My black IS beautiful…

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Alek Wek, fashion model

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from being black it is that we are the most segregated race. You get black-on-white racism, white-on-black and black-on-black. Yes, ‘black’ is 1 race but you get discrimination within the race. There’s the light-skinned black people, ‘yellowbones’. They’re considered to be the ‘beautiful’ black people. The ‘cool kids’. I remember engaging in a debate with an old high school mate who argued that all yellow people are beautiful by virtue of the fact that they’re yellow. She also went on to saying that you seldom find a dark-skinned beautiful person (in school). South Africa even went through a ‘yellowbone season’ with artists composing songs about yellowbones. People even bleach their skin just to become yellowbones. Check out this article by Pheladi Sethusa on Wits Vuvuzela: http://witsvuvuzela.com/2014/03/07/the-yellow-bone-factory-hits-wits/ . Yellow is the new black!

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Then you get the dark-skinned black people…my kind. Shame nobody sings about us. 😦 I spent most of my life thinking I’m not beautiful because it’s what society made me believe. Convicted by my dark side, I found comfort on Instagram. Those filters were my saving grace! But everytime i look at those pics i think: “This is beautiful but it’s not me.” A friend recently told me that i should be happy because the instagram edits make me look yellow. Like black is a bad thing. But why can’t i just be happy with being me? Why must i aspire to be something im not? Something i was never created to be.

But who said black is not beautiful? I’ve looked up the word ‘beauty’ in the dictionary and not once did i see the word ‘yellow’ or ‘bone’. This is not to say that light-skinned people aren’t beautiful. See, beauty is not defined. There’s no criteria or check-list for beauty. All people are beautiful. God don’t make ugly! And the next time i hear someone say dark-skinned black people aren’t beautiful I’ll tell em’: “Honey, my black is beautiful!”

Failure is nothing to be afraid of!

You, my friend, are an otter failure!

You, my friend, are an otter failure!

“True success is overcoming the fear of being unsuccessful.” – Paul Sweeney

Some of my biggest fears used to be failure and rejection. Finding out that your best was not good enough kind of makes you want to quit trying. I mean, what’s the point of putting all your energy into something just to have someone stick a red flag on it and render it ‘useless’? if the success of your efforts depends on someone else’s approval then why bother?

Here’s why…
You can look at failure from 2 perspectives:

1) A chance to start again and improve yourself. Evaluate your efforts and work at polishing your past mistakes. Maybe there’s something you didn’t do or didn’t do right. There’s always room for improvement!

2) ‘The curtain story’. Your life is a stage. Just as there’s a centre stage and back stage in theatre which is separated by a closed curtain…so is life. The centre stage represents the different successful stages in your life. You are the star in your own play and the audience is the people in your life. You spend most of your life waiting backstage for the curtains to open up so you can take on centre stage and blow your audience away, but it’s just not happening fast enough. You may see this delay as a failure but if you’re patient enough you’ll see that it’s not happening when you want it to happen because God doesn’t feel you’re ready to take on centre stage yet. God wants you to remain backstage and tie your shoelaces so you don’t trip and fall. He could be telling you to button up your shirt so you don’t make a fool of yourself in front of your audience. God wants you to be the best you can be before taking on centre stage. He wants to groom you and chisel you into the best piece of art ever created. Then when He thinks you’re ready He’ll open up the curtains and let the spotlight shine on you!

Notice that “Giving up” isn’t even an option? That’s because it’s not an option!

I’ve learned that whenever I don’t achieve what I’d like to achieve in life it’s because God has planned something even BIGGER for me and that makes me excited about my failures!

This is my ‘Why’

Written by Yonela Ndlwana

A lot of people come to me and ask me: “Why are you the way that you are!” “Why are you so aggressive in dealing with issues you don’t think are right?”
These are words by Ryan Roades in his attempt to explain to people why he believes what he believes.

This is my why. “There is no God. Nothing and no one created everything.” “Love should hurt.” “Gay people are cool, as long as they stay the hell away from me.” “White people are racist and black people in South Africa are stupid.” This is what the world wants me to believe. No, it’s what they expect me to believe.

Now to be fair to the world, they don’t tell me all this in simple statements. No, that would be far too easy. See, what they do is, they send me an atheist teacher who will teach me evolution in Biology. He swears science has all the answers and that only brainwashed children believe in God.

The media, of course is the expert on love. Eminem teaches us, through that wonderful genre called ‘rap’, about abusive relationships…because that’s what happens when a “tornado meets a volcano” and “I try to leave, he’ll tie me to the bed and set the house on fire” but not…
He’s backed up by the elegant, graceful, beautiful Lady Gaga who believes “Baby if it’s love, if it’s not rough it isn’t fun.” Therefore, love always hurts, maybe not physically, but certainly emotionally.

On gay people…I have my amazing group of guy friends who tell me the simple solution to homosexuality is to beat the gay out of them. Religion would say cast the devil out them because they cannot possibly be born with it, it is a choice.

White people are racist because history teaches me. Look at the Aboriginals in Australia, apartheid in South Africa, segregation in America, slavery, the list is endless. History is filled with stories of white people and their racism. Surely I must believe that they are racist.

Black people in SA are stupid, why else would they need BEE? They’re not even qualified for the positions they are so freely given. They weren’t even civilized until the European arrived. They are barbaric in their rituals.

So when my classmates, my parents, my teachers, my siblings…when they ask me “Why are you the way that you are?” Why debate, argue and question so much? Ladies and gentlemen…this is my why.

That there is no God – I cannot believe. That love should hurt – I do not understand. That gay people should be cast out – I refuse to accept. That white people are racist – I must question. Black people are stupid – I must debate.

There is a God and He loves me – of this I am convinced! “Love is patient, kind good…” That is according to the Bible – which, to you, may be a very controversial book but to me it is thee book that holds the words of life.

Whether homosexuality is wrong or right, is not my argument. How we treat homosexuals…THAT will be my fight. White people cannot all be racist if Kirsty Basset (my white friend) can drink from the same bottle I drink from. Black people are not stupid, I am living proof!

Suicide…A Cry For Help

Suicide is preventable

Suicide is preventable

Wanna kill yourself?
Imagine this.

You come home
from school one day. You’ve had yet another horrible
day. You’re just ready to give up. So you go to your
room, close the door, and take out that suicide note
you’ve written and rewritten over and over and over
You take out those razor blades, and cut for the very last time. You grab that bottle of pills and take them all. Laying down, holding the letter to your chest, you
close your eyes for the very last time.

A few hours later, your little brother knocks on your door to come tell you dinners ready. You don’t answer, so he walks
in. All he sees is you laying on your bed, so he thinks you’re asleep. He tells your mom this.

Your mom goes to your room to wake you up. She notices something is odd. She grabs the paper in your hand and reads it.
Sobbing, she tries to wake you up. She’s screaming your name. Your brother, so confused, runs to go tell Dad that “Mommy is crying and sissy won’t wake up.” Your dad runs to your room. He looks at your mom, crying, holding the letter to her chest, sitting next to your lifeless body. It hits him, what’s going on, and
he screams. He screams and throws something at the
wall. And then, falling to his knees, he starts to cry.
Your mom crawls over to him, and they sit there, holding each other, crying.

The next day at school, there’s an announcement. The principal tells everyone about your suicide. It takes a few seconds
for it to sink in, and once it does, everyone goes silent.
Everyone blames themselves. Your teachers think they were too hard on you.
Those mean popular girls, they think of all the things they’ve said to you.
That boy that used to tease you and call you names, he can’t help but hate himself for never telling
you how beautiful you really are. Your ex boyfriend, the one that you told everything to, that broke up with you.. He can’t handle it. He breaks down and starts crying, and runs out of the school.
Your friends? They’re sobbing too, wondering how they
could never see that anything was wrong, wishing they could have helped you before it was too late.
And your best friend? She’s in shock. She can’t
believe it. She knew what you were going through, but she never thought it would get that bad… Bad
enough for you to end it. She can’t cry, she can’t feel
anything. She stands up, walks out of the classroom,
and just sinks to the floor. Shaking, screaming, but
no tears coming out.

It’s a few days later, at your
funeral. The whole town came. Everyone knew you, that girl with the bright smile and bubbly personality.
The one that was always there for them, the shoulder
to cry on. Lots of people talk about all the good
memories they had with you, there were a lot.
Everyone’s crying, your little brother still doesn’t
know you killed yourself, he’s too young. Your parents just said you died. It hurts him, a lot. You
were his big sister, you were supposed to always be
there for him. Your best friend, she stays strong
through the entire service, but as soon as they start
lowering your casket into the ground, she just loses
it. She cries and cries and doesn’t stop for days.

It’s two years later. The whole school talks to a
counselor/therapist at least once a week. Your teachers all quit their job. Those mean girls have
eating disorders now. That boy that used to tease
you cuts himself. Your ex boyfriend doesn’t know
how to love anymore and just sleeps around with girls. Your friends all go into depression. Your best friend? She tried to kill herself. She didn’t succeed like
you did, but she tried…your brother? He finally found
out the truth about your death. He self harms, he
cries at night, he does exactly what you did for years
leading up to your suicide. Your parents? Their marriage fell apart. Your dad became a workaholic to
distract himself from your death. Your mom got
diagnosed with depression and just lays in bed all
day.

People care. You may not think so, but they do.
Your choices don’t just affect you. They affect everyone. Don’t end your life, you have so much to live for. Things can’t get better if you give up. I’m
here for absolutely anyone that needs to talk, no
matter who you are. Even if we’ve NEVER talked
before, I’m here for you.

I’ve always thought of suicide as a very selfish act. What about your friends and family that are left behind?
It’s for quitters. Who are you to decide when your life ends? God gave you life and only He has the right to take it away.
God has sooo many plans for you, it’s insane! Who knows? You might have been created to save someone else’s life! You can’t predict the future so don’t make decisions based on current emotions. Time heals all wounds.
There’s ALWAYS someone who can help you get through your problems. Speak to a friend or family member. Pray if you’re a believer.
Go over, go under, or go through! But NEVER give up!
Be tenacious…it’s in you!

The Olympics

Swifter. Higher. Stronger.

Swifter. Higher. Stronger.

The name Michael Phelps meant nothing to me until the 2012 London Olympics when Chad le Clos (South African swimmer) beat Phelps in the 200m butterfly.
Why is this so significant? Well, Michael Phelps is a world champion! He has won an infinite number of gold medals and has been competing at the Olympics for many years! Chad le Clos, on the other hand, is just a 20-year-old guy from KZN, South Africa who was competing at olympic level for the 1st time in 2012. This young, talented swimmer shocked the whole world when he beat Michael Phelps (who, btw, is Chad’s role model) in the 200m butterfly.

How did he do this? From the 3 times that I watched him swim, I noticed that he has a strategy. He plays it ‘cool’ for the 1st couple of metres and stays in the 2nd or 3rd spot. Then in the last couple of metres he gives it his ALL! And it’s those last few strokes that make a difference because in swimming, the difference between the winner and the loser is some split seconds. All it took was a split second to reach out and touch the wall to become a world champion!

Chad could’ve so easily told himself “Well, I’m up against a world champ so I don’t stand a chance” but he didn’t! He was tenacious! He was determined and he had will power, above all else. This was sufficient to win him a gold medal and make South Africa proud!

We could learn something from this. When we are faced with a challenge, there are 2 ways to go about them:
1. Walk away and tell yourself you’re not good enough. Then you’ll go through life thinking “I wonder what would have happened if I had done this”
2. Tackle them headfirst and if you fail, you see it as a learning curve! You become stronger and improve your flaws.

So challenge yourself to accept the challenges life gives you!

And remember to never underestimate the power that is within you, which is the power of the Holy Spirit!!