Monday, July 18, 2011

Inspire someone. Tell your real story, in your own language.

Refilwe Thobega asks Who are you?
ka Setswana ba re O mang?
My grandfather was born in 24 January 1919, five months after Nelson mandela's birthday: July 1918. He, my oupa, was a Chief at a small farm-village in die Noord Kaap -- Kikahela. He was recently hit by a stroke. He lives. His half-sister, Oumama Rabeka, is the current Kgosana.

Abraham Mochware had many children. About 12 or more, but less than 15. He had one wife, Mitjie Motshidisi Os. I am one of his grand-children (he also has dikokomana) -- I am the first daughter of Olaotse Virginia (Mochware) Thobega and Kagiso Alban Thobega.

My father’s father, Abel Thobega, just like my mother’s father was a moruti at his church (Anglican). My oupa was a mogogi at his church (London Missionary Society, later called UCCSA [United Congregational Church of Southern Africa]). I hear that Abel Thobega, was about to be given the chieftaincy by his forefathers (Boo rra Thobega ko Mmankgodi) when he decided to “rather” be a priest. So I hear he fled to a nearby village called Molepolole – a village I once stayed at, as well as Maung, Lobatse and Gaborone.

Owai! It was too late for monna mogolo... Royalty was already in his blood. You can’t run away from what you already are old man.

Mind you, these two men (both my oupatjies) were not friends. They did not even know each other, let alone, like each other. And one thing for sure, my mother’s marriage to my father was not initially blessed by either one of them. That’s why it made it difficult for us to leave Botswana (my father’s home) and come to South Africa (my mother’s home) in 1989. 

So my mother sent me to SA first. I stayed with my late aunty, Onkaetse Mochware (mother of Mpho Akinleye and Ontibetse Mochware). She is one of the strong black women who raised me at a time when my mother was mourning the murder and death of her husband, while at the same time fighting for her bed, sofas, fridge and TV.  So mmangwane Onkaetse became my mother for about 18 months. I was five or six years old. I was ready for preschool – a Roman Catholic pre-school at Batlharos Village (Kuruman). My sister, Botshelo Thobega, who was two-years-old at the time, remained in Botswana with my mother while she, with the help of her father, Abraham Mochware, fought for her belongings.

I think Abraham was more brave. My mother’s father. He took the throne. I think although he was too modest and a coward to accept what was rightfully his, my father’s father was powerful! His sperm created my father and my father’s sperm was one of the ingredients that led to my birth. One oupa was brave, another was powerful. Guess what I am: A cocktail. I’m cosmopolitan. I also love the taste of it! I make a killer cosmo.

My name is Refilwe Thobega, born in 25 December 1983. I have a long story ... so, I will cut it off here. Let’s wait for my memoir.

I know who I am and where I came from. I challenge you to do the same. Find yourself and tell us who you are. Connect the dots. I did.  Inspire someone, tell your story. In your own language!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

"Being Afrikan" by Mandivamba Rukuni

Being Afrikan is a must read for all Africans and anybody who is proud of what and who they are. Back to roots. My take: the sun rises in Africa baby. We are such a loved nation.

I made myself a promise a long time ago – that I will be a fair critic – they are rare. I think people are so full of low-self esteem that they believe that giving true credit where and when it is due is a sign of weakness.

Not me.

Being Afrikan by Mandivamba Rukuni is the most inspiring, enlightening, educating piece of information I have ever read in a long time.

The blurb says: this “is a book that will change your view of what of what it is going to take for us to co-create the Afrika we want. It will take a higher level of consciousness in individual human beings to achieve transformation at family, community and national levels. This higher level of consciousness will take us beyond independence to the celebration of our interdependence as human beings. I am, because we are!”

The author is of African origin – a Zimbabwean who has lived all over the world. Google him. In his latest offering, he tells you what he has seen and heard all over the world. He acknowledges the uniqueness of different cultures, traditions, races, religions, practises, believes names, places and origins. His motto is: if you are an African, do not westernise, but, modernise. I am making this my mantra.

He encourages people, to stay true to who they are, irrespective of modern society expectations, all that jazz and drama that comes with every-day-living. At the end of the day, we all worship the same “higher-power” ­­-- whatever that means for you --  who cares? He specifically encourages children of the African soil to remain true to the dust, herbs and “powers” that saw their ancestors through turmoil.

I share the same worry as him, Europeans and others, come here and “expect” Africans to change into certain things that they are not. He advices “us” to borrow from the Indians (meditation), Chinese (technology), Europeans (English language) and others, only to better what we already are (soil; flora and fauna; African healing; uBuntu, and the list is endless). Let us not lose ourselves. Great Africans, among many others, such as: Credo Mutwa, Alemseged Tesfai, Barolong Sebon (he is one of my "forefathers" -- google him), Bessie Head and Nelson Mandela, have paved the way. Let’s follow.  

A much chopped-up version of this review is also published in The Citizen and on Facebook

Monday, July 11, 2011

In true Ubuntu-style, we give birth to our children. All of them. In true Afrikanism, there are no orphans. Vicky and David Beckham just had an extra child. Salute!

I've just read on Yahoo news that Victoria and her husband, David Beckham, have just welcomed their latest bundle of joy. A girl-child. I don't know, in total, how many children they have. Google it.

It read:
The couple's rep Jo Milloy tells Us Weekly the "happy and healthy" little girl weighed 7 lbs. 5 oz. "David and Victoria Beckham are delighted," Milloy said. "Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz are excited to welcome their new baby sister to the family."

With a testosterone-filled household, it's no wonder why Beckham longed for baby girl. "When we first found out, we went for the scan and they said, 'Oh, it's a boy,'" David told Jimmy Kimmel in March. "I was like, 'Great,' and Victoria was like, 'Ugh. Another penis in the house.' She thinks there's too many in the house already. So then we went back for the next scan and they said, 'Oh, we think it's a girl.'"
I'm happy for them. A healthy child, in this day and age, is nothing but a pure blessing. 
Now this reminded me of what Gareth Cliff said recently when he found out that Lauren Hill recently gave birth to another child. He threw a fit on his breakfast show. He was disgusted. He insulted sis Lauren for popping out babies like they are going out of fashion. 
I am personally disgusted by the likes of bo Gareth, who know nothing about Afrikanism. Black people give birth to their children. All of them. You know why? In Afrikanism, in true Ubuntu-style, no child is an orphan. When one's parents die, aunts and relatives step in to raise orphans and to help widows and widowers. 
Where I come from, dogs and cats (animals) stay outside the house. Let them bite and play with each other out there. We adopt children by choice. Not because we want to save the world (as Angelina is doing, and I applaud her. She and Brad have big hearts. God bless them).
Now, bo Gareth Cliff came yesterday, from no where, he comes here and talks rubbish in the radio about a fellow sister. Shame on him! 
People like bo Gareth Cliff abuse their privileges and power. He has been blessed with a fancy job, to entertain, educate and inform. And what does he do? Annoys the likes of bo Refilwe by talking misinformed and uneducated nonsense on the radio!
Who made him judge? Ke mang ene?
So flabbergasted! No respect. Totally. 
Now, raise your glasses, will the real DJ please stand up. 
My name is Refilwe Thobega... 'till next time, stay tuned!