The Sad Brown Girl Saga

The past few weeks have opened my eyes. Social media has introduced me to many great things – that includes certain poetry writers. However, recently I’ve been exposed to a different perspective and criticisms of the “sad brown girl”.  (Please note, I am not addressing the controversy surrounding the plagiarism of authors’ works as I do not know enough of that to have an opinion.)

Being brown and a womxn, it’s great to see writing that I can identify with. I’ve shared the works of womxn of colour and every time I do I feel a surge of pride. A step away from the bland and often over-rated works I see advertised around me.

That’s why this idea of a “sad brown girl” trope makes me kind of sad. On the one hand, we’re so much more as womxn and being defined and categorised into this little box is not fair to womxn at all. On the other hand, we have so much pain to deal with and often the poetry I read from these writers provide some form of solace knowing that there are others around me who feel as bad as I do.

The 9th of August marked Womxn’s Day in South Africa and a slew of the so-called “sad brown” poetry was shared all over by my friends on their various social media. I would have easily done the same but I was stopped with the notion that I would be perceived as a “sad brown girl”.

But in fact, I know I’m so much more than that and it’s about changing the perception of these writers. Start reading their works that get overlooked for not being “sad” enough and start sharing at the inspirational things they’ve written. They are there and I think we need to stop being so judgemental against womxn writers.

Advertisements

Artificial Intelligence: An impending doom

I am in the midst of studying for my mid-year exams (or supposedly, I may have taken a few more breaks than I should have). Something which my optimistic Tax lecturer shared with this week is “A couple years from now auditing will be done through computers so it’s up to you to have the knowledge computers cannot do.”

i robot 3d 02

Granted, he was referring to us, as accounting students, and our poor answering technique when it comes to discussion based questions. But this is becoming a reality for many fields of work. I read an article on how Blockchain could be the future of Trading on markets. Trading is such an integral part of many financial institutions so it’s both unimaginable yet understandable how it can be replaced by computers.

Just as a side note, for those who are unclear Blockchain is the software used for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. There’s a lot which goes behind it but its appeal stems from its ability to keep records called “blocks” and make these blocks unalterable due to many computer servers storing these blocks. It’s very interesting on how this software was developed and how it may or may not take over the world- for a better explanation, read this article: here

what-is-the-blockchain-and-why-is-it-so-important

Innovations in technology such as Blockchain will define the future. Many people underestimated Bitcoin and called it a bubble but I think it’s here to stay. Much like how Charlie’s dad was laid off in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, new employees may face the same fate due to lack of job experience. Even though Charlie’s dad was re-hired to fix the machines which had replaced him; how do new recruits compete with big data- stored software intelligence? That chess champion did lose to a computer in 1997 which is only 20 years ago and look at how far computers have progressed.

ROBOTS_C_400

 

As if the job market wasn’t as crazy and over-competitive already? Suddenly, the future looks a lot less bright than my computer screen.

Ramadan is not a solidarity campaign

We are currently in the last 10 days in the holy month of Ramadan. These days are meant to hold more significance during the month in terms of prayers and spirituality for Muslims. The month of Ramadan is meant to be a period of self-reflection and time to remember religion but why do Muslims always say they fast to empathise with the poor? I mean the so-called “poor” Muslims also fast during Ramadan so what is their purpose for fasting? Also, there are many Muslims who can’t take part in Ramadan due to health conditions so are they also excluded?

It’s a lazy explanation when we reduce Ramadan to being a period of solidarity for those who are hungry. I’ve often wondered if it’s some kind of first-world guilt where we feel better knowing we’ve tried to put ourselves in others’ shoes and we can imply to non-Muslims “What have you done to empathise with those in need?”

not-even-water

It also raises questions as to whether Muslims are reluctant to say they are praying or going to mosque every night because they fear judgement from non-Muslims. Our nightly prayers at mosques (or at home) are hardly ever explained in the same breath and they play a crucial part in the month. Muslims are often assumed to be conservative and given the rise in Islamophobia, it’s easier to not say we don’t pray than to say that we do.

ramadan-quotes-from-quran-in-english-2

The month of Ramadan has always  been a period of self-reflection for me even when I probably didn’t realise it. There’s a reason why there is a whole month of Ramadan as opposed to a few days as it makes you think less about yourself. Ramadan has always been a period for spirituality so let’s not turn ii into an act of middle-class slactivism.

A South African Millennial Dilemma

In case you haven’t heard the news for this week Empire Strikes back but the Rebel Alliance were able come out on top. And by Empire, I mean the Torries, and by Rebel Alliance, I mean Labour.

I can tell you almost everything I’ve read over the past few days. How Labour managed to gain 30 more seats and how the Torries lost 12. How Theresa May won’t step down since there’s still a Torries majority with a planned merger with the very conservative DUP. I can even tell you about how this election came about so Theresa May could get a majority Torries  seats to support her anti-immigration policies. There’s so much I can talk about. Here’s a young picture of the UK’s new sweetheart:

jeremy-corbyn

But what can I say about my own country, South Africa?

bn6cWZ

I had to google the National Assembly of South Africa to see the ANC holds 249 seats while the main opposition party, the DA, holds 89 out of a total of 400 seats. It’s great that I’ve taken the initiative to do the research but to be honest it was to save face since I don’t know enough about my government’s structure but here I am blogging about the UK.

Fair enough, I can tell you about all the South African political scandals which do occasionally (some could argue frequently) occur. However, I still don’t know enough about South African politics.

My main issue is the media I’ve surrounded myself to find the news. Most of the time it comes from internet news websites which I follow on Facebook or Twitter. And those sites are based in first-world countries and their main focus is on the USA, the UK and Europe.

I could say that those sites are at fault since they do not give the same amount of coverage to Africa, Asia and South America as they do to the Global North. And I think that it’s a fair point because these websites do have a bias in what they report. When we look at terrorist attacks; the most recent happening in London and Kabul – which areas were offered more coverage?

mbalulameme3

However, the brunt still falls on me and I have to be the one to find out more about what’s happening in my country.  This year is my final year of undergraduate studies at UCT and I want to do better in the things I know.

Hello San Diego

Hello world!

So I’ve survived the first week of official lectures. To be honest this exchange didn’t feel real until I stepped into class on Tuesday. From the abundance of paperwork and what felt like a never-ending vacation, university felt like a surreal place.

Of course I started off on a wrong foot with a missed flight from Dallas to San Diego. It was partially the airport’s fault though so I didn’t leave Southfork in a mess. The next 2 weeks were a blur. I moved into International House which is a collection of apartments for students. I also started learning how to navigate my campus.

Needless to say I’m still learning, this campus is massive! It’s basically its own city. In addition to having lecture halls, recreational centres and a central food court, there are six colleges which contain residence halls for freshman, apartments for older students, grocery markets and dining halls.

That’s it for now. I already have homework due this week. Eep.