To wear or not to wear?

So as we are about to say “sayonara” to Heritage month, allow me to dedicate Paragraphicly Correct to this wonderful month. A month where we as South Africans ought to dig deeper into what is known as our heritage. But this year on Heritage day I did more thinking than doing any digging.

So I’m busy on Facebook, looking at each and every post by people. Most of these posts had one thing in common; a picture posted by various individuals of various races sporting their traditional outfits. Black South Africans of maybe Xhosa, Zulu, Venda or Sotho culture wore their culture’s specific traditional gear. White Afrikaner South Africans had the chance to dust off their Voortrekker outfits with their “kappies”, Indians had a chance to wear saris and so forth. My point that I’m trying to make is what was I supposed to wear? As a “coloured” individual (and man do I hate talking about my race as a description of myself, but I guess one cannot shy escape from reality right?) what was I supposed to wear?

Apparently we are a mixture of white and black individuals, so I read more about my identity as a coloured and apparently I am a mixture of white and the Khoisan now. Quite confusing I know; I think I should be grateful for this variety in me but thinking about it just leaves me puzzled at times. Coloured South Africans speak English and Afrikaans; Afrikaans as in originates from Dutch, Dutch which is seen as white, so was I supposed to wear a Voortrekker outfit. That would have been awkward right? I mean like I’m a little too dark to have a man of European descent as my ancestor.

But if I’m black too, was I supposed to wear some Xhosa outfit with beautiful/colourful prints on them? That wouldn’t be awkward at all, because I always get mistaken for being a black South African; at least that was what I thought too until I saw that there was various race boxes on bursary application forms, university application forms and many other forms that need to be approved by people (shakes head), but back to me wearing traditional clothing. I’ll be able to wear those clothes without others looking at me in a funny way (well except people who really know me), until they come to me speaking Xhosa/Zulu and I’m like uhm… then I respond in English leaving those people extremely confused.

And then there’s the part of my heritage that belongs to the Khoisan, well let’s just say I wouldn’t go there. I have no problem with the culture, but I refuse to walk around barely dressed on heritage day.

So I’ll end off this piece with a question; what should I have worn on heritage day?

In my own words.

Image compliments of https://www.google.co.za

Image compliments of https://www.google.co.za

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The Revolution of Journalism

Journalism is dying? Well I haven’t seen it going into cardiac arrest as of recent. What people mean by this is that compared to the new age of journalism; which is robojournalism, datajournalism, social media with its microblogs etc journalism is losing its essence. In my opinion, I think it is only changing the face of journalism as we know it. When one thought journalism in the past, immediately you’d think reading a newspaper, watching news on television or listening to what is happening around us on the radio. Today it is not that simple anymore.

As Randy Bennett (famous journalism blogger) mentions in his blog, “data will be at the core of everything media companies do going forward” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/randy-bennett/why-the-future-of-media-a_b_5175710.html). Sure, but then I couldn’t agree more with a statement made on Aurora Comms blog which is as follows: “Well yes they would, and rightly so. Blogs offer opinion but can they really match up to the global reach of a highly-trained journalist network and can bloggers, even ‘super-bloggers’, present the quality of visual content we all know and love from the BBC?” (http://www.auroracomms.com/people/the-future-of-journalism/#.VfvynKkaK1s). And that is exactly why I think traditional media can not ultimately die.

Steven Buttry then argues that: “I’d argue that it’s also an essential form of community engagement.” (https://stevebuttry.wordpress.com/), it all comes down to how interactive and engaging that media platform is. And I must admit when it comes down to that, the new media is winning, commentary is faster and everyone has a chance to have “their say” put out there almost as fast as you can say go.

future-of-journalism

Journalism is dying? Prepare to get underpaid. Image compliments of Google.com.

Journalism has changed but it’s not ultimately dying. The new age journalism is just a result of transformation within the industry. The principle of collecting and gathering news honestly and fairly basically stays the same. Saying that it’s dying basically means that it will no longer be around as a career or it being non-existent in the near future. This can be argued with the various styles of journalism maybe, like the traditional journalism and yes it is a fact that technology is taking over, but news channels should still be around, newspapers should still be around. As when one reads anything on social media, one reads shortened versions of the series of events. With traditional media one still has a chance to read to fully understand and grasp the context of what has happened. So sure, with the new media news travels faster, but traditional media is still the best way to understand news.

The beauty of just “doing you”…

India Arie said it best people; “I am not my hair, I am not this skin, I am not your expectation, Noooo, I am not my hair, I am not this skin, I am the soul that lives within…” power to those words. Today, dear reader, Paragraphicly Correct is dedicated to you, you who feel depressed or oppressed by another’s opinion of your physical/outer being; those who have a problem with your hair, your skin, your clothes etc. This issue has always been exactly that, an issue where I’m from. It’s an issue I’ve been dealing with for many years, and I guess I’ll be sharing one of my ex-issues with you. I say ex-issue because I don’t really care about it anymore.

So my hair has always been an issue, living in the community I live in it (hair) has (and still is) always been part of the neighbourhood gossip, of course when there’s nothing better to talk about. The thing with my hair is that it never fitted within the “coloured” norm, or at least the coloured norm of where I’m from. So because I didn’t want to be given the funny face or sarcastic comments I did things to my hair that actually damaged it in the process, things like relaxers, hair-straightners, heat-appliances, basically things to give it that extra glossy shine. As soon as I saw that my hair was “going south” something had to be done about it immediately. Sometimes I could share a laugh about it, but when things got serious (seriously sad) it got serious. This has been an issue throughout my high-school life too, and you know high-school, everybody had an opinion about everything. So in order to keep my hair out of their mouths I made sure that I kept it in check. Whilst I was doing that I was losing the authenticity of my real hair.

My eyes actually opened once I started attending university, not that I’m saying varsity doesn’t have its own panel of  “Miss SA” judges or “Fashion Police” critics, but it’s there that I actually found myself and saw that people’s opinions about how you look or what you wear does not matter at all. I too, decided to embrace the culture of not worrying about what he/she says. So back to how this fits in with my hair situation, I went to my Aunt Lee-Ann so she could braid my hair and she asked if she could cut my hair, because at the time it had been a while since I touched a Dark & Lovely box and my roots seemed extremely thick. I actually thought long and hard about what I should do, eventually I was like why not? After that I braided my hair though, after 2 months of wearing the braids I took them out, washed my hair and guess what? I was sporting a nice new mini-afro. Since then, I’ve been inlove with my beautiful, African, nappy hair.

Today my hair is my pride, deciding to go against the norm that day never felt so good. I wear my beautiful “puff” as my crown with no care in the world of those comments and those faces. Because, as I referred to India Arie at the beginning of this piece, my hair is not who I am, I am the soul that lives within. And I’ve decided to live in accordance with my late grandma’s ideology to not worry about what’s on my head but rather what’s underneath it.

I’m not saying I’m totally unself-conscious about myself yet, as hair was never the only thing that kept me awake at night. Let’s just say resolving all the other issues are a work in progress because these things take time. But you know what, eventually I’ll get over it, to an extent that walking around naked won’t even be a problem (jokes, jokes, jokes)… I’ll just slowly but surely make it my mission to not conform to anyone’s norms of what/how I should or should not look.

In my own words featuring a little piece by India Arie and my late grandma’s logic.

How I looked a few years back.

How I prefer to look today.