October192014

Blackface

Among all the adventures I have had this year, one of them made my dream come true: To be a real journalist. I applied to Stellenbosch University’s newspaper, Die Matie, about two weeks ago and I was accepted (albeit on trial only). I recently wrote my first article to be published in Die Matie next week about a Blackface protest that took place last week. Last night I realized that I wrote something that truly matters…

So I think I should go back a few steps. I will start by defining blackfacing: It is a form of racism that involves a person (non-black) painting his/her face black, often meant as a mere joke. If one considers the South African context though, it is understandable that blackfacing would - more often not - not be viewed as a joke.

The following incident took place in Stellenbosch: There was a party with the theme “twins”. Two white guys decided to dress up as Serena and Venus Williams. A friend posted a photo of them on Twitter and that is how the uproar started…

When the culprits realized how upset some people was about their behaviour, they posted an apology on Facebook - which was not entirely accepted, however. Sisonke Msimang from Daily Maverick responded as follows:

I would like to think that they are just naïve, but experience tells me accepting their ‘apology’ at face value would be silly. [They] are the product of families, schools, religious institutions and a campus culture in which negative ideas about what it means to be black have primacy.

The full article, “Oops, I’m a racist! When perpetrators become victims”, was pasted on a board along with the words “Who owns this space?” last week - the visual protest. The protest’s initiator, Kylie Thomas, explained that it was only meant as a forum to raise awareness about racism at Stellenbosch University and in South Africa. That goal was certainly reached!

Many people urged me to choose a side in this cold war going on at Stellenbosch University (and throughout South Africa, actually). As a journalist, I may not do that - articles are supposed to be neutral. As a person, I may choose any side I want, but I prefer not to take a side. Why? Because my dream for South Africa is racial harmony.

So, what I realized is that I wrote something that will influence thousands of people (More than 30 000 students = at least 1 000 of them read Die Matie? Not to mention the hundreds of lecturers). And this is just the beginning. Scary? Yes. Exciting? Yes!

June102014

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I would like to write something about my life after I have abandoned my blog for such a long time… The reason for this is university - which is crazy busy, but I am loving Stellenbosch! 

First of all, I live in the best hostel, Huis ten Bosch. It is an all-girl residence, where it actually feels like we are all sisters. I may not know much of the girls well, but those which I do know means a great deal to me: Clarina, who is my Shofar (church) small group’s leader; Marie, who is also in my small group; Carla, my friend from school; her roommate Ronja; my roommate Gretha. I also write for Huis ten Bosch’s magazine, which I enjoy.

Then there is Albert, of course. He lives kind of close of me. We gym together and then I eat and relax with him at his flat almost every night of the week. We also go out from time to time (mostly to Cubana, a chilled Cuban social cafe). Then we also spend every weekend together, visiting either his family or mine. We are currently at his house for a week, since both of us have holiday. And we celebrated 6 months of being together on Sunday!

Anyway, back to Stellenbosch. So the actual point of me being there is to study for my Humanities degree. I am so happy about the subjects I chose, because I honestly find all of them interesting: Psychology, Philosophy, English Studies, German (advanced), French (beginners) and Information Skills. Philosophy, though, is my favourite. Socrates,Plato, Aristotle, Agustine…So amazing! I just want to share one of the most important lessons philosophy taught me:

"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing." - Socrates

Which explains another reason for my blog’s name. Owls are stereotypically considered to be wise, and, well, I want to be like an owl: wise. So I am on a journey to find wisdom. Knowing that I know nothing is the best way to embark on this journey…

Well, that is it for now. I will try my best to share frequently!

January142014

Me back!

It is my last week of holidays right now, which is sad, but still exciting! In 9 days I am embarking on my new adventure: Studying at Stellenbosch University! I will be studying BA Humanities. My subjects will be languages and then psychology-like subjects. I get to study something that truly interests me and I am done with school, finally. Yes, it is scary, but mostly exciting!

In case it is not apparent from my lack of posts, my holiday was super busy. I did enjoy it a lot still, though. If you want to know what I did, read on…

So it started with a few days in Hartenbos (a small seaside town 4 hours’ drive from Strand) with my best friends. Anelmi, Japke, Jean-Mari, Nicolise, Gretchen and I stayed in Anelmi’s family’s flat, which is near the beach. We walked around, swam in the ocean, played mini-golf and went shopping during the day and most of the evenings we went to Daai Plek (translation: “That Place”), a bar nearby, for drinks. We also met a few people from Gretchen’s old school.

Next, I visited Albert, my amazing boyfriend, in Swellendam, his hometown. Swellendam is a very small town in the countryside, so you would think there is not much to do, but we always had something to do: He showed me around town, we visited his friends, we went hiking, we relaxed and swam at the dam, we spent time with his family, we visited the fairy sanctuary (yes, he truly loves me!), walked around, etc.

After that, I did an outreach at Uilenkraalmond for three weeks. We were a team of 19 students between the ages of 16 and 25 who entertain the children and teenagers, while serving them with God’s word. Our daily program looks like this: Puppet show for the young children, afternoon activity(games, a movie, things like that), volleyball for the teens, evening activity(i.e. worship evenings, talent show) and then drink coffee and chat with the teens. Then we get to sleep after a loooong, rewarding day. The outreach is a very special experience, as we get to spend time in the Lord’s presence constantly and grow as more as a team, but a family, who support each other.

Albert visited me at Uilenkraalmond on our off days as well as new year’s, when we went for a walk on the beach and watched the fireworks. A very calm new year’s, but definitely more special than drinking until you’re drunk and not remembering anything about the night when you wake up in the morning?

After Uilenkraalmond, I went to Malgas, a quiet holiday resort next to the Breede River, with Albert to spend time with his family. Those few days were so soothing after three weeks of following a full program every day (excluding Christmas, when we got a break to go home to spend Christmas with our families). 

Then I helped Albert move into his apartment in Stellenbosch, where he will be working this year for an English civil engineering company. Fancy, right? Well, that was last week. We also worked out at Van Der Stel Gym(who gave us a free trial), celebrated our first month together (on the 8th January), spent time with my friends, went to the beach, watched movies and more.

Soooo that was my holiday! And now I will share some of my favourite photos with you:

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November292013
“Whether she was sleeping or awake, the world was a deceptive game: Flowing scenes, fluttering echoes, reflecting light. And everything tricked her like salt through numb fingers.” Donna Tartt (The Little Friend)
November152013
“You have to keep breaking your heart until it’s open!” Chantel
November82013
“Sometimes I wish I was famous just so I could dress freaky and claim it to be fashion.” Jo-Gene
11AM
Okay. So I know some of you might disagree with me here. But I, as a hopeless romantic, truly believe this. Just think about it … Sometimes, one’s heart could be right. Give your heart a chance - do not harden it.

Okay. So I know some of you might disagree with me here. But I, as a hopeless romantic, truly believe this. Just think about it … Sometimes, one’s heart could be right. Give your heart a chance - do not harden it.

November12013
“In our lives, enemies does not have to be soldiers with weapons. It can be anything that deters you from what you should do.” Mrs Mentoor
October232013
let it go…

let it go…

10AM
“It’s all right to be afraid. You just should not be reckless.” My dad
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