Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Lunch Menu

Amagwinya (deep fried dough) and chicken hearts in gravy

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Umbhaco for umama wam

The marvels of technology mean that my family in Canada can almost immediately put a face to the name of my favourite cleaning lady and isiXhosa teacher, Maradi, from the WSU office in South Africa.  And it also means that I can show a woman, who may never have sat in front of a computer, photos of my family and even her own photo on a blog!

The reaction of Maradi to seeing herself on my laptop and blog was priceless.  As I fumbled for words in isiXhosa to explain that “I write stories to my family over the ocean about my works in South Africa and put it on the computer”, she immediately was so proud and excited that my Canadian family knew who she was. 

So she then asked me to bring my camera to the office and she would bring her umbhaco or traditional dress to work and we would have a photo shoot so that umama wam (my mother) could meet Maradi and give her reactions to her beautiful and intricate outfit. 

I was sitting in my office with the door closed when all of a sudden I heard singing in the distance.  Maradi came singing, dancing, and stomping down the hallway with 3 of the other cleaning ladies as her entourage and they made quite the noise and spectacle.  The artfully layered skirt also has bells attached so when you move, it makes a loud tinkling sound.  The painting on the face is made with calamine lotion - who knew?  You see women wearing these dresses at traditional events; for example, Maradi recently wore this when her son came back from the bush for the very important  circumcision ceremony.

I took the many photos and then Maradi proudly showed off her umbhaco to the office where everyone declared, “awusemhle?” or “aren’t you beautiful?”

So, now, Maradi is waiting for my mom, about 17,000 kilometres away in Winnipeg, to comment on her dress and know that she is taking good care of her daughter!

Lumka's photos from the Zahara Concert

The concert was being professionally filmed and photographed to produce a "Live in Concert" DVD so they were confiscating any recording devices.  Somehow Lumka sneakily took all of these photos.  Because we were in the front row, I think there are some more amazing photos of us floating around somewhere in the world!

DJ Pastor (and the MC who noticed my blonde head)

DJ Sbu

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Big City

I just returned from my first trip to Pretoria to present proposal ideas to the Canadian Embassy for funding through their Local Initiatives Fund. I was excited to travel to the big city and get some quality bonding time with Sis Ghana, but needless to say, I was more than a little nervous to be speaking in front of the Embassy representatives as well as Jos, Sis Ghana, and Clemens. But what an opportunity to practice presenting two proposal ideas regarding gender and technology in the rural classroom and leadership and advocacy for young rural women. 

This was also a chance to see a bit of Pretoria and our driver was kind enough to drive past the Union Buildings which were beautiful and historic. In the distance, we were also able to see the Voortrekker Monument. Sitting in the Hatfield district of Pretoria was a reminder of sitting in any Canadian city in the summer with the cafes, restaurants, and hipsters and business people walking by.
Voortrekker Monument
Union Buildings, Pretoria

Nelson Mandela statue in Nelson Mandela Square
(and some random guy's head)
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After the business portion of our trip, Sis Ghana and I took advantage of our extra time to take the Gautrain to Sandton City mall and Nelson Mandela Square.  You realize how that Joburg is another big city and I’m still frightened by the criminal reputation that precedes it.  I was quite happy to get my feet solidly back in the Eastern Cape!

Impromptu Beach Photoshoot

One of the warmest and sunniest spring days we’ve had yet called for a trip to the beach with Lumka and Karin and an impromptu photoshoot on the boardwalk (with these other women we’d never met who had the same idea)!