforcers of the law time and time again.

You chose to steal from me on three occasions this year alone.  And every time you caught me off-guard…totally unsuspecting (and maybe naive).

You think to yourself: “Aaah man, they have insurance…they are sorted!” It is not that simple.  Have you considered how your acts of violation have affected me and my family? Did you stop to consider how your actions would affect the mental well-being of my daughter when she found out you took her school shoes that her aunty bought for her so lovingly? And the stupid act of taking her well-deserved Certificate of Achievement she received earlier this year for academic progress? Have you considered that her name is on the piece of paper and that unlike the TV you took, you cannot sell it?  It is of absolute no value to you!

As a 1st grader, she took part in the athletics for the first time in her life.  And you had the audacity to steal her bronze medal she received for 3rd place.

Have you considered that she is just a child?  How long do you think you can keep up this dishonest lifestyle? Do you ever stop to consider that the choices you make have repercussions? And yes, you haven’t been caught.  Unfortunately you will get caught one day.  Have you thought about how that would influence the family you support by living your dishonest lifestyle?

prison-bars

Think about how your children will grow up without their daddy because he is in prison. They could end up resenting you for putting them under the same curse and cycle. Children need their fathers to affirm them and their self-worth.  Without your verbal affirmation, they might become a statistic just like you…a person with no positive social impact…an outcast.

I know your life is a mess.  I know you think I have no clue what you have been through.  You think I have had it easy.  Boy, you have no idea! Life is challenging!  We all make our way on this highway of life, and we all get thrown curveballs, but we all choose how we want to live it.  Sometimes we make mistakes…but there is always grace to correct it.

In short…I get you.  I hear you.  I want you to hear me…I choose to forgive you.

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What makes a city? Do people really matter?

I was pleasantly charmed by a movie I watched recently.  “Midnight in Paris” by Woody Allen, is set in Paris and Owen Wilson plays the character of Gil Pender, a screenwriter trying to write his first novel.  While exploring the city by night, he mysteriously transports to the 1920’s and meets all his favourite writers, musicians and artists.  He falls head over heels in love with the city.  However his fiancé does not share the same sentiment and ironically he falls out of love with her.

Midnight_in_Paris_Poster

Now, I have never really had a deep desire to visit Paris.  Maybe because I thought it was overrated or people fussed about it too much.  In any case, hubby and I had an opportunity to backpack through Europe a few years back.  We were set to spend 2 nights in romantic Paris.  We tried finding our hotel but really struggled to get around because no-one would respond to us in English.

We ended up leaving “romantic Paris”…we couldn’t find any romanticism.  We ended up walking around for hours.  I build up this grudge against the Parisians and immediately decided they were arrogant and snobby.  There was no way we would spent our hard-earned money there.

Quite disappointed we left Paris

Quite disappointed, we left Paris

We left and spent an extra two nights in Barcelona!  Wow, what a city!  Ironically we had a total different experience!  We had a lovely, warm reception, and people made an effort to help us.  It quickly became our favourite place, and I would go there on the drop of a dime.

Now 8 years later, I’m rethinking everything…especially after watching this movie.  Also, a friend of mine and fellow Blogger, Wade Manning, moved to Paris recently, and I really enjoy reading about his experiences.

In hindsight, I realise I was a bit ignorant.  I could have made an effort to learn the basic: Bonjour Monsieur, parlez-vous anglais?”  But I also ask myself why they could not make an effort to be more friendly?  Why must they be so snobbish?  Maybe our decision to leave prematurely robbed us of some brilliant experiences.  And that is what travelling is about…learning about new places, people and cultures.  And we chose to abort “living the French way”.  We never got to eat any French food or visit the Eiffel Tower… none of that!

So I pose the question:  “What makes a city? Do people really matter?”  My conclusion is…yes, people matter.  People can either make or break your trip.  Coming from sunny South Africa, I am proud to say that our people are said to be some of the friendliest in the world.  I have met countless tourists and visitors and they would always commend us.  “Ubuntu” is what and who we are.

Desmond Tutu explains what Ubuntu is:

One of the sayings in our country is Ubuntu – the essence of being human. Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can’t exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can’t be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity. We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.”

Children of South Africa

Friendly children of South Africa

I love that…and I try to live that.  Our general culture in South Africa is one of Ubuntu, and yes you do get rude and angry people who choose not to live by this concept.  And this is true for every country in the world.  Maybe we just ran into the wrong people on that disastrous day we arrived in Paris.

Time is a healer.  I think I’m ready to embrace and give Paris another chance.  As Owen Wilson’s character sums it up in this quote from the movie:

Adriana: I can never decide whether Paris is more beautiful by day or by night.
Gil: No, you can’t, you couldn’t pick one. I mean I can give you a checkmate argument for each side. You know, I sometimes think, how is anyone ever gonna come up with a book, or a painting, or a symphony, or a sculpture that can compete with a great city. You can’t. Because you look around and every street, every boulevard, is its own special art form and when you think that in the cold, violent, meaningless universe that Paris exists, these lights, I mean come on, there’s nothing happening on Jupiter or Neptune, but from way out in space you can see these lights, the cafés, people drinking and singing. For all we know, Paris is the hottest spot in the universe.”

I think I’m ready to experience this now.  Paris is now once again on my list of places to visit, and this time I will go ready and armed!

Paris, nous voici!!

So again I pose the question:  “What makes a city? Do people really matter?”  What is your feeling?

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Sadly sometimes there is no time to mourn…

This week I was fortunate to break away for a few days *

…much required when you live in busy Jozi.

We desperately needed to get out of the city and only decided on Sunday morning we will venture off to the North West.

Totally oblivious to the route we will take…I was quite surprised when we passed the notorious Lonmin’s Marikana Mines.  Last week saw a bloody massacre happen at this typically quiet mining town called Marikana.

Police opened fire on a group of striking workers on Thursday, killing 44 of them and wounding 78. Another 260 were arrested and charged with public violence.

The little town of Marikana began in the year 1870 on the farm Rooikoppes. The indigenous people of the area are the Bapo of Kgosi Mogale who were forcefully removed to Wonderkop in the 1960s. From the one farm in 1870, the settlement expanded into seven white-owned farms.  As in numerous other parts of South Africa, the South African War (SAW) of 1899-1902 disrupted the lives of the people of Marikana.  After the SAW, a few Indian families moved into what had then become a small town and opened shops. In 1933, Buffelspoort dam was constructed in the nearby Sterksroom river. This dam enabled the town’s farmers to irrigate their crops. By 1950, Marikana had seven white and five black schools. In about 1976, platinum mining began very close to Marikana. The mining town is called Mooinooi. Meanwhile, Marikana was given a municipality status, but as part of, and under, Rustenburg Municipality. (http://www.nwhist.co.za/view-place.php?placeid=48)

Now to start off…this story made headlines for the whole of last week.  I kept tabs while on the road visiting sites.  Now I don’t know all the exact facts of what happened.  All I know is that a lot of people lost their lives…unnecessarily.

I am not one for politics and proletarian rights but this is a real sad situation.  Driving through this town today (on our way back) it looked extremely calm.

Although there is still a huge police presence (we were pulled over by very stern-looking cops with huge guns), all looked quiet.

Made me think about all those families having to carry on with life after their father, brother, husband, son violently passed away.  He probably was the breadwinner too.

How do you move on with such a huge setback?  How do you make yourself to get up in the morning, tend to your kids and deal with the loss?

*This has been on my mind the whole day.  Sadly also I got the disturbing news that our building (contractor) foreman’s wife also passed away today.  She was young and suddenly fell very ill.  He is young also, and is now left to raise two children under the age of 5.

These people were ordinary workers trying to make a living and providing for their families.  They don’t have rich relatives or money stashed away.

Usually you take some time off to mourn the loss of a loved one…is it not unfair that some of them don’t even have this basic right.  Some of those left behind have to immediately get back up again and go to work!  No work no pay isn’t it?

Sjoe! (an Afrikaans word to express shock or disbelief; pronounced like shoo).  How do you deal with the inevitable…DEATH…it’s a part of life.  On the other hand some of us believe death is the beginning of our new eternal life.  It is something I really look forward to…but my carnal mind and earthly body has to deal with death as a human being.

Ecclesiastes 3

A Time for Everything
1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which isplanted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
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I am a brand…

Brand ~ {A brand is a “Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.” Branding began as a way to tell one person’s cattle from another by means of a hot iron stamp} (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brand)

I, Lizl Naude, am a brand, whether intentional or not.  Just like Coca Cola or Samsung, I am a brand. I have been thinking about this a lot lately.  For the last decade especially we have advanced tremendously on the techno front.  We have much more of an on-line presence than we have in the physical realm.  We have tons of friends on social networks, and interact with them daily.  But do we realise we are building our personal brand with what we say and do in this public space?

Whatever I do and say, whatever my opinion, whatever my mood…I am shaping my brand.  How much thought goes into what I put out there?

I was watching SA Idols the other day and was reminded of this very topic when a contestant had a bad audition and the judge reminded them of how he is shaping his brand right now.  Whatever we do, whether good or bad, has an effect on what people start thinking and believing of us.

It is a powerful concept if you think about it.  If I mention for instance, Jacob Zuma (SA president), certain things come to mind.  Good or bad, his actions and words have shaped a brand in our (South African) minds.  I mention, Monica Lewinsky, you immediately think – scandal! Scary, but true.  We tend to remember the bad rather than the good.

This is serious stuff…careful thought needs to go into what I say and what I do.  Integrity should be on top of my list.  My yeh should be my yeh and my neh, should be neh.

I wrote down a few guidelines to remind MYSELF when I forget (use it, or don’t…up to you):

1. When you update a status, tweet or post a blog, think about what you want people to take from it. Think of it as being on stage and you having your own show i.e speaking your mind. What do you want your social audience to hear? This will guide you when you write.

2. I realise my social presence has been created for me to speak my mind, but how much of my mind do I want to put “out there”? Do I want everyone to know what colour undies I am wearing, or is it totally irrelevant? No offense, but some people really have no discretion when they say certain things! (Maybe I have done so too, come to think of it!)

3. Crude language is extremely distasteful! Also, inappropriate images and pictures…these all add up to your position as a brand.

4. I realise each of us have our own audience…but always think of how to gain more followers. Note down what you stand for and stick to that. Stick to your principles and state your opinion in a tasteful, respectful manner. I am all for expressing yourself, but just do so appropriately.

image courtesy of  http://www.time.com/time/

Time is always elapsing…and as it passes on, I either grow or I die.  When I die, how do I want people to remember me?  Some food for thought.

How do you feel about this argument?

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Little irritations: How good a driver are you?

Few things irritate me as much as bad drivers. I have been living in Jo’burg now for two years and am convinced that Capetonians are better at driving than the Johannesburgers. Don’t get me wrong, I love Jozi.  In fact I love it so much I have written about it before.  Read about it here, and here.

I am entitled to my own opinion, am I not? 🙂

I might have upset a few people with that statement, but that has been my experience.  Send me your opinion if you don’t agree or do.

Malls are huge in Gauteng and have big parking lots but because here are so many people with cars that there are just never enough parking!  According to last year’s census, Gauteng has a population of about 11 328 20 people.  Of that about 4million live in Jo’burg.  So I share the road with millions of road users.  Now if you do find a parking spot, this is what you get:

Why would you be ok with parking so skew?  That really irritates me!

I am so passionate about this…I might dub myself the new Parking Police Official in Jozi! 🙂 Watch out!

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“Re” is the it word for 2012

A belated wish for a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!  This is my first official post for 2012…apologies for that. I have been experiencing MAJOR technological problems!

“Re” is the it word for this year.  I love the “re” word.  You’ll be amazed to know that there are more than 4000 re-words as read here!!  Some good, some bad, check them out.

Ready, steady…here we go 2012!

Reflection.  Typically the start of a new year is a time for reflection. Most of us eagerly make a list of resolutions of how we are going to improve our lives and become better people. Usually ironically most of us, (including me) forget this list about a week into the new year.  We forget how charged-up we were when the adrenalin of the holidays and festivities were at its peak.  We forget self-discipline and all the attributes that we so solemnly swore on the 1st January.  My goal is to keep to these resolutions but I need heavenly intervention.  I need my Lord to help me because on my own the attempt is just futile.

Restart…everyday.  Start over every morning.  Don’t dwell on yesterday’s mistakes.  Rather improve on them.

Reboot.  No not you…you just came from holiday, remember?  Reboot your system…your operating system!  Oh my, I have had endless problems with my laptop.  I am not techno savvy at all…some of you might recall as read here.  Which makes it all the more difficult especially when you don’t have reliable IT support!  Hopefully I will receive my baby shortly then all will be back to normal!

Restore…relationships, your health, your marriage, your love for your kids, your love for God.

Spend more time with my kids

Remove... meaning: “To move from a place or position occupied”.  Yes you’ve guessed it…we are moving AGAIN!  Sad to go but excited for what lies ahead.  We are trusting God for our own piece of earth right here in Jozi very soon!

Home is where Jozi lies

Rekindle your passion/s.  Do what you love and love what you do.  If you have any hobbies or passions…revive them.  And when you do use them for the benefit of others.

Reinvent yourself.  Think of creative ways to solve problems.  We can learn a lot from the ever changing industry of Technology.  Every few weeks there is something new on the market.  I am challenged to reinvent my old ways of thinking.  Improve on my bad habits!  You’ll be glad to know that I have been working hard to improve on most of them…especially washing the dishes!

Rethink, recreate, recycle, restart, re-purpose, refocus…the list is endless!

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Is fowl language ok?

Lately I have been quite grieved by the amount and sort of language people use on public platforms like Facebook etc. Call me a “nat waslap” (afrikaans saying for a party pooper) if you want to.

Firstly, the extent we put ourselves out there with social media, is actually shocking and scary.  Yes we want to keep in touch with family and friends and FB is a revolutionary tool for that.  But I think it is utterly distasteful if people use colourful language to bring their point or opinion across.  A perception is immediately formed about the type of person you are when you use the “n-word” or “p-word”.

Yes, maybe you would like the public to think you are rough around the edges the louder your language, but I actually think it is the other way round.  I listened to one of our own, Vusi Thembekwayo this weekend on radio.  At the age of 17, Vusi was already ranked 1st in Africa for motivational speaking. He has been ranked 3rd in the world by an international public speaking body. As one of the best motivational speakers and keynote speakers alive today he has spoken in 4 of the 7 continents to over 250 000 people each year… and still counting!  He is eloquent and well-rounded.  He creates a very good impression and people take him seriously.

I aspire to that.  I want people to take me seriously for the right reasons.  I also feel we need to advocate for Public Speaking to become part of the school curriculum.  Many of us are very well qualified for our careers but we do not know how to sell ourselves in an eloquent manner.

Just some food for thought…

PS: I am off-line this week.  I am attending 3 family weddings in Cape Town this coming weekend.  Will definitely report on that next week!

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