Now I get that quote, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

When I’m at my best it scares me a bit but it seems to scare those witnessing it even more. I see the look in people’s eyes and I feel the energy they give off. They can get overawed, but then I see that they really appreciate it. At times anyway. When a person is at their absolute best the person sitting on the opposite end is either thrilled or highly intimidated. It all depends whether they are with you or against you at that moment. Your boundless energy is likely to further their interests or it is a threat to their plans.

Upon self-reflection I realise that I have been scared of scaring others away. Afraid to be that ‘outlier’ unit among the standard issue products. I have been avoiding what is meant for me; greatness. From this day onwards I shall embrace me for who I am. I am now free of my safety blanket, my comfort zone, and I am announcing my presence and intent to take what is mine. What I offer to the world is a spectacle, a free viewing of a man being the best that he can be. Do not stand in my way. Should you wish to be a winner come with me.

I will end off with another famous quote, “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.”




Preachers are getting paid; I swear God is calling me/

#Black live matter, what?! Stop god, you’re killing me.

White sneakers, squeaky floors; these kids ain’t balling?/

Newspaper headlines; I swear the sky is falling. 

Welcome to the world where ‘what is’ is not what it be,

Active kids are boning and the sports fields are kid-free.

Welcome to our world where intimate is not just you and me,

Love is shared instantly; ‘likes’ indicate validity.

Welcome to the #newWorld where you’re free to fight,

twars or wars; any way you like/

Any cause is right,

Just keep your hashtags tight!

Welcome to the world where the new ish is old ish,

De-ja-moo world;- Old cows are like, “I swear I’ve seen this bull ish!”

South Africa: Stay or Go?

“All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.” We still have good people in South Africa who are willing to stand up and fight, and as long as I’m alive I want to be part of the solution.

Why I will not demonstrate and potentially die for my country

This Burundian Life

This blog could be very short since the answer to the title is quite simple: because it’s my choice to make and I don’t want to.

Before you go ahead and call me a coward or waggle the oh so famous “wanka gusesera amaraso igihugu imbwa zikayanwa kuri gusa” in my face (I love dogs by the way), allow me to explain my decision.

Not a single fiber of my being looks like that of a soldier’s. To me a nation is just too vague; it’s an entity I have a hard time feeling a part of or emotionally attached to. To put things into perspective, I’d die for my family. I am ready to fight like a lioness for them, kill and die in the process because they deserve such sacrifice.
Let’s just say that my willingness to die is highly situationally specific, and dying for a country is…

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The ruler of success

A relative recently asked, “how does one measure success?” Some genius replied that first, you take out a ruler… Sometimes a long answer is a better reply to a short question.

In many fields of life there are measures of success, for example in business – how many people you employ or the profit you make; in football – how many goals you score, etc. In one’s private life there can also be externally imposed measures of success, that is, expectations that other place on you. Did you graduate? Are you happily married and rich with 2 perfect kids, and are you doing better than all those celebrities we worship so much? No? Well then…

Other measures of success are self imposed. Losing weight, gaining promotion, starting a business, writing an autobiography by age 29. These are objective measures and so they should be easy to measure. However these benchmarks are usually determined to appease ones emotions. To create a sense of accomplishment. So setting cold stats as targets is easy, doing so from an emotional angle complicates matters.

So it should be easy to measure success but it is not, but either way all you need is a measure. In things regarding a short length a ruler is used to measure success. In life a ruler is unlikely to do the trick…


Sunday Times March 8, 2009

Ultimately, our children pay the price for the constant erosion of African languages, says Mamphela Ramphele. Can you imagine a French child arriving at preschool being greeted by a teacher in broken English? Or a child in grade 1 being taught in English by a teacher who is not proficient in the language because her mother tongue is French? Welcome to the daily reality of indigenous African language teaching in post-apartheid South Africa. If language is not only the medium of communication, but also a means of cultural heritage transmission between generations, how are our children to know who they are and what heritage they bring to South Africa’s diversity?

School kids laugh

South African Airways, the national carrier, must be one of few state-owned airlines on which passengers are not greeted in a dominant indigenous language. African language use is restricted to one line or phrase, almost as an afterthought: Hambani Kahle! Tsamayang hantle! Contrast this with Egypt or Kenya Airways, where one is welcomed and taken through safety procedures in their dominant indigenous languages, Arabic and Swahili, respectively. If it was not so tragic, it would be comical how many African journalists at our national broadcaster, the SABC, pronounce their own and their colleagues’ names in an Anglicised manner. Tebogo, Tshepiso and many others become unrecognisable utterances as our young professionals roll their tongues awkwardly around names that should come naturally.

There seems to be a growing trend to downgrade the importance of indigenous languages in all walks of life in our young democracy. English has become the language of political discourse inside and outside parliament. Imbizos in some of the remotest areas of our country have been, over the last decade or so, largely conducted in English. Elites, young and old, seem to equate sophisticatio n with the use of English with as much of a non-African accent as possible.

What accounts for this trend? First, our constitution fudged the language issue by declaring all 11 languages as official. This allowed for English to be the de facto dominant official language even though, numerically, Zulu and Afrikaans are spoken by many more people at home than English. English has the advantage of being the international language of commerce and politics. But have we ever asked ourselves why Chinese and Japanese political leaders insist on using their indigenous languages? They talk through interpreters, although they understand and speak English very well. They are asserting their sovereignty as nations that are proud of their heritage. What about us? Second, our education authorities have ignored the basic principles of learning in creating a post-apartheid framework for the choice language of instruction. There is overwhelming evidence that learning through the first language or mother tongue helps to anchor learning in the child’s immediate environment: family, community and everyday interactions.

Children who are taught in the first few years in their mother tongue, while other languages are introduced as subjects, tend to become more proficient in all languages. It provides the anchor for better and deeper learning by linking it to everyday life and one’s own identity. Few people would advocate mother-tongue instruction all the way up the education tree, given the underdeveloped nature of many of our indigenous languages. But recent educational practice has created a tragic situation in which most teachers and pupils in poor schools do not have adequate command of any of the 11 official languages to be able to function well in society. The performance of our primary school children in numeracy and literacy is in many ways a result of the misguided language policy implementation. The World Economic Forum’s 2008 Competitiveness Report places us 132nd out of 134 countries in maths and science. Our own systematic evaluation shows that, in 2007, numeracy levels among grade 3 pupils were 36%, while only 15% passed both numeracy and literacy tests. Third, there is the misuse of democracy in implementing our language of instruction policy. Why put poor, illiterate parents in the invidious position of making a decision of such paramount importance without giving them all the available educational facts about the risks and opportunities of each choice? It is not surprising that parents of children in a rural North West or Limpopo school would opt for English or Afrikaans as preferred mediums of instruction in preschool. After all, they can see that the successful people are the ones who speak those languages, so why would they not want their children to join this path to success?


What is missing in the choices put to parents is a discussion about the fact that the pathway to proficiency in any language is made much easier by building on the self-confidence bestowed by pride in one’s own language and cultural heritage. Our current approaches alienate children from their cultural roots and make parents’ participation in the education of their children difficult. How can they participate in a process in which their primary medium of communication is rendered irrelevant? How can they help their own children learn when the language of instruction becomes a barrier to communication from the first day of school? An even more profound impact of this language policy is the undermining of the parental authority so essential to shaping the values and world-view of children at this stage of their development. Why should children respect parents who only speak a devalued language? South Africa is not alone in undermining indigenous African languages. Professor Pai Obanya, a retired Nigerian education strategist, suggests that education in Africa tends to alienate elites from their roots and undermine their capacity to be effective agents of change to promote sustainable development. “Education is mainly about acculturation, to be learned is to be cultured. Starting off an acculturation process with non-first language tends to lead to a situation in which the person could become knowledgeable but not cultured, and developing a feeling of belonging nowhere”

Elites in Africa are contributing to this trend by educating their children in private schools, where the teaching of indigenous African languages is minimal. Many see the inability of their children to communicate in their mother tongue as a badge of honour. I never thought I would hear my fellow professionals saying without any touch of irony: “Thabo cannot hear what you are saying. He only speaks English.” Or proclaiming proudly that their daughter cannot play with her cousins because she cannot understand “their language”.

The overall impact of the misguided policy on the language of instruction in our education system is leading to a slow death of African languages. Not only are our children not exposed to these languages early on in school, but the quality of language teaching has been substantially degraded. The curriculum requirement for languages set the bar so low that few would fail to get high marks – but they remain largely ignorant of the richness and nuances of the language. The experience my generation had of wrestling with African idioms, proverbs and challenging texts and grammar is a distant memory. The classical novels we read as students are out of print and few new ones have been published. Publishers have long given up on African language publications because of weak demand. African language departments in our higher education institutions are dying because of a lack of interest by students and academics. Parliament is hopelessly behind schedule in translation services for Hansard because of a dearth of translators, not to mention the challenge of making court proceedings substantively accessible to indigenous African language speakers, in line with our constitutional commitments. A travesty of justice is being played out in our national life.

This language question requires leadership to elevate it to a key public-interest issue. We need the government to make an unambiguous commitment to halt the slow death of our indigenous languages. Promoting their use should start with our president and his cabinet. Education authorities should do a better job than to pass the buck to poor communities to make a Hobson’s choice. Careful, progressive introduction of other languages, on a firm foundation of mother tongue in the first few years of school, will align learning to the cultural heritage of learners and promote the greater participation of parents in the learning of their children and support for schools. Business and other leaders in civil society have a responsibility to keep this rich heritage alive, too. BEE beneficiaries should help to salvage the rich African cultural heritage that is at risk of being lost in the next few generations. Church leaders also have a role to play to ensure that the beauty of our religious idioms and hymns are not lost.

I can only hope that we can all wake up before something beautiful dies on our watch. No nation can succeed in building a prosperous democracy without mobilising the heritage, talents and pride of its people. Ubuntu (humanity to others) and Batho Pele (people first) as values of our society can only thrive if anchored to a firmer cultural heritage base. To leverage South Africa’s rich diversity of languages is key to our success.

Ramphele is a South African academic, businesswoman and medical doctor

my nature (misc)

had my nature been sweet i wud hav sent u a tinkie

had i been feeling freaky i’d hav sent a toy with di-battery

but it’s hard to present the sound of how i feel

my love i’m being for real, why not rewind this reel…

Reel love

pretty poetry is not really my thing

but flying is, but til now i cant seem to grow a wing

(so) we cant live life like a league n just follow the fixture

at times when u step out the frame that’s when u’ll get the full picture….