My Life in Africa

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Visiting An African Prophetess’ Cave


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2

Maketha Mantsopa
Sitting at the alter to where so many miracles have taken place since the 1800s

This is the cave of Makhetha Mantsopa. The prophetess was a renowned healer, rainmaker and diviner. She was also sister to King Moshoeshoe I – founder and first King of Lesotho. I wrote about Lesotho earlier this week. She was born around 1795, in a place called “Likotsi” or “Ramakhetheng” near present day Maseru (the capital of the Kingdom). In 1851, she predicted that the BaSotho (the people of Lesotho) would triumph over colonial troops led by Major Warden.

There are about 10-15 visitors per week to this cave – where she gave healings, performed miracles, announced prophecies and said prayers. A lot of people pray through her at this place to their ancestors and to God, much like the Virgin Mary in Christianity. The Priory of St Augustine’s is a monastery next to it, established in 1871.

There is a spring at this site, where people come to drink waters they believe are sacred and provide cleansing and good fortune. Watch the video below and read on for photos! Leave any questions you have in the comment section below! (more…)

❤ Africa, Blog, Lesotho, My Life in Africa

The Faces of Africa


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Tami Scripps

I wrote before about Lesotho – the African Kingdom I visited last October. Now, I’d like to put faces to the name. Here are some children at an orphanage in Maseru, the capital. There are also pictures of children I met while on my way to a school in the Maluti Mountains. The culture and history of Lesotho are so rich, it’s impossible not to fall in love with the people and the kingdom. Stay tuned for a piece on a spiritual cave nearby…. where a prophetess used to give healings and prophecies in the 1800s about the future of this kingdom. Have you ever considered going to South Africa? I’d love to know your thoughts + questions!

Tami Scripps
“Dumela” means “Hello” in Sotho
Tami Scripps
A child smiling at an orphanage in Maseru
Tami Scripps
Children ride donkeys to school in the morning
Thaba Bosiu Cultural Village
Thaba Bosiu Cultural Village
Tami Scripps Thaba Bosiu Cultural Village
Thaba Bosiu Cultural Village
Thaba Bosiu Cultural Village
Lesotho Food
A buffet breakfast
Lesotho food granadilla
Granadilla
Lesotho
Lesotho Hotel in Maseru …. the Basotho hat is the symbol of the country
Lesotho Herder
A cattle herder in the Maluti Mountains
Lesotho Herder
Herding cattle
Monastery Lesotho
A monastery outside Lesotho

 

 

My Life in Africa

#147notjustanumber: The Victims of Kenya + Why I’m Worried


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As a three-day period of national mourning ends in Kenya for the massacre of nearly 150 students at a university in the country’s east, a social media campaign has coalesced around the mounting outrage and grief to commemorate the individual victims.

People are using the hashtag #147notjustanumber #theyhavenames to join the discussion on social media about the massacre in Kenya. The death toll has since risen to 148. The students were murdered when four gunman from the Islamist militant group al-Shabab, stormed Garissa University College last Thursday. They were seeking out and killing the Christian students. Here is the university’s website.

I ask myself how the world has come to this? The campaign to humanize the victims is extremely potent. It’s a powerful effort, making it all too real for those outside Kenya to relate to the horror that occurred on its soil. Looking at the photos of the victims, I feel physically sick. They were innocent, helpless + killed at the whim of a militant group.

Will Rhodes Must Fall Turn Fatal?

I’m writing from the South African banks of #RhodesMustFall, where a well-intentioned protest started turning ugly this week. My view of the “revolution” (as it has been labeled by Twitter activists) has been tainted. With a statue in Uitenhage being set on fire, a monument in Pretoria being defaced + then the horse memorial in Port Elizabeth being vandalized by rebels, I dare say a similar horror could be broadcasting out from our soil next.   #RhodesMustFall is a story I’ve been following closely. It had its roots on a university campus in Cape Town where a group of students called for the removal of a colonial statue. But it’s taking an unexpected turn – militant, criminal action by politically-charged groups on the streets of the ‘real world’ off tertiary grounds. 

Who was Cecil John Rhodes?

Cecil John Rhodes was an English businessman + financier who founded the modern diamond industry + controlled the British South Africa Company, which acquired Rhodesia + Zambia as British territories. Unfortunately, he did so through the gross intimidation + oppression of black people. 

History has revealed Rhodes as power-hungry and greedy, using mercenaries and gangs to evict people from their land down the barrel of a gun. If that didn’t work, there was always bribery and corruption. When he died in 1902, Rhodes was one of the world’s wealthiest men. He had a vast mining empire and had seized more than 8.8 million square kilometres of land through the annexation of present-day Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia. The students contend the statue represents everything Rhodes stood for: racism, plunder, white supremacy, colonialism, pillaging, dispossession and the oppression of black people.

I always supported the removal of the statue from the UCT grounds to a more appropriate place, such as a museum or dedicated park. But I never supported the violence. I knew it would have repurcussions for the less-educated who simply see pictures of black students rallying + defacing buildings on campus in their “campaign”, then perceive it as a purely black vs. white issue. As Steve Hofmeyer sums up, illiteracy is to blame. According to UNICEF, we have 5 million illiterate people in South Africa. We (the literate; educated) take for granted our ability to research, understand + educate ourselves with the deeper topic at hand; the reason they are protesting. We have the luxury of investigating the broader concern, reading up on history + reasonably looking at both sides of a very complex debate. But the majority walking the streets who have access to Twitter or Facebook don’t have such inclinations. They just see photos, read militant words + sum up such a complex issue to its basal form of “black vs. white”. With our already sensitive history, this hasty “revolution” was a dangerous + irresponsible call for the group who started this at UCT. Is murder on our cards next as a debate about colonialism/imperialism + *institutional racism* turns into just an ugly race war? Xolela Mangcu sums it up nicely in his article: My biggest fear is that we will find ourselves in a racial civil war

What the conversation is looking like on Twitter

 

Photos of the destroyed monuments

Uitenhage Statue on fire
War memorial in Uitenhage set on fire
horse memorial port elizabeth
Horse memorial in Port Elizabeth vandalized
Paul Kruger statue
Paul Kruger monument in Pretoria defaced
My Life in Africa

Trevor Noah: New Host of The Daily Show


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Trevor Noah Twitter Controversy

South Africa’s Trevor Noah just got an awesome promotion to host The Daily Show after Jon Stewart steps down. His pay is going to be something around R300 million a year ($30 million). Unfortunately, like anyone in such a public position, comes a host of relentless scrutinizers. It seems he now joins the legions of celebrities who’ve said regrettable things on Twitter + received the wrath of a frenzied public that goes with it. It’s almost like it was inevitable; a rite of passage of sorts. There was huge backlash on the Internet after tweets from his earlier years as a comedian were brought to light. These tweets were jokes of his, about Jewish people + women. In fact, critics say some of Noah’s nearly 9,000 tweets are sexist + anti-Semitic. CNN summarized them here.  In my view, it’s hard to deny they were insensitive + offensive. It warrants an apology. To avoid an apology when a huge number of people are clearly insulted by them seems counter-intuitive.

But is my view of him tainted? Not really. It’s a huge achievement. He’s been a prominent figure in South Africa for years + I always enjoyed his shows. I like his humour. I always appreciated that while comedians who shared the stage with him swore a lot to drive a joke home, Noah never swore. I think he’s a polished + articulate ambassador for our country. Patton Oswalt had a hilarious response in a series of 53 tweets which defends the comedian. Below are some positive responses to the backlash:

Mr. Noah often posts irreverent statements that reflect his interests in popular culture, global politics and issues of race. As with many comedians, Mr. Noah’s jokes can test the boundaries of what is socially permissible and what is in bad taste

– New York Times

The guy made some sort of, you know, off-colour, irresponsible tweets, but he was trying to be funny.

  – Aasif Mandvi

I’m not concerned if Trevor Noah made fat jokes five years ago, I just hope he has learned to raise the bar since then.

– Twitter user

Noah Taylor is a comedian, not a political aide for a possible presidential candidate nor is he a Communications executive for a media company. To hold him up to this kind of standard is absurd.

– Reddit user

I don’t think 6 years ago (when he was 25!!!) he knew they’d be getting this much scrutiny.

– Reddit user

This topic got me thinking about what happens when celebrities sully their reputations by tweeting inappropriate comments to their fans. Or when they say things on social media that could backfire. Is it something that happens often? Are they any less effective afterwards? It seems it is something that happens a lot. And I guess what happens after depends how they choose to handle it. Or how their employer does. I’m reminded of the Bill Cosby social media disaster last year which he never came back from. Even now, accusers are speaking more in depth about their rape allegations. Or Jessica Sacco, the PR executive who was fired over her racist tweet before boarding an aeroplane to Africa in 2013. In this case, Comedy Central has chosen to stand behind Noah. He speaks in the video below about how his career as a comedian up until now + how he feels prepared for this.

It amazes me how celebrities can use Twitter, knowing their reach + the scrutiny they’re under. They’re either too flippent or too emotional. Hopefully Noah can stay somewhere in the middle from now on. See some other examples below, as well as this awesome post about the 13 best deleted celebrity tweets.

Al Roker

In May 2009, Today show weatherman Al Roker was called for jury duty. In a thoughtless but ultimately harmless breach of court rules, Roker tweeted a photo of potential jurors. Oops. Roker was the butt of countless jokes after the media caught wind of his mistake, with the New York Post running the story under the headline, “Oh, What A Twit!” Roker apologized for the indiscretion, but also said that he thought people should lighten up a bit too. “I’m not breaking laws… just trying to share the experience of jury duty. One that I think is important and everyone should take part in,” he later Tweeted.

Mary J Blige

In July 2010, singer Mary J. Blige excitedly Tweeted that she had been accepted to Howard University. Unfortunately, the college then tweeted back saying that she was still in the application process and had not been accepted, causing a backlash amongst her fans. Blige then hilariously responded with, “Why is that people always try to understand estimate my intelligents? They should never do that!”

Anthony Weiner

There’s no eloquent way to describe how Anthony Weiner offended people on his Twitter; tweeted a photo of his private parts in men’s underwear for the world to see. The man had once hoped to be mayor of New York City, but with a tweet of just 24 characters that consisted of a link, his political career and public image were completely destroyed. Originally, Weiner blamed the photo on hackers, but after investigations were done and other allegations were surfacing, the public had to face the fact that Weiner did indeed tweet the inappropriate photo. Weiner soon after resigned from his position.

Ice-T

“Bad Joke… But alotta those wives would make me consider it”, he was referencing the fact that Real Housewives of Beverly Hills‘ Taylor Armstrong’s husband, Russell, had committed suicide. From the show and recent press, the man was dealing with a lot of personal demons, a newly filed divorce, and accusations that he abused his wife. When news of his death surfaced, reality stars and celebrities tweeted out their support and condolences to Armstrong. But Ice-T’s insensitive tweet stuck out like a sore thumb. The “Law & Order: SVU” star and rapper’s comment was not appreciated and was heavily criticized on mass media and by Armstrong’s fan base.

Scott Baio

“Taxes are DONE…That should feed, house & provide medical for a few lazy non working people at my expense. Have a great Monday!” The popular Gawker media blog Jezebel picked up the tweet and made their disapproving opinions on Baio’s tweet known, and it escalated into a near digital war between the blog site, Baio, and his wife. Then Baio’s fan base got involved in the fight and major news organizations picked up on the battle. It just goes to show you that if you’re famous and you want to maintain all of your fans, some personal political opinions may be best kept private.

Blake Shelton

The country music sensation found himself at the receiving end of accusations of being homophobic after he tweeted, “Rewriting my fav Shania Twain song.. Any man that tries Touching my behind He’s gonna be a beaten, bleedin’, heaving kind of guy …” LGBT leaders immediately criticized Blake Shelton for turning Twain’s song about female empowerment into a song about hate crimes. Shelton soon made a statement apologizing for offending people, saying that his tweet was misunderstood, and that it was originally meant to be from a female perspective. Most weren’t entirely convinced by this excuse.

Jim Carrey

When Tiger Woods was in the midst of his infidelity scandal, everyone had some words to say on the subject. Comedian and actor Jim Carrey was not excluded. He tweeted, “No wife is blind enough to miss that much infidelity. Elin had 2 b a willing participant on the ride 4 whatever reason. kids/lifestyle ;^)” The tweet was considered to be an odd Twitter attack on Woods’ former wife, and it sparked controversy as well as a mix of negative and positive feedback from his followers. Carrey had to clarify that he was not approving of infidelity and that Woods had to fix things within himself before trying to fix things around him.

Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian came under massive fire from animal lovers and animal rights activists in 2010 after posting a photo of herself holding a kitten by the scruff of its neck. Perhaps it’s because she is a Kardashian, or maybe it’s because she was holding the internet’s favourite animal, but she was met with tons of accusations of animal cruelty and received much backlash for the tweeted photo. Kardashian didn’t apologize for her actions, but instead basically told everyone to calm down. She stated on her blog; “Rest assured, the owner and vet were on set and showed me how to pick him up. The cat was not harmed in any way and is perfectly fine! I love animals and would never do anything to harm animals.”

Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow got a lot of backlash for her tweet, “N****s in Paris for real” which divided the hip-hop community. The tweet was accompanied with a photo with Jay-Z and Kanye West. Several hip hop artists gave the actress a “free pass” to use the word, while other members of the community thought the tweet was offensive and disgusting. The mainstream media took the tweet and ran with the story, adding embellishments and exaggerations that only made the situation worse. However, Paltrow defended her actions saying that the tweet was the title of a song and was taken out of controversy. The controversy was named, “N-Word Gate.”

Jason Biggs

Jason Biggs found himself in hot water after he tweeted from his account @JasonBiggs, “Anyone wanna buy my Malaysian Airlines frequent flier miles?” This tweet occurred 65 minutes after it was announced that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 had crashed. Needless to say, the timing of the tweet, combined with the content, came across as insensitive, heartless, and making light of a tragic situation. Immediately after the tweet was posted, followers began to reply with their disgust over Biggs’ words. The offensive tweet was soon deleted and Biggs issued a four part Twitter apology, which was fairly well-received by the public.

My Life in Africa

Rhodes Must Fall: A Blessing In Disguise?


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Rhodes Must Fall

I think what’s happening with the #RhodesMustFall movement at UCT is a blessing in disguise. Or is it? I think one thing’s for sure, it’s reminding us all that we need to actively question everything around us much more. I admit, I never questioned the statue. Of the 3 years I studied at UCT, I must have looked at it a handful of times. I know I can say the same for all of my friends, as well as on behalf of the student residence I was head of in 2007-2008, Graca Machel Hall. I say this because I never received any complaints to myself or my committee from one of the 382 students at the residence who were always encouraged to voice their opinions or disconcertments about the university to their elected student leadership body. I also sat on the Student Representative Council for the year I was head student. I never once heard of or received a complaint about the presence of the statue. I certainly was unaware of the enormous angst, hatred, violence, resentment + aggression that the statue now seems to yield (and, apparently, always did).

You can call me ignorant, but that doesn’t make me an evil human being. My ignorance of its potential insult to black students definitely does not mean I endorse the imperialism Cecil John Rhodes believed in. I don’t think anyone in a position of authority at UCT ever intended to harm, insult or actively outrage students attending the university by letting the statue stand. I repeat that while I was studying, I passed this piece a thousand times + it never crossed my mind. For me it was part of South Africa’s history, not its present. But the matter has brought a lot to my attention, specifically that I should have probably thought about it more deeply. If you sat me down now + asked what I think about Cecil John Rhodes, I can say without hesitancy I’m astounded the statue stood so long! Another testimony to the fact that people just simply didn’t think. Even reporter for EyeWitness News, Vumani Nkize, admits the statue of Paul Kruger in Pretoria serves as more of a background for photographs rather than an historical monument in the eyes of citizens. Does it mean we’re terrible citizens? No, it just means we’re not all so politically charged.

Researching Cecil John Rhodes + his role in our history, I found this extract from website sahistory.org:

One of Rhodes’ guiding principles throughout his life, that underpinned almost all of his actions, was his firm belief that the Englishman was the greatest human specimen in the world and that his rule would be a benefit to all.

I think we can all say that nobody wants to see the Apartheid situation happen again, ever. And I do think this movement touches on the greater issue at hand; that we’re all responsible for the reality we allow around us. In order to make sure that reality is one that sits well with us, we need to switch our brains on + take more of an interest in the world we’re living in. What do you believe in? What makes your blood boil? What are you allowing to be said, to stand as a monument, to be done to others around you that you don’t agree with? What are you doing to stop it? Take a moment + get involved where you can in causes you believe in.

I applaud the students who have rallied together for a cause they believe in. Now that it’s been brought to my attention, I’m definitely of the opinion that Rhodes must fall. I’m just sorry about the aggressive manner in which its being done. Does it have to be this extreme? If we’re ever going to transform + move forward as a country into a responsible, collaborative, peaceful future, I don’t think it should be this violent. Looking at some of the videos of their Facebook page, I’m worried the crime statistics in Cape Town could go up. It seems the statue’s significance has reignited the flame of racism, which will have repurcussions. Whenever you provoke people so emotionally, you stir passions which could be as destructive as they are helpful. The video below demonstrates my point. It’s a pity its been reduced to all this. Even if black students feel the institution is racist because it doesn’t employ enough black professors + doesn’t offer courses in African languages, I would love to have seen a more creative + peaceful way to address this issue.

Want other opinions? See below

I have no ties whatsoever with UCT. Nor do I identify with Rhodes or his deeds in any way. What I have is an astonishingly keen interest in history. I regard myself as widely read. And the statue of Rhodes binds us with the past, it regales us with anecdotes. Well, it used to. It’ll be gone soon.

– News24 user

Why do we, as a society at large, have to break down what we don’t identify with? Why do we have to destroy? What separates us from the ISIS hoodlums who vandalise museum pieces in northern Africa?

– News24 user

Khoi leaders in Port Elizabeth have joined the Rhodes Must Fall Campaign and are demanding the removal of the imposing marble statue of Queen Victoria in front of the City’s Main Library

– The Sowetan Live

I have read many of the passionate, strongly worded opinion pieces from those demanding the statue come down and I agree with them, to a point. It’s clear that this is about the larger issue of transformation at our tertiary institutions, evinced by how the protests have spread to other universities. But I struggle to see how taking the statue down will represent anything but the smallest of symbols in that larger fight.

– Verashni Pillay, Mail & Guardian

Rhodes Must Fall Rhodes Must Fall Rhodes Must Fall

My Life in Africa

A Heart Full of Sunset


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I enjoyed a sundowner in Camps Bay recently. I really do live in a beautiful city! It’s awesome being by the beach. My favourite time of day is sunset… I usually try make sundowners on the weekend somewhere along Victoria Drive, Cape Town.

camps bay cape town

1-IMG_0031camps bay cape town

 

My Life in Africa

Update + Links


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A lot of my time recently has been dedicated to creating contracts, finalizing web content + meeting with future clients. On top of this, I’ve been running around Cape Town for castings + going into studio for voice work. I can’t wait to head home soon for Christmas + relax. In the meantime, here are a few links I’d like to share:

I’m working on a series based on a talk I gave to a school on what to expect after leaving high school + entering the real world (more on this soon!)

I want to serve these at a dinner party.

I’m itching for a vacation. Next stop: here.

This is amazing. Creative people in their creative spaces.

Wouldn’t mind doing a little shopping here.

Wouldn’t mind getting this.

❤ Africa, My Life in Africa

Stuff That Makes Me Smile


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In no particular order:

  1. Colour. In any way, shape or form.
  2. Watching Russell Brands YouTube Channel.
  3. Banting chocolate brownies (carb-free).
  4. Daily yoga, prayer + meditation.
  5. Having cream + honey in my coffee.
  6. Listening to Grooveshark, especially the EDM Broadcast.
  7. Being in Cape Town for Summer.
  8. Collaboration. On books, blogs, brands + business.
  9. French manicures.

What’s been making you smile lately?

Ps. Here’s the Brownie recipe. Takes 20 minutes!

Ingredients

¾ cup Almond Flour 3 Tbs. Cocoa Powder 1/3 cup Xylitol / Honey ½ tsp. Bicarbonate of soda Pinch of Salt Handful of assorted nuts 3 Eggs 1 tsp. Vanilla ¼ cup Butter, melted.

Method

Mix the dry ingredients; and add all the wet ingredients. Whisk till it is combined. Pour into a small baking dish/pan (we used a dish approx. 140mm x 220mm) and bake at 170°C for 15 minutes or until the brownie almost does not “jiggle”. Do not overcook, as the brownies will dry out quickly!

*Photo from behind-the-scenes of a knitwear shoot I did for a brand I’m managing, BaliBali Fashion Store in Kloof Street Cape Town

❤ Africa, My Life in Africa

Cape Town in Summer


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December is officially the start of summer in Cape Town. I’m super excited because summer here is gorgeous. Tourists are flying in from around the world and the weather is pretty much perfect everyday. That’s why it was so easy to do this clothing shoot on the beach recently. I’m looking forward to a couple awesome things coming up:

1. A full moon drive-in cinema by this legendary film community in Cape Town.

2. A Secret Santa mission i’m involved in with my office staff at the Waterfront Film Studios…. buying someone a gift under R50 ($5) very tricky!

3. A visit to Orinoco Bree Street for a taste of their traditional Venezuelan drink “Cuba Libre” – a mixed drink made of rum, cola and lime.

4. A pretty exciting film festival called the Kunjanimation Film Festival made up of screenings and workshops all over the city.

5. The Little Fighters Cancer Trust is hosting a sunset picnic on Schalk Burger’s Wine Farm, Welbedacht Estate, on 6 Dec to raise funds + support. If you’re in the Cape Town area, tickets are only R200 ($20) and you receive a picnic basket on arrival, free wine tasting and there’s a live performance. Book your place here. I’ve been involved with LFCT for 2 years now. More on that soon.

What are you up to where you are?

Cape Town

Cape Town

Cape Town