It is Time to Live!

A time comes when you need to start thinking about life. A friend of mine usually says that “life is never that deep,” but it really is deep. A while back you were a toddler relying on your mother for basically everything. The next moment you were a 7 year old that could read and write and all of a sudden this thing called Adolescence came knocking on your door and because it was so fascinating, you welcomed it with open arms (as if you had a choice.) You started producing hormones, then suddenly you’re told you could become a parent if you aren’t careful. And the next day, you are about to become a young adult…

Is life still not that deep?

It really is! Life is so deep that you don’t know what might happen to you in the next second. You might end up toothless (you have to stop eating meat), broke, crippled or even DEAD. God forbid, but you really need to start thinking about such. What do you want to be remembered for once you are no longer there to speak for yourself. I am not saying you should live a perfect life because that will be insanity but what are you truly striving for?
Do you want to be remembered as the person that existed but never lived? Do you want to be remembered as the person that pushed till the end? If you aspire to be known as the greatest person that ever existed, then that dream starts with little things. It starts with having a vision, though this might sound like a cliché but it is true.

You are young. Your adrenalin should be at its peak. You should start doing things that you are scared to do.
Be kind to people. Offer help where there is an opportunity for you to impact one’s life. Be open to learn something new. You are never too old to learn. Try to learn how to play a guitar, piano or anything instrument that fascinates you. Learn a different language through Youtube and interact with people of different cultures. Start thinking about what you want in life. Get a journal and write dit all down. The kind of house you want to live in ( be specific in terms of colour, location, number of bedrooms it should have, events you will host, and who you want to live with.)

Hope for something. Always look forward to the next day. Like I said, you never know what might happen. Be thankful. The ability to show gratitude is the nerve to continue doing good. Your actions have an impact on others, when you are grateful to others, they will continue to be grateful to you and others. Authentic gratitude makes you humble. Everybody loves humble people.

Learn to give. Offer your time, your attention and yourself to others. It is always good to give. It makes you valuable and increases your importance.

Stay true to yourself. This is not easy, especially if you live in an environment where you are compelled to succumb to the norms of the society. Never compromise your values because you want to be accepted.

Finally, you start living when you realize how blessed you are. Someone somewhere doesn’t have a bed to sleep on, a mother to call, a home to go to, a friend to lean on, an education to aspire to and no hope. Begin to realist that being alive is the greatest gift given to mankind. Even though life might be too short to do all the things I advised you to do, it is the longest thing we will ever know. So live.

My Valentine’s Day Don’ts

Valentine’s Day is almost here .The time to see who’s going out with who, who has been eyeing who and who is getting dumped. But there are certain things you should avoid doing this year. Make this year’s Valentine’s Day different. To do that,  avoid doing things listed below:

1. Please DON’T WEAR RED
There is a common saying that “love is blind”. Question is why is RED of all colours in the whole spectrum of light the colour of love? If love is blind, why do we force it to be symbolized by the colour red? Red is a BEAUTIFUL colour but it is just not for everyone. If you know your skin tone will be battling with the colour of your clothes, then I suggest you try something lighter. Like white. Some of you over do this red colour on Valentine’s Day- red skirt, red shirt and red socks (burn them! You should NEVER own a pair of them). If you want to this year’s Valentine’s Day to be memorable, try make your outfit memorable.

2. DON’T ASK SOMEBODY OUT AT 11:59 pm on the 13th
Do you know how desperate that is? Asking somebody to be your date at the 11th hour? It is so RUDE! It reflects badly on you. It makes you seem like 1) you have ZERO game 2) you are a poor planner (nobody wants to go out with such a person) 3) you are rude as hell. I don’t care if your eyes opened to love only at 11.56pm.I beg of you not stoop that low for a conversation at the dinner table and a kiss (if you are lucky enough…also not at ALA).

3. If you didn’t get them flowers, chocolates, cards or any “Valentine’s like gift” before, don’t bother doing it now. If you want to keep the bae, dare to be different. The art of buying gifts is one that can only be mastered with delicate practice and time. Once you get it right the first time, you will secure yourself a bae. Everybody can get anybody a typical Valentine’s gift, get your special someone something different. Get a t-shirt written ‘Forever Mine’ or a bracelet with both your names on it and a cute message engraved on it. Make the gift seem like you put enough thought before you bought it. Everybody likes that. Don’t make the gift seem like an afterthought.

4. Worst Mistake: TRYING TO GET OUT OF THE FRIENDZONE ON VALENTINES DAY!
You had a thousand chances to save your face from being zoned. Why choose Valentines Day to escape? Are you Romeo or Juliet? Ideally, this would the perfect time to proclaim your affection for somebody but honey, lets get real, IT AINT GONNA HAPPEN!It’s also extremely cliché. Try another time, maybe Heroes Day, Farmers Day or Freedom Day but not Valentines Day. Why would you want to do that to yourself? It makes you look thirsty. Unfortunately, nobody likes thirsty people. You will seem less romantic and more like an opportunist! Don’t do it. Oh my Gahd.

I hope this list will be helpful to the optimistic romantic people out there!

Dear Admissions Officer, Can I Revoke My Admission?

Remember the day you received that call from the Admission office and you were told you got admitted to ALA? You started fantasizing about all the things you were going to do when you get here. The friends you were going to make, amazing opportunities, getting into the university of your dreams and getting A’s all the way. But that dream dies a little as you walk down the corridors of ALA. Realities are faced.

Tears are shed, hearts are broken and destinies are often reshaped. Don’t get me wrong, this is still the best place to be. The first couple of days you make friends with people from different parts of Africa. Every post you make on your social networks is about how ‘amazing’ the diversity in this school is. It truly is amazing. Probably one of the best experiences you will ever have in your life. But a time comes when the illusion to an end you face reality.

You realize it impossible to get A’s. Teachers will tell you “I don’t see you in your writing” (Whatever that means). You get a score of 700 on your SAT writing but you end up with a C on your transcript for a writing class.  The same people get external opportunities over and over while you stay stuck in your room. You are expected to obey rules because “there is a higher purpose” which is never explained.

Friends. You make lots of them. Some who become in your circle by the virtue of being from your home country or you ended up on the same bus from the airport with you. Some last until the end of Orientation Week, some until the end of first term and some stick. They stick through all the failures and obstacles you go through. Through all the Disciplinary Committee hearings you will go through, through the college rejections and through sickness and unnecessary pressure brought on by being a “future African leader.”

Admissions Officer, is too late for me to withdraw and go back to my normal life? Can I go back to being a normal teenager? Being crazy about Beyonce like every normal girl, turn a blind eye on the corruption that might be occurring in my country, spend time tweeting and going through Instagram? Can I not have a “normal” conversations anymore? Not one about Africa? No? Well…fine.

WhatsApp: Friend or Foe?

Well hey there peeps, how’s it hangin’? So as you may or may not have noticed, second years just finished doing the screen generation challenge! The year 2 Writing and Rhetoric class is focusing on the ideas that surround the screen generation and in addition, second years stay away from all their gadgets and gizmos to get in the flow.

So, in line with that, here’s an article that shows why an over-thinker thinks WhatsApp is the enemy.

*P.S. if you are an over-thinker and you’re in a relationship, don’t read any further for your own sanity*

1. “Last Seen”s:
We’ve all experienced those “last seen today at 20:06” and wondered why your 14:53 DELIVERED (it’s in caps for emphasis) messages haven’t been read or replied. Like, what’s up with that? A little explanation would be appreciated

2. Turning Off Your “Last Seen” feature doesn’t change a thing:
In an attempt to deal with all the “last seen”s about a minute ago (schmoney or nah?), a solution is to go to the settings button, click on privacy and choose to hide your last seen so you don’t see anyone else’s. Does this help? For a day or two, yeah. But afterwards, the cookie crumbles like this: your messages still don’t get responses, you can’t even tell when last the receiver was online, and even worse, as an over-thinker your over-thinking is not satisfied because there are no pieces to put together. So what do you do? You turn it back on. Don’t even get me started on people whose “last seen”s are hidden, like for real.

turn off last seen3. Those Blue Ticks:
So last year, those blue ticks were introduced and they basically mean that your message has been read. Want to know what’s more devastating than the two things listed above? The bane of a WhatsApp using over-thinker? It’s having no reply to your messages when you see those blue ticks. So basically, you know it’s been read and you’ve been chilling for hours waiting and wondering, “Why hasn’t he/she replied? Like they’ve seen it, they were like online two minutes ago?” Whoever said the devil was red might have been mistaken, because the one I know is blue and there happens to be two of them.

blue ticksAnd that’s when the breakdown questions come in, “he doesn’t love me anymore?” “She’s cheating on me with that guy” “they’re avoiding me.”

So, to all the over-thinkers, ever wonder why you get headaches from WhatsApping? There you have it (your screen might also be way too bright and too close to your eyes, so maybe tone that down a bit). Take a break from your phone, don’t give WhatsApp an overly important place in your life, keep calm and relax.

The Natural Hair Issue

For a while now, the natural hair trend has been growing, with more and more women choosing to chop off their relaxed hair so it can grow back in its curly form. With this trend has come a lot of indirect (and sometimes full frontal) shade-throwing in the direction of women with relaxed hair. People say that going back to your natural hair is accepting yourself the way you are, and that relaxing your hair means you’re a black women trying to be white. I personally think that this line of thought it extremely dangerous.

So, quick recap. People in most (but not all) African countries grow really curly hair on their heads. Sometimes, women “relax” their hair with chemicals which make it permanently straight. The hair before it is relaxed, in its curly, hard to handle glory is usually called natural.

Now, my hair was relaxed when I was three because I cried when my mother combed it. Neither my mother nor I had any interest in me being/looking like anything I wasn’t. We just wanted easier hair to comb. “But God gave us the hair. We have the strength to comb it.” Yes we do! But deciding not to does not automatically strip you of racial pride. I’m older now and I decided to go natural. This did not come from feeling more African, or realizing that black is just as beautiful (which it is.) I want something new. Finito.

The other thing is, I do know that sadly there are African women who do things trying to change their appearance because they do not feel they are beautiful the way they are. Despite this, I don’t think every single person who gets their hair straightened is trying to switch races. Hair is just hair and you can do whatever you want to it. Some days it looks cool in an Afro and other days you might want it straight and sometimes you might dye is orange. It doesn’t have to be political or mean you are taking any sort of stand

This is one person’s opinion. How do you feel about it? Join the conversation in the comments section!

International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO)

May 17th every year marks a very important day- International Day Against Homophobia. This day is quite significant this year to the international community given the passed legislatures in Uganda and Nigeria. It is an important day to reflect about the injustices done to the minority i.e. LGBTI community.

ALA has started early on the mission of curbing homophobia and the Sexuality Discussion Group (SDG) started a campaign called LoveIsLove campaign, where people share how they overcame homophobia.

Some of the stories that have been shared are:

“I always found it easy to be in a social space and come with my significant counterpart and be boldly introduce them as my girlfriends/boyfriend and not be afraid to face any judgement or hatred, but the day a close friend of mine told me that they were gay I realised that I was fortunate because they would have to think twice before introducing the partner. That’s how I overcame homophobia”

“I overcame homophobia when someone really close to me came out and told me they were gay. The fear and prejudice I had towards LGBTI people was something I wouldn’t be able to inflict on this person”

An event should not always have to occur for one to overcome homophobia. It starts with simple things. Avoiding comments like “#ThatsSoGay” could help you to overcome homophobia, giving gay people the respect they deserve as human beings is a good start.

Homosexuality is not a condition, it’s an identity-just like being Black, Arabic, Asian, American, Hausa, Yoruba, Berber, Zulu, Male and Female.

Celebrate IDAHO daily through small acts of kindness.

One Man, One Vote : Why South Africans Should Vote

“One man, one vote”, that’s what Mandela and his comrades fought for, so why are we not voting?
Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko, Walter Sisulu and millions of other South Africans fought for the right to have freedom and the freedom to vote is a right that must be enjoyed and taken advantage of. This right was first exercised through the election of the first Black President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, who was elected on 27th April 1994. “One man, one vote” after decades of oppression and struggle asking for a right black South African citizens were deprived of, the right to vote. Twenty years later (almost to date) South Africans are going to the polls today on the 7th of May to vote for the new parliament and government. Unfortunately, a number of young South Africans see no point in voting. The reason why this is happening is because they say that almost nothing has changed since the end of Apartheid – just a change in governance and that is all. For some people in townships the life they live is what makes them hopeless. It is said that unemployment, slow economic growth and corruption scandals have tarnished the name of the ANC over the last few years. Which may be true but I believe this is one more reason for the South African people to go and vote! I don’t think staying at home will bring the necessary change that we want to see. It’s time for the youth to rise up and say “Enough Is Enough” but, this time, through the polls – your vote matters. I’m an African, I have seen the same situation in quite a lot of African countries. I must say that, no one will cause the change that we want to see, so let’s take ownership of this journey and make the right choice for our future instead of blaming others for the failures of our past. Be a responsible citizen and vote for the change you want to see.

Amandlaaaa!

 

Why not everyone is happy about Lupita

86th Annual Academy Awards - Red CarpetOn the 2nd of March, 2014, 43.74 million viewers all around the world tuned in on their screens to watch the 86th celebration of the Oscar Awards. This was the largest number of viewers in the world in the history of Oscar Awards viewers. Africans around the globe tuned in rooting for Lupita Nyon’go to win an Oscar for her performance in 12 Years a Slave while some girls (like me) were waiting for Leonardo DiCaprio to win his first Oscar. Sadly, the latter didn’t happen. After Lupita won her Oscar, social media broke into a frenzy. Trending tweets and Facebook statuses. If you weren’t talking or reading about Lupita, you had a problem, or a lack of internet. However, the skeptic in me has questions that need to be asked. Did Lupita win because she portrayed an oppressed black woman? Did she really deserve that Oscar? I’ve watched her in previous productions (Shuga) and she is an amazing actress. But is she really Oscar-worthy? Now, this article was not meant to rain on Lupita’s parade but she beat American darlings Julia Roberts and Jennifer Lawrence not forgetting the Sally Hawkins and June Squibb. Actors like Heath Ledger died as he embodied his character as The Joker in The Dark Knight. Matthew McConaughey lost a humongous amount of weight for a movie role. People have gone to extremes for different movies they have acted in. We love Lupita, she has done Africa proud. But was she Oscar-worthy?

Lupita Nyong'o- Scarlet Nduta (3)