Eventually, I Gave Birth

Today I look at the beginning of my journey as a student many years after high school…I call it my pregnant season. With my natural child I didn’t have birth pains and yet delivered normally. I tend to wonder if my craving had me miss the moment every woman looks forward to and dreads at the same time, birthpains. See, I loved water. I drank about five litres per day. By 10am I already had a litre and a half. Now, when I was rushed to hospital because I had a spotting, everyone around me made a huge fuss about it and I was more concerned about my thirst that needed to be taken care of. I remember between the “Mommy, pay attention…” “Push now” I would beg for a glass of water. Hey, we were nearing 10am and I was over 500ml behind. Long story short, I eventually got my half a glass of water and healthy baby. What does this have to do with my studies? Well, I feel like my baby changed positions when I had to do my hardest assignment yet…design a curriculum AND I’ve had major contractions each time I had to study for exams. These were not kind at all. I never get sick, but this year has been crazy. I saw the doctor more than I ever did in the past 36 months combined. The migraines, boils, breakouts, insomnia, anxiety, blood red eyes…oh my word…the worse of them all…the loss of appetite šŸ˜§.

Days leading to this day have been worst than the exams….the waiting period…waiting for the results. It didn’t matter what people said to me, I didn’t want to think about these. So, when I went to church @fathershousesa, my pastor gave me a good scold. Well, he was giving a message and it just spoke directly to me and I remembered how I felt when I was listening. So I told myself that “gurl, you spent most of your time studying (in between worrying) and now it’s on the reapers hands to pick good fruit from the bad”. I understood what that meant. The markers and moderators were going through each of my scripts and would submit only the total of my correct answers. Mine was to trust God that these were faithful servants who were of good morals and had values.

So, today I gave birth to this šŸ‘¶…

I am so grateful for the year of the Lord, 2017. I learned a lot about Zami. I experienced new and forgotten things. I’m grateful for this child I carried from February 6th to November 29th. I look forward to my baby’s dedication; graduation day in December 2017. Meanwhile, I shall relearn how to strut it in heelsšŸ‘  šŸ™†.

Advertisements

Happy Birthday my JOY!

On the 22nd November is a dearest friend’s birthday… Thabile Joy. She has to be the first person I met who truly lived her name outwardly.. JOY.. 

Ask me in my sleep on the 22ns November what day it is and I know I will respond, it’s her birthday.

Dear friend, may God richly bless you as you start a new level of maturity. May all your days be filled with love and more joy.
Love always….Weetbix

Student Life nearing an end…for now

So, today I took my Visual Art journal and had one of the “WOWest” moments ever after reading one of my dozen essays… I just laughed at how I write sometimes…maybe most of the time šŸ™‚

They say that we don’t have background music in real-life, but I think they didn’t think that some of us can tap into that world…where seasons don’t meet and background music exist. As I read this essay I heard Jaheim’s Fabulous playing in the playground. I smiled every now and then as I thought this song speaks to the essay.

I am not sure how does this slideshow attachment go, but I put it up so that you may read it some time. I do hope that it is readable. (If you are unable to read it, please let me know).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It’s the second last week before I wrap up this study this for the year…well, then there’s the end of year results that I have to wait for…

In essence my background song speaks to where my son and I have been through this year. All I put him through, got him packing up his things and leave his school for a far less human-based school, and leave the comfort of his home…woah! what a year:

“With all that we’ve got
And no matter whatever together we’ll weather the storm
And meanwhile we’re all we got it might get rough, but
It’s alright
‘Cause you-N-I-T-why is all we need
To get are-E-S-P-E-C-T
And never G-I-V-EĀ  U-P
And keep your H-E-A-DĀ  U-P
And never G-I-V-EĀ  U-P”

I never get to say this, but thank you so much for reading what I had to say, even if at times it’s just kraaaaazzzzzy! Thank you, I’m grateful.

Intercede for me

I had almost forgot that today is Wednesday and I have no exam. Nonetheless, I headed off to campus for some study time.

My day started with feeling a bit refreshed…not that chuffed that I had to take the bus. It’s okay, as long as I don’t have to walk. I didn’t take out my Bluetooth headphones to block the different conversations that were birthed all around me. The occasional stares that women had on when they approached where I say was priceless…I think I was seated in “someone’s seat”…

I drifted to a different world. I swoped the bus conversations for the streets; schoolkids running to catch the school bus that almost pulled off, I couldn’t help but notice that one of the boys was still getting dressed. As the other learners got their bus fare out to pay once inside the bus, this boy was buttoning his school shirt. Do they coome from a child-headed household? Do they live with senior citizen guardians who are unable to tend after them? Different scenarious played out in my head? The oldest of these kids must have been around 13 or 14. I started to be quite aware of the different lives and morning moments that took place šŸ™‚

How is this taxi flying? It seemed like something on TV…A minibus taxi was flying from one side of the road to the next, rolled twice and landed on its back. As the bus waited for the traffic lights to turn green, I saw something I wish I can eraze from my memory. Uncontrollable screams arose from different directions of the bus. Did they see what I just saw? All I saw was schoolkids and an unrecognizable minibus. In the midst of this, I prayed as tears streamed down my face. Mothers and fathers headed to work, and provide for their families were now being pulled out of this horrendous scene. The two high schoolkids, one picking up his school books that were lying all across this busy street was defeaned from the “lay down, we’ll collect your books” someone was screaming. “I’m writing Bio” pleaded the second boy. “Everybody sit!” the bus driver screamed.

All I could do was intercede. My cellphone died right after I alerted a friend who works in the traffic department about the accident. What could I do? I could only pray.

I got to campus 20 minutes later and I just threw up. I was shaking. The image of a flying minibus remains stamped in my head. I put on my bluetooth headphones and guess what started playing? “He intercedes for me,Ā Protects me from things unseen,
Right between God and me.Ā He intercedes for me…”Ā Kirk FranklinĀ answered in song.

All I can do is just pray that no one died in that crash and those kids are given special exam or something.

What a morning šŸ˜„

This EXAM thing though…

So, it’s 03:34 am, and I’m back to having exams anxiety…I can’t help but put on my headphones and just let the music play on. Didn’t I do this last semester? I had all sorts of crazy break outs because of this monster called exams. I passed with great marks…two distinctions and all. So, what now? This has got to stop.

Part of me says, “Let me study a few more hours and then rest… I know I’m gonna need that early morning jog around campus to refresh my mind.” While another part is like “I can’t go to sleep yet, I need some upbeat music to get me going and pushing”. This student life is nothing like what I once knew. This exam thing has my world on a roller-coaster šŸ˜„

Oh my word, “Jesus knows just how you feel, just let Him take the wheel…” this song pumping in my ears…I can’t help but laugh. Okay, so what if I’m meant to hear this song at this time…

I need to pull over for real, and just let Him drive. My victory should not be in my exam results! But wait, how do I just pull over in the middle of nowhere? This is crazy!! What’s crazier is the will to just pull over, as long as I don’t have to endure an upset tummy throughout my exam like last week…o brotha! I admit that I surely enjoyed that Creative Art exam, regardless.

 

Letter to my baby sis!

Dear Sam,

You’ve been in my thoughts a lot, well more than often. The sound of your crazy laughter filled the classroom today as I stood before a large group of Grade 12 learners from this rural school I went to…well, they were busy discussing somethings I had asked of them. As I wrote on the blackboard (well, it was green!), I smiled because I saw your face. I went around to each group and for a brief second I saw us walking around carrying Junior. What a crazy dog we had šŸ™‚

Do you remember when we had just moved to Uitenhage? That was messed up for me, everything and everyone I loved was left behind in Port Elizabeth….then I had theĀ big-sister-will-hurt-you-if-you-touch-my-baby-sister moment when we were visiting friends of our mother. Do you remember that? I think you were sent to the shops with two other girls. You were about 6 years old and this 15 year old girl slapped y’all or something. I remember when you came into the yard crying, the girls’ lips were moving and all I heard was “your sister’s hurt and there’s the girl who hurt her“, I know that’s not what was said, but hey. All I knew was to pounce on her. I remember grabbing her by the shirt and screamed to her face, “did you hurt that child?! did you? did you hurt my sister?!” LOL Funny thing is, I never cared that she was about 6 years my senior, all I knew was that I had to protect my sis! I might have slapped her because I remember I was then told that I shouldn’t go around beating up people because we were still newbies there.

Anyways, we’ve been through a lot, you and I, but I never forgot how Brandy just said what was in my heart. Then I wrote you one of my first poems “My Little Sister’s Prayer“…

I love you always Sam,

ZamiĀ heart

September, 8th!

In 2006, I was blessed to be promoted to a new and different status that comes with a lot of responsibilities and benefits; being Mom. Even though I was told that this beautiful prize would make his presence in October, I was neither phased or dismayed; I was excited and just knew that this was meant to be.

When he was a little over three months old, I knew that feeding time meant business…he just loved this time. He ignored his toys and sometimes (I think) tried to block his favourite tunes too, including my voice….

This is a diverse boy that I was blessed with. Bath time is still playtime. I’d call him water boy but he prefers a “more profound” superhero name šŸ˜‰

Then there are times when he sees you taking out a camera and he just strikes a pose. What a model! He prefers selfies and sometimes, he would ask you to “take a photo or maybe three mama”. He is not apologetic about who he is.

I hope that he becomes all that God has called and created him to be. A just man, who lives with values founded in love and may he continue having a discerning spirit.

Happy Birthday my boy!

 

 

Lead Me not into a Bias Teacher…

This morning, seated in one of my lectures I had to once again deal with traces of injustice. I know that for the longest, about three lectures long, I hoped that I was reading too much into things. I mean we are being trained to be teachers who are radical about social justice in the classroom. What happens when these very same people who are training us to do this very thing are doing the opposite? Do we sit and keep quiet? Well, I did. Did I feel good about it? No, I didn’t. It literally drained me having to attend this class. I had to remind myself as to why I chose to leave my comfortable life and become a student once again. Still, this gave me migraines. How am I supposed to be an advocate for social justice in my classroom, when I am witnessing the opposite? Is being a Student Teacher always going to be conflicting? Surely, not? This has to be some sort of test. Yes, it must be some test that is well-hidden within the module. We’re being tested on who keeps quiet the longest. Yes! That’s it.

But if that is the case…I think I just failed the test.

Let me take you back a lot of year back…I grew up fighting against being oppressed in my own home, by those who were supposed to teach me that I should not accept that kind of behaviour from anyone. Well, I secretly fought in my head. Yes, I kept quiet. It seemed everyone around me saw it, but no one was supposed to say anything about it. Me, included. It took me a long while to realise that I was supposed to be quiet about it. I had all sort of reminders; there was the blue slipper, the navy slipper, the pinching, the brown belt, the name calling, the black belt, the navy slipper, the water-filled bucket, the backhand clap…the variation was amazing. So, when I finished my studies and God blessed me with a permanent job while studying, I knew something was up. I just did not know what. Little did I know that I would start speaking up. Not for me, but for other people. I did this a lot. It felt, oh so good! I didn’t want to stop. I don’t want to stop. That’s until recently…about three lectures ago…

We were told to respond to “The state of education in South Africa is of nationwide concern – and so it should be. When almost 80% of grade five learners are judged to be at “serious risk of not learning to read”, as measured by the international benchmarks, it is not an overstatement to say that South African education is in crisis..” Now, catch this, we’re supposed to respond in the form of a “TV style documentary”. For the past three weeks, I have witnessed great acting of a group of students in class who deserved at least 93%, animated docies that deserved 88% and these received a “class assessment” of far less than that. Well, this “class assessment” is basically individual students marking their peers after each presentation, an assigned group of students marking the presenters and the ultimate decision comes from the lecturer.

So, when a group of students almost received 88%, this morning after reading their PowerPoint presentation to us when the instructions clearly stated that this presentation should be TV style documentary, something just died within me. I could not believe that this person who is supposed to be in authority would disregard the very rules that were from his instructions. When queried about this, he states that it is because “they had a list of references”….ooooook… my posed question was/is “how are we supposed to be advocates of social justice in schools when it is not evident in our very class? what are we supposed to take as practising teachers to our schools, never mind what we’re currently supposed to think as students?”. There was no substantial response. None whatsoever. Oh yes, then there was “they’re a group of science students and do not have that skill”. What about the very first presenters who were scientists and acted out a powerful presentation, that had a list of references and answered the posed questions? He may have dropped the final mark to 80%, but I still remain unconvinced.

Growing up, I never aspired to:

  • be an advocate of social justice,
  • speak the truth, even if it makes me unpopular, but these things have become part of who I am and I accepted them. I cannot, knowingly, allow someone else go through what I went through.

Guyton (2000) states that “TeacherĀ education forĀ social justiceĀ developsĀ teachersĀ who are able to achieve social justiceĀ in their classrooms. Jennings, Crowell, and Fernlund (1994) described a classroom reflectingĀ social justiceĀ as one in which students have voice as well as equal access to resources and opportunities.” I cannot take someone else’s decision for them, but mine is to actively become a developed teacher who thrives on making sure that social justice exists in my classroom at all times. Decisions I make are not bias, when either speaking or marking my learners, may I remain true to my calling and not be clouded by favouritism and break a future adult at the same time.

Won’t you please feel free to share your thoughts and views on social justice in the classroom. It could be things you’re personally experienced or just what you have seen happening to someone else.

Many thanks for reading.

Guyton, E. (2000). Social Justice in Education.Ā The Education Forum, 64 (2). pp.108-114. doi:10.1080/00131720008984738

http://www.icytales.com/types-teachers-hate/

 

Open-letter to my Narcissist Mother

Dear Mother,

It has taken me years to put this on paper…
I am not sure where to even begin. Maybe I should start where I started noticing that something was wrong. Don’t worry, I’ll be quick…

I must’ve been around four or five years old. It was pouring outside, I sat watching you; *Pam; taking yet another sip from this misty long tumbler. I wondered what it was, eventually I asked, “what you drinking?” Nothing could have prepared me for your response. You snapped, “it’s rain water, I’m not sharing!”. I remember a deep sense of shame, embarrassment, reject and my soul wanting to just curl deep within. Surely you remember myĀ first encounter.

Months leading to my dad’s death, in our home of five, we had just finished breakfast. I was 5 years old, nearing six, and I stood before my parents with a bowl of oat cereal that I could Ā finish and asked “what should I do with this?”. You swiftly responded, “chuck it in the drain”. No one has ever said this to me before. I did not know what that meant. What was expected of me? Was I supposed to somehow lift the drain lid and open it somehow? After standing outside for a long while, with my bowl of cereal, I returned to both of you and confessed “I tried to lift the lid and it wouldn’t badge”. My dad smiled, played with his beards and as he opened his mouth, his words were muted and all I heard was your voice “I’ll slap you so hard for not using your brains”. Of course, fear came over me and I went to my comfort zone…my mind and silently wishing for tomorrow. This became my home.

My dad, your husband passed. The pain of losing my father never truly left me. You separated me from my two sisters. They went with you and you left me with his mom. I queried this for years, but never did I get a response. Eventually, we were reunited at age 11. Little did I know that this was the beginning of turning me into an empathetic and strong woman. Whatever I said or did never amounted to your standards; whatever they were. I spent nerve-wrecking moments silently wishing for tomorrow. I was not happy. I started writing poetry, to run away from being compared to either my younger or older sister. Still, you found a lot of fault in that. What was I doing wrong? I decided to try write for you, but I couldn’t because I did not know you as a mother. You made me feel bad about the people I love. My gran was everything to me, and yet you made fun of her social status “you think you’re beautiful, you’re not. you will be poor all your life live in a shack like your aunty”. We were standing in the kitchen, I was wearing the black & white skater dress I loved so much. When you saw that I was shocked at this; no one has ever verbally attacked me; you said “you know I was just joking”. That joke froze my entire being. I didn’t just silently wish for tomorrow; I actually wished you dead so that I would go back to my family.

After high school, I could not pursue writing studies because you said I had to do Fine Art instead. Of course I lived to please you, I did just that. Fortunately, I had an amazing time in the visual arts. I combined my writing with my visual works; I enjoyed that so much.

Trouble began, once more, when I started working. I would still like to know why on earth would you try strip me of the things I bought. Whatever I bought, you demanded and yes, I let you take advantage of me. What was I supposed to do? I was always hopeful that somehow you will look at me, too, like your other children. Nothing could ever prepared me for the letter you wrote me a month after I started working though. Do you remember it? I kept in it that very same envelope that it was hand delivered in. Among other unpleasant things it contains, it read “you need to pay me back for giving birth to you, raising you in a warm home and paying for your studies…”. It still baffles me to this day because 1. I do not recall standing in a fetal queue waiting to point out which mother I would like to birth me, 2. we both know that my paternal gran raised me most of my life, and that home you refer to still remains a mystery to me. Memory screams loud every time I think back to your houses of terror; both of them. There was nothing homely about sleeping with one eye opened and always fearing of when this person they say is your mother will terrorize you once more. I lived in fear under your roofs, there was nothing homely about them, 3. paying for my studies sounds far from the truth because when I started working, I was repaying my study loans. Maybe you were referring to the graduation gown you hired out for me, I don’t know. I remember that month I gave you almost every penny I earned. Not once did you ask me if I had money for rent or food that month. All you cared about was your so-called payback money.

Not once did you celebrate anything I accomplished, instead you always highlighted what was at fault. When I pursued my Masters, you were on my case about getting my PhD. I never said I wanted a PhD, I just wanted to study so that I would not be left out in the arts. I wanted to grow, that’s it. When I pursued my Education studies you immediately insinuated that I was miserable in my previous career. Do you remember the text message you sent telling me that? Well, I do. That’s not it, but you will never get it. I do not mind that I may be getting paid far less than what I am used to. I love teaching, it’s my calling. You will never get it though, you will never get me Pam. I have tried in so many ways to let you know what I am all about, but your ears were always deaf when I had something to say. That’s alright though, I understand why. It might have taken me a lot of counselling sessions to see, but fortunately now I see. I could never please you. I can never make you accept me. You decided to behave the way you do towards me and no one will ever change that but you. In your eyes, I am always all things bad. All the names you have spoken over me; all of them; I reject them. They have no power over me because you have nothing I want anymore. They don’t have hold over me. You don’t have hold over me.

I think I’ve had numerous last straws with you, but the one a few days before my birthday takes the cake. “Hi, I know you have money, give me some…I should not even be asking for this money. I deserve it. I raised you and gave you life…” your text message read. I remember thinking “hold on now Pam. Didn’t we do this years ago? Surely I’ve paid my debt to this woman. Right?” As always I counted a few minutes before responding, “why the animosity now?” I responded. That blew your tip over, oh well. I must apologize for telling you off like that. I’m sure you were not expecting me to tell you that I owe you nothing, as I paid my dues back in 2006. To remind you that I had never begged or demanded you to give birth to me, no child ever does.

Anyways Pam, as much as I am not sure how I feel about you, I am certain that I choose to care for you from a distance. I refuse to allow you to poison my life any further. I tap out, mother!

From, the daughter you never reached out to,

Zami

*Pam is not her birth name