By Aviwe Nontenja


I attract abundance

I attract success

I am wealthy

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me


Every morning as I start my day, I say those words of affirmation. It’s funny; you never really think about how you can become your worst enemy. I guess the saying is true, “Live long enough to see your hero become a villain”.

Who is this hero I am referring to? Well, it’s the adolescent me. I grew up with all the confidence in the world. This was due to my schooling days, where it was ensured you lived by the Scriptures, especially Philippians 4:13. I recall being invited to be part of a dance act in Primary School. The senior students had organized a routine, and since I was with them that day, they figured why not dance with them. I turned them down since I was terrified of taking part. I believed that I wasn’t a dancer. However, that moment defined whom I was going to be. I decided that I would never let fear govern my life. I practised and became a dancer. I told myself, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Years went by living with the mantra. Life kept challenging me, but I fought back until University. At this point, I’ve lived life and found myself, or at least I thought I had. However, within the three years of Varsity life, my identity was shaken. I broke down and fell into what I thought was depression, forcing a 180-degree shift in my mindset. From that point onwards, I lived a life driven by anxiety and fear of not knowing whether any of the decisions I made would affect not only me but the people around me. Even as I write this, I am afraid whether you, as the reader, will accept me or not. This fear had engulfed me, and I lived a life fueled by it. This forced me to shy away from the public, cloak my light, and made me lurk in darkness without a clear direction.

Going back to Varsity, I didn’t have a plan of what I wanted to do with my life after I attended my degree. All I knew was I was going to be a scientist and get a job; that’s what was promised mos. Little did I know that I would wait 4 years to actually work in my field, and even then, I would work for the worst place imaginable. This further reassured the fear I had. Did I make the right choice? I love what I do, but is it worth it? I would drink myself to oblivion, trying to forget about the many hurdles around. However, through meditation and introspection, I am learning daily that it is better to live life comfortably by embracing its discomfort. I should simply think, act and revise.

This shift in thinking is slowly but surely creating a new mindset I would like to dub: Animated Ambition. It is nothing new or fancy. It is a form of thinking where you formulate an idea, test your idea, and if it passes or fails, you go back to the drawing board to revise how to improve on it. As I speak, I have successfully grown three cannabis plants and two chilli pepper plants and advanced my skills from sewing by hand to using a machine, only by thinking about what I wanted and acting on it. I won’t lie, self-doubt always creeps in and tries to hinder my progress, but it’s a marathon, not a sprint—the Marathon Continues (Nipsey Hussle).

[The End]

Aviwe Sisonke Nontenja, born in the town of Mthatha, graduated from the University of the Western Cape with a BSc in Environmental and Water Science. He also graduated with a Post Grad Diploma in Integrated Water Resource Management. He is a dad who strives to do his best on a daily basis. He is a  curator of Deep House Music and the founder of Mins Environ Consultants in  2017, Animated Ambitions Clothing in 2022, and Co-founder of The Gardner in 2021. He is inspired by his love of video games, Anime and Manga. He strives to find a distinguished design by infusing Anime into his work.

The Evolution of Kendrick Lamar

Mr Morale & The Big Steppers

Kendrick Lamar always gives us something different, and with it comes an honesty that we are supposed to find in hip hop music. Hip hop music was born in the late 1970s to give voice to the voiceless and be brutally honest about the failure of the state and society.

Hip hop not only gives hope, but it also gives the remedy. It gives you the “how to get out”, and if a hip hop artist delivers it as perfectly as Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five did with their smash hit “The Message”, you reach the audience that needs to hear it.

Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers is Lamar’s fifth studio album, and it departs in many ways from his previous albums. His first album, Section 80, had a critical look at the neighbourhood he grew up in. He highlights the issues that youth were continually facing. The last track on the album, “Hiiipower,” became the anthem of a generation that yearned to leave the confined borders of the ghetto.

His second album, good kid, m.A.A.d city, addresses gang violence and the pressure of joining a gang. The album takes you through a day in the life of Compton youth. The story follows Kendrick as a teenager navigating the street of Compton that are marked by Bloods and Crips – Red and Blue. An irony that does not escape him. The album deals with drug and alcohol abuse. It climaxes with the death of his friend, and this marks the turning point in Kendrick’s life. He decides to pursue hip hop full-time and to use hip hop music to change the neighbourhood and city he lives in.

His next album, To Pimp A Butterfly, deals with the larger national politics of being black in the world. As he started travelling the world, he recognised that the fate of black people everywhere was similar. His journey takes him to the cell of Mandela in South Africa, and when he returns to Compton, he realises that he is institutionalised like a prisoner. He realises that he cannot help him from running back to his neighbourhood like the prisoner. The danger of returning to the neighbourhood is death. A death will either be at the hands of gangsters or the police. He founds comfort in a posthumous conversation with the rapper 2pac Shakur who encourages him not to give up.

His next album, DAMN, deals with his state of mind after attaining worldwide fame. Since he was catapulted into worldwide fame after the release of To Pimp A Butterfly, it affected him on a psychological and emotional level. Suddenly, like 2Pac Shakur, he features in the news and is heavily criticised by Fox News for his remarks on police brutality in the USA. He also feels like he is taken for granted by the music industry, and with this album, he reminds the world of his true roots. He is willing to fight back and not keep quiet. Listening to this album, you can feel he is boxed in by fame and the responsibility of being a worldwide public figure.

This brings me to his latest album – a masterpiece in the making. This album introduces the patrimonial side of Kendrick. Kendrick, now married and a father of two young offspring, realises that he has to break a generational curse. If not, his offspring will fall into the same trap as he did. You get a sense that his reality of being a father gave him a different responsibility. He reflects on his father and his mistakes as a spouse. He wants to be a better father, and he wants to break the generational curse, and he can only do that if he comes clean to the world about his shortcomings. Lay it all bare for the world to see, and tell people he is only human. He cannot be the saviour fans expect him to be. Tell them the truth.

The album covers various topics, including cancel culture, homophobia and violence against women and children. For example, on the track “Saviour”, he addresses the selectiveness of the collective unconsciousness (a reference to Carl Jung). On this track, he explained to those calling him out during the Black Lives Matter protests that for them, it is one protest a year, but for him, it is 365 protests a year. He also warns fans that he is not the saviour they make him to be. On the track “Aunty Diaries”, he shares how his aunty and cousin were abused for being queer in society. He recognises that he, too, contributed to their pain. For that, he is calling out his hypocrisy – opening it for the world to see.

Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers is truly a hip hop album. It fuses different styles into a coherent and well-balanced album. It has a strong message, and it uses various hip hop sounds to emotionally connect you with Lamar’s journey of newfound responsibilities – the insecurities that come with being a spouse, a father and a leader. The album is divided into two parts. The first part is for radio, and the second is for true hip hop fans who were into his earlier mixtapes.

Overall, the album leaves us with something to think about: Would you look in the mirror and tell yourself “, I choose you.” Would you choose you with all your shortcomings? Are you willing to let go of the past to break a generational curse, or would you keep running back for a visit? Are you still institutionalised?

I am tired of speaking about racism

I am tired of speaking about racism because it affects me emotionally, psychologically and physically. And yet, it is difficult to escape because it keeps coming up. For those who are not aware, the aim of racism is to rob non-white people of their human dignity and make them feel lesser than the racist. But, more importantly, racism is lodged in whiteness or the civilisation discourse.

This discourse originated in Europe, giving rise to the transatlantic slave trade and imperialism. Both events were devastating for those who were regarded as non-white. They were rendered sub-human and were treated in that way. The civilisation discourse continued after the abolishment of slavery and colonialism. Every time it was re-incarnated in a different form. Many intellectuals over the years have tried to anticipate its new form and inevitable return, but they are always too late.

With this in mind, it brings me to the global response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. After watching my take on the implications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, people highlighted the difference between the global response when the US-led coalition invaded Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001 and 2003, respectively. They highlighted that the narrative is different and masked racism. I agree that the narrative is different when the US-led coalition invaded Afghanistan and Iraq than Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The narrative is different because it is still lodged in the same civilising discourse that brought about slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism. This discourse, so far, revealed itself in three ways. Firstly, how black students escaping the war were treated at the Ukrainian borders. Secondly, the “relatively civilised” comment made by senior CBS reporter Charlie D’Agata, and thirdly, the UN General Assembly vote on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

If one has a closer look at the UN’s General Assembly vote, an interesting trend is visible. Many African states have either abstained or did not vote on the resolution. In addition to this, China also abstained from voting on the resolution. African states for years have been victims of Western interference in their internal politics. As a result, many leaders were killed or, more recently, dragged to the International Criminal Court.

Moreover, some African states also have historical ties with Russia and China. For example, it was Russia and China that supported the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe. The United States, on the other supported apartheid in South Africa and Israel. Both these racist governments were strategic allies in strategic geographical locations.

Furthermore, in particular, China has been Africa’s biggest investor for the past 10 years. The US, on the other hand, over the past decade, could not match China’s investment in Africa. However, many African states are aware that even though relationships with superpowers like China, the US, Russia, and Europe are essential for our survival, these so-called partnerships are not sustainable or based on equality.

So why is this the case?

This returns me to racism. Africans know that global politics and global political structures are always to benefit white people, especially white people in the West. For example, the UN does not serve the interest of black people in South Africa or Palestinians in Israel. To put it differently: If Russia invaded SA today, what would the West’s first reaction be? I think their first reaction would be evacuating white people to European countries. Black people trying to escape the violence will be blocked like they are now in Europe. This is because the civilisation discourse has rendered the non-white person an infrahuman and a disposable object.

It saddens me that I have to speak about racism in a time like this. Hence, I have to stress the following: I am against any conflict and any form of violence that results in human loss and rob people of their dignity. Like many other South Africans, I am not pro-war but against racism and the hypocrisy of Western powers.

We will not survive the bio bubble

I believe certain institutions of Higher Education are making a mistake if they believe they can operate in a bio bubble. Interestingly these institutions are also the same institutions most affected by the FMF movement, and the struggles of these students at these universities are far from over. It will continue until the core issue in these institutions is dealt with: coloniality and petty apartheid.

This bio bubble sentiment points to a larger problem that persists after abolishing apartheid in 1994, which is a psychic condition I believe to be institutionalization. Like Michel Foucault in Discipline and Punishment, rappers like Tupac Shakur and Kendrick Lamar explain that prisoners stay trapped in the prisoner mentality even after they are released from prison. This aptly describes the mentality of Higher Education in South Africa.

Higher Education institutions should be critical and debunk theories. However, some South African universities adopted the same COVID-19 approach as some countries in the Global North: closing their borders and only allowing a select few to enter, which yielded little results. Yet, Higher Education in South Africa has decided that this bio bubble approach would work best for the sector.

Furthermore, debates around the COVID-19 pandemic and the issue of compulsory vaccinations are not encouraged. The state’s draconian and West inspired approach is the only accepted one. If one’s point of view is different from that of the state’s Western-driven narrative, one is labelled an anti-vaxxer and cast into the abyss. This draconian approach suspends the fundamental premise on which the university was supposedly founded: intellectual freedom. To go against the dogmatic view of the church, state and society.

The bio bubble approach is not working. It is not working for the West, and it will certainly not work for us in the Global South. And more importantly for me, we do not want to copy the West’s Trumpist approach, which is racist. So I suggest we look for a different approach.

I think Basic Education, with its limited resources and which is also a much better reflection of the South African reality, was forced to adopt an approach that accommodates every child in South Africa and, to a certain extent, secures South Africa’s future. Basic Education has been critiqued from day one for its approach have adjusted much better than universities have in South Africa. Their programmes are continuing, and yet not many learners are not vaccinated. They have adopted an approach to live with the virus and not live in a bio bubble.

But, then again, what can you expect from the university’s middle staff who already live in bubbles far removed from the day to day reality of the working class and poor. They can afford to stay in security complexes and can drive to work. They do not have to sit in a taxi, train or bus that is overloaded, and where the state’s COVID-19 protocols make the least sense. To me, it makes complete sense why certain universities opted for the bio bubble approach: they are the petty-bourgeois and want to maintain that status at all cost.

White Guilt Does Not Sell Anymore

Photo by Life Matters on

I had two interesting conversations on my recent trip to Barrydale to screen my documentary film “Steek My Weg” (Hidden Away). These conversations gave me a peek into the psyche of white people in South Africa. In both instances, I appreciated the honesty and the comfort they could speak to me.

So the first conversation took place at a restaurant. Since I love coffee, I am always looking for good coffee places. I review and share them on my Koffi Kulture Instagram account. Since this restaurant advertises “good coffee,” I decided to check it out. After I had ordered my coffee, I sat down at one of the tables to enjoy it. Shortly afterwards, the owner came up to me and asked if I was from Barrydale. So I told her no, I am not. I was there to screen my documentary film “Steek My Weg.” I explained I was working for a specific university, and it was through my work, I came to know the story of “Steek My Weg.”

After hearing which university I was working at, she casually asked if I knew what the abbreviation of my university stands for? Since I heard it many times before, I entertained her and asked her to tell me. So she said, “They call your university the ‘University of the Restless Coloureds.’” So I corrected her and said, “You can say it stands for “the University of the Wild Coloureds.” She realised she had walked into a trap. So, she apologised and tried to pin it on her so-called ‘coloured’ friend. Who apparently was the one who told her that. After her lame apology, she wished me the best of luck for the screening and offered to screen the film at her restaurant. After that, she left. From the moment she uttered those words, they did not sit well with me. What gave her the courage to call me to my face a “restless coloured?” What was she trying to achieve? The more I reflected, I realised she thinks of herself as a ‘transformed’ white person. Hence, she was oblivious to the racist remark forming in her psyche. Since this remark was formed in her subconscious, she only became conscious of what she said once trapped.

The second conversation was a day after the screening. I love books, and there is an excellent bookshop in Barrydale. Since the first time I visited Barrydale, the owner and I had some interesting conversations. When I visited Barrydale in 2020, I asked him if he knew about the forced removals in Barrydale. He said he heard some stories but did not know much because he is not originally from Barrydale. So the day after the screening I went to see if there were any interesting books I could buy. As I entered the porch to the bookshop, I saw him standing outside having a smoke and a drink. We greeted each other, and he said it was nice to see me again. I said I was surprised that he still remembers me. He said he does because I am the guy who is interested in the forced removals in Barrydale. I said yes and updated him about the film and the screening the evening before. After hearing that, he said something so interesting and so honest. He said, “White people are tired of white guilt, and it does sell as much as it did during the first two decades after the apartheid.” In just a few words, his opinion of my film rendered it to white guilt. His opinion presupposes that I somehow wanted something from white people. I do not.

The film is not about white guilt or intending white people to feel guilty about apartheid. The reality is that South African white people, who lived here for generations, benefitted from old apartheid and continue to benefit from ‘new apartheid.’ “Steek My Weg” is about the pain the so-called ‘coloured’ community in Barrydale has to experience daily. They are not allowed to speak about the pain, and those who dare to speak out are marginalised within these rural communities. This is because rural economies in the Western Cape and Northern Cape are still primarily controlled by white people. Anyone who dares to speak out will starve. However, since they knew they could not starve a visitor like me, they tried to silence me. First by calling me a “restless coloured” and then rendering my film as “white guilt.” The reality is they are the ones who live with a guilty conscience, and their conscience is loud. They are aware of the injustices of the past, and the existence of the black other in South Africa does not make it easier for them. The image of the black other reminds them daily that they are benefitting from a crime against humanity. This drives them to insanity. This is why the people of “Steek My Weg” must stay hidden away. They must not be seen or heard off.

So here are views on guilt. Guilt does not help South Africa or me much. Guilt has not helped anyone yet. Any black person who accepted something in return for white people’s guilt has exchanged their healing for temporary gain. For me, the real question is: Can black and white people in South Africa build a relationship since there never existed one in this country? I would not call genocide and subjugation a relationship. I will also not call the Interim 1993 Constitution, the 1996 Constitution, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) attempts to build a relationship between black and white people. Black people realised the ‘postapartheid’ state-driven instruments were to silence them and continue their domination and psychic annihilation. This leads me to my final question: Is it possible for black and white people in South Africa to live as equals, and what would the conditions be for such a relationship?

If you are interested in watching the film, please click on the link below.

My Escape From Poverty – Part 8

After being an absent father for most of his life, my biological father decided to send me a friend request on Facebook. The irony of a friend request was not lost to me. Interestingly, it was around the same time FW de Klerk’s passing was announced.

I only saw this dude twice in my whole life, and both times were at Family Court. He never supported us. Not financially, not emotionally, nothing. He was absent, and he was not a father to my brother and me. So my grandfather had to step in and be the father he was supposed to be.

Growing up as a kid, one of my worst experiences was when someone asked, “Waar is jou pa? (Where is your father?). Or “Wie is jou pa?” (Who is your father). Those were difficult questions to answer because I knew his name, but I did not know him. We also knew where he was staying, and he knew where we were staying, but he did not care to visit. He was not interested in how we were doing.

I have to admit, when I was still in primary school, I wanted his parental care, especially when things were terrible. For example, when there was no clothes to wear or no food to eat. Although I am aware that apartheid engineered poverty for non-whites in South Africa, I hold him equally responsible for the poverty, abuse and depression we experienced as children. He, like my mother, is equally responsible for my brother’s drug addiction.

After years of trying to get him and my mother to support us, my grandparents decided to become our legal guardians. This meant that they had to suspend their parental rights. He only came because he was subpoenaed. I remember that both times at the court, he did not look at my brother and me.  He made his choice clear – we did not exist. He engraved his choice on my mind, and I accepted it.

Since then, he has been dead to me. Thus, I do not know why he resurrected his ghost on the same day FW de Klerk passed away. Nobody asked for him. To me, he is dead – he does not exist. So I denied his friend request and blocked him on Facebook – I have sent him back to the grave he came from.

Let’s Talk About Currency

Tawedes (Greetings)

When we think about currency, we usually think about money. We think of it in Rand and cents. But what if there is more to currency than just money. What if there are many currencies that we are wasting because we haven’t learned to appreciate them, especially since they appear to have no material value. And that is what currency is; it is an exchange of value. Sometimes this value exchange is expected and not earned.

This brings me to some of the currencies I value the most. For me, time and trust are two of the most important currencies people are squandering. Interestingly enough, these are also the two currencies some people demand without reciprocation. They want them, but they are not willing to give a fair exchange. If we take time, for example, some people only make time when they need something of you. Only then you will see the “Hey, how are you?” As if they were really interested in how you were doing. They only need something hence the DM. Other times you are invisible on their plane of existence.

The other currency often taken for granted is trust. Some people want you to trust them from the get-go. They believe trust is easily given. But I believe they are wrong. Trust is earned through consistency. And by consistency, I mean building a relationship in which honesty and openness are the cornerstones of the relationship. Without honesty and openly talking about issues, there cannot be trust. I have come to learn that the people who tell you, “you can trust me”, are the ones you must trust the least. So I usually asked myself why was there a need to say, “You can trust me.” To me, that is a red flag, and I am waiting for the deception to happen.

Time and trust are currencies that I am only willing to give in a fair exchange.  For me, time is even more precious than money. The proverbial saying “time is money” is true. The money you can recuperate but the time you do not get back.  Since our time is limited on this planet, I cannot afford to waste my time. And since it takes such a long time to build trust, don’t squander it. Once you lose someone’s trust, it is not easy to regain it. Needless to say, time is what we need to fix a broken relationship, but time is limited.  

Hence, the amount of quality time I am receiving is the amount of quality time I am willing to give. Moreover, my trust, and I hope your trust too, is only earned by consistently building a relationship that is founded on honesty and openness.

So, if you have any currencies that are important to you would please share them with me.

A da !hoa (Let’s talk).

Gangans (Thank you).

My Escape from Poverty – Part 7

Sheep Farming Bitterfontein

During my escape from poverty, I did all sorts of work. Nothing was beneath me. I worked on a farm while still in high school. Many days I accompanied my grandfather on his tasks and daily routine. It was hard and physical labour, and it made me strong and tough (taai). It also taught me to care for the environment and treat animals with respect. I never asked him if he wanted to be more in life, and I never got the sense I had to ask him that question because he was happy and enjoyed what he was doing.

At boarding school, I learned to clean after myself. Back in those days, we had the bucket system, and it was our task to empty and clean the slop buckets. Of course, the work was gross and degrading, but we had to do it because we used the toilets.

After moving away from the farm and to the town, I started working as a shop assistant. As a shop assistant, I had to do whatever anyone wanted me to do, from cleaning the shelves to packing the shelves. In addition, I had to load and unload trucks. The work was hard and physical, but it was rewarding. This is where I earned my first cheque. The lesson from this work was customer service. Respect those who spend their hard-earned money at your store, and make sure you care for everyone who enters the store.

At home, my grandmother taught me how to do the laundry, make up my bed, wash the dishes and clean around the house. In our household, we had a seasonal spring cleaning session. This also meant that every couple of months, we had to wash the bedding. It was always fun to do the bedding in the summer, but not so much in the autumn. You see, the bedding was put in the biggest basin (skottel). That basin was then filled with water, soap was added and then the blankets. As kids, it was our jobs to “trap die komberse”, which meant we had to get into the basin and stomped the blankets with our feet. In the autumn, the water was freezing, but we had to do it before the winter started.

Thus, I grew up working and have been working since then. I enjoy working. Working gives me purpose. It makes me feel like I am alive. Since I joined the university and started my own business, I have started working harder. Sometimes people will tell me I work too much and that I must rest. I usually find this amusing because I do rest. I sleep enough hours a day. So much so that I am a morning person. I believe a morning person is just someone who sleeps well and is fully rested the following day.

I believe that there are a few innate differences between humans and other animals. The one innate commonality we have with other animals, and other living creators is work. If you look at birds, ants and bees, you will notice that they are working for a good part of the year. They have to because that is what forms them and keeps them alive. Without work and enjoying that work that you are doing, life becomes pointless. So keep working.

Whose Paradise is this?

I have been thinking about what paradise would be for a gazelle and a lion. For a lion, paradise perhaps would be full of gazelles that they could hunt and eat. For a gazelle, perhaps it would be without lions and plenty of grass to eat.

Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we are the gazelles and in some predator’s paradise. For example, patriarchy created a paradise for men in which they are thriving. The patriarchal system ensures that the bodies, psyche and labour of women are exploited to benefit men. Some men make an effort to speak out against this exploitation, but the system still favours and benefit them.

Another example is apartheid South Africa until 11 February 1990. Apartheid in South Africa was a system that created a paradise for white people. They were feeding off the labour and suffering of Black people. Black people were moved out of their homes and into ghettos to create a white’s only paradise. The apartheid system also ensured that their children and international visitors did not see the poverty and suffering they created.

And this brings me to the question: Does paradise exist? I believe one’s sense of paradise is subjective. In most cases, one’s paradise is based on one’s likes and dislikes. We have become a society where everything is supposed to go our way. If it does not, we find ways to make it go our way, even if that means harming humans and the natural environment.

So what is the paradise that some religions promise, and for how long would it be possible to maintain a sense of paradise before one become bored and hope one die. Once one experiences pain, eternal joy is just as painful as eternal pain.

So is it a paradise without predators and emotion? I don’t know. You tell me.

Undeserved Privilege

“Sir, you have a nice ass.” This “compliment” came from a group of Women after asking me to take a group photo of them. Over the years, I have received many of these “compliments” but never wrote or speak about them. However, since it is Women’s month in South Africa, I see it as an opportunity to speak about the supposedly double standard that some of my male counterparts are complaining of after the #Metoo movement.

The #Metoo movement highlighted the continued sexual abuse and exploitation of Women in the entertainment industry. If it weren’t for the #muterkelly and #Metoo movements, predators like Robert Kelly and Harvey Weinstein would have gotten away with the sexual abuse and exploitation of Women in the entertainment industry. I am firmly behind and support these movements.

Since the start of these movements, my male counterparts have pointed out supposedly double standards in the workplace and society. They argue that what is applicable for one gender isn’t applicable for the other in the #Metoo movement. For example, Women in the workplace could make sexual advances and even touch men inappropriately. These types of advances are seen as harmless and innocent. However, if men dare to touch or even make any of these advances, they would have been labelled sexual harassment.

This supposedly double standard is also evident from the dress code at work. It is acceptable for Women to wear shorts and short dresses that reveal their legs and cleavages. However, men are accused of being inappropriately dressed when their clothes are tight-fitting and reveal their legs. When men object to these issues, they are mostly laughed at and not taken seriously. But, what men do not ask is whether Women feel comfortable dressing like that? Organisations operating in a heterosexual male-dominated environment stand to benefit from Women dressing in short clothes. Women are pressured into dressing the way they do.

Listening to men complaining about a double standard made me question where it came from. Why are sexual advances sometimes accepted and other times not? I am guilty of making sexual advances towards Women, and my advances must have left them uncomfortable. Thinking about them, I am cringing, and I am ashamed of myself. It is even uncomfortable for me thinking about it in hindsight. How more uncomfortable would Women have felt? What was I thinking? Knowing what I know now, I apologise to all the offended Women. But I know an apology will never repair the damage and mistrust my advances caused.

For a while, I supported this argument and believed this double standard existed. However, my friends (who are Women) helped me change my mind and my worldview. Their feedback helped me see the continued hurt and pain that we, men, cause Women with our unwanted flirts and sexual advances. Hence, I stopped. Nowadays, I don’t participate in conversations that potentially can lead to flirtation. I just don’t do it.

The truth is the rules of the game have changed, and men are not in control of the game anymore. This is hard for us men to recognise and accept that we are not in control anymore. So this supposedly double standard men are complaining about was something Women had to deal with for years, and they were silenced. They couldn’t talk about it, and if they did, they were marginalised and face the risk of losing their jobs.

More importantly, even though the game’s rules have changed, Women are still not in power. They are still facing unwanted sexual advances and exploitation daily. Their labour is not credited and recognised by men. Therefore, even though the #Metoo movement made significant strides for Women, I am still a privileged male figure. My underserved privilege will take many opportunities from Women, and I do not feel good about this reality. The system is broken and tipped in favour of one gender. We need to change the system.

So here is my take on the supposedly double standard. Women are still marginalised in society. The limited power that came with the #Metoo movement showed men their undeserved privileged position in society. We, men, got away with this for years. Thus, this cannot be a double standard if men control the system in which the supposedly standard was birth. And if you disagree with me, remember Donald Trump was able to get away with telling his buddy to “grab them the p***y”. After that, he was still elected as the president of the United States of America, and as president, he continued his disrespect of Women. He made sure he attacked every single Woman who opposed him.  

Therefore, this supposedly double standard men are complaining about is just a mirror Women are holding up so we (men) can see our reflection. And it is this reflection we don’t like. Sometimes an honest look in the mirror helps us recognise our flaws and do something about them. But doing something about them are the hardest things to do.

This blog post is a tribute to Jesse Hesse, Uyinene Mrwetyana, Nosicelo Mtebeni and the countless other Women whom men kill daily. This is also a tribute to all the countless Women who are overlooked, undermined in society, and exploited and marginalised at work. Nothing I wrote here will do justice to the violence Women face daily. This blog post does not make me less privileged or intend to erase any of my mistakes. I promise to do better.