There is HOPE! Incitement South Africa…

VANESSA SMEETS

Incitement_logo

ARE YOU IN? Incitement SA will launch March 9. Are you ready? Courtesy: Incitement Fan-page

Once riddled with negative connotations, the word “incite” now means to provoke and spur on in a positive way. Incitement South Africa was founded February 9 this year, by Tamara and Francisca Al-Halaseh. It comes at a time in South Africa when our mind-set is rife with negativity, speculations and heartache. Originally founded in Malaysia in 2011 by Daniel de Gruijter and Zikry Kholil, as a way for employees to talk about their ideas, the movement has now become a global instrument of positive change. From Malaysia, it spread to the USA, Canada, UAE and Jordan and has now reached South Africa.

Incitement is a global movement of local communities. The site reads:
“It is born out the idea that people have something worth saying. We encourage everyone… who has something to share to get up and get it out there.”

What is it?

Incitement South Africa encourages individuals to create positive thinking, by networking with people from various backgrounds. This will be done by sharing life-affirming values and stories that have inspired and motivated them. The Incitement South Africa Facebook fan-page publishes affirmations of self-growth and self-belief on a daily basis. No judgement. No prejudice.

Incitement_cover

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED: Are you ready to change or be the change? Pic from the FB fan-page.

How will they do it?

By hosting informal and easy-going events, starting with Gauteng and moving nationally.

Incitement_Tzu

POSITIVITY: What makes a good life? Find out with Incitement. PIC: internet

When is the first event?

The event planned for 30th of March in Pretoria (at Blue Valley Mall) will gather everyone from entrepreneurs, personal growth enthusiasts, thinkers to marketers and students. They will enjoy a series of powerful presentations and participate in unique team-building exercises. These will be designed to help them grow on a personal and professional level. Think of it as a melting pot of incredible and original ideas that stir up weary souls and awaken tired minds. Watch out for the venue on the Facebook page.
Reply to the event: Incitement SA Launch.

The presentations given will be documented with guests’ permission on video and posted to their YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter channels, in hope of making positive affirmations a reality. It will help employers deal with down-trodden staff, parents with unruly children and students with depression.

Co-founder Francisca Al-Halaseh says:

“It is a platform for people to speak up and share their outrageous visions for the future, life changing experiences from the past and ideas for the present.”

But, it’s not all ‘serious talk.’ It’s also a place to have fun in front of a crowd and spread positive vibes.

For more information, visit:
http://theincitement.com/

If you would like to sponsor or get involved with the March 9 event, check out the South African Facebook fan-page:

https://www.facebook.com/IncitementSouthAfrica

Fallen Heroes: Sport as Religion

VANESSA SMEETS

Oscar Pistorius

SA ON HIS BACK: Oscar Pistorius was for the last decade South Africa’s most inspirational sportsman. Today, he awaits his fate in prison. Mark, a disabled fan, gives his thoughts… PIC: Internet

Mark (22) was born with a rare muscular condition that causes his muscles to deteriorate over time. Today, he has no real control over his arms and legs. However, he is still able to use his mouth to write and speak:

“They said I’d be dead by age 20, but I’m still here. I know what it’s like to be bullied for being different. Even after everything, the person who got me this far is Oscar Pistorius. Bullies used to call him ‘lucky packet’ at Pretoria Boys’ High School, because they claimed he got his legs in a lucky packet. It was hard… On Twitter, he spoke of Spud being his favourite book. Being a boarder was never easy.”

Oscar as a child

SMILING HOPE: Oscar’s legs were amputated under the knee, at 11 months old. He was born without his fibula. PIC: Internet

Mark has Oscar’s pictures all over his bedroom walls. These are not photographs. He painted them using his mouth:

“Oscar taught me so much about living with disability. I push on. I strive to make the most out of life.”

When news hit that Oscar had been accused of murder, Mark refused to believe it:
“The media feed us so much… It’s hard to distinguish fact from fiction. If innocent, he’ll live with the guilt of killing his beloved for the rest of his life. That, itself, is prison. If it was purposeful, he would be disappointing millions of fans. The guy is a strong Christian, as proven by his Bible quotes and the Corinthians tattoo on his back.”

Oscar tattoo

RELIGIOUS: Oscar has never been afraid to speak openly about his faith. A large back tattoo quotes the book of Corinthians. PIC: Internet

The tattoo reads, from 1 Corinthians 9 v 26-27:

“26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

One thing is for certain: this whole saga has demasked the hypocrites from the faithful. Those once loyal to Oscar are breaking down, not sure what to believe any more. Jokes are being passed on as a way to deal with the shock. South Africa, much like the rest of the world, has created sport into a type of religion. Sport stars are on the cover of magazines, billboards, TV adverts and have thousands of fans on Facebook. Their autobiographies line up bookshops’ window-sills. Little children wait for them to visit their schools.

Mark explains this phenomenon quite well:

“For many South Africans, we escape in our sport. Some see it as a refuge, others as a place of worship. Much like a church, mosque or synagogue. However, our fatal flaw is not realising we are fatally flawed. We idolise these guys too much. I’m guilty of that. Just look at my room.”

Mark continues after drinking two glasses of water: “I’ve heard from close friends, Oscar used to get angry when younger guys at school looked at his legs, even if they weren’t doing it on purpose. I get stared at every day. It gets to you. All you want, is to be seen as human.”
Those words haunt me: “He wanted to be seen as human.”
Mark has tears in his eyes: “I’ve heard the craziest things lately, people calling him a cyborg with a gun attached to his hands. These are the same people who yesterday saw this sport’s star as their invincible hero.”

The same can be said for all our other ‘decrowned sporting gods:’
Hansie Cronjé was worshipped as the best cricket captain we had ever seen. He was convicted of match fixing a few years later. Joost van der Westhuizen was our blue-eyed golden boy on the rugby field. His sex and drugs video became a horrible thing to digest. Herschelle Gibbs was our incredible cricket batsman. He was soon labelled a wife-beater with a short temper. The list goes on.

Oscar Pistorius once said: “I have a strong sense that I have to educate people about disability.” The truth is, he is educating us now more than ever about our disability to think for ourselves. “He is a cold-hearted killer” one day and “He’s a sufferer of unfortunate circumstances” the next.

Mark hands me a colourful painting of Oscar at the London Olympics: “Maybe this whole saga has taught me one thing… Even the strongest people live in fear. Fear of losing a race. Fear of death-threats. Fear of being robbed. Fear of losing the one you love.”

Marks hands over the smallest sketch now. It’s a picture of Oscar holding one of his first trophies:
“No matter how much money you have, it does not buy you peace of mind. I just hope we see our own disabilities throughout this gruesome chapter. We all judge. We all speculate. We all, in that way, fall from grace. A trophy for some is a burden of pressure for others.”

Slide-show of the Oscar Pistorius case:

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/oscar-pistorius-shooting-live-murder-1708978

South Africa: War Rising

VANESSA SMEETS

As much as I try to focus on the good news of South Africa, we are currently a country at war, just a week after the History Channel did a special on us called Miracle Rising. It was a show that highlighted how South Africa miraculously defeated the odds. But the truth is, today we are at war with our fight against crime, women abuse and the media that seem to overspeculate and sensationalise. As indicated by today’s front-pages, spattered in innocent blood…

How ironic that our State of the Nation address coincided with several other incidents: Valentine’s Day, the shooting of model Reeva Steenkamp (now infamously remembered as the shot girlfriend of Oscar Pistorius) and the day that was meant to be dedicated to Anene Booysen, mutilated, raped and killed at only 17. A day of love turned into a day of hatred.

The media have been sharing private tweets between Oscar, Reeva and his family. Is this an invasion or privacy or public knowledge? Have social media destroyed privacy of self?

As for protection of privacy, did Zuma address enough the main issue of our country: our children who are at risk on a daily basis of being abused by a family member, a family friend or for use by strangers as muti (dismembering body parts for medicinal purposes)? No, he didn’t. Love for our country’s future, our children, did not feature enough this Valentine’s Day…

The child molester’s usual excuse: “I was molested myself.” Stop the curse then. Stop stealing from the one soul that can save you: the purity of a child.

Did Zuma address our horrifying rape stats with more vigour? No, it’s a touchy subject for him, as most of us will recall… A woman is estimated to be raped every few seconds or minutes in South Africa (depending on reported or unreported cases) and baby rape is a shameful reality, a social myth built up by the idea that “having sex with virgins will cure you of HIV/AIDS.”

Anene Booysen

GONE TOO SOON: Raped, mutilated and killed by her injuries. South Africa dedicated a day to her, but it was overshadowed by violence’s newest victim, Reeva Steenkamp.

RIP Anene Booysen, you would have been celebrating your Matric Dance soon. Instead, you dance amongst angels. A few people wore duct-tape for an hour yesterday in memory of you, trying to speak for the voiceless. These men that ripped your intestines out and broke your bones may have stolen your dignity, but not your vision. Your hope, but not your legacy. Your innocence, but not your pledge.

There is only one way to envision a new South Africa, by seeing and hearing with the eyes and ears of our children. That is where true courage lies. Anene, you are the face that launched a thousand voices. Your death strangely coincides with Belgium’s decision to perhaps release their most infamous paedophile, Marc Dutroux. He mutilated, raped and videotaped six girls we know of. Two were buried alive. Two were still alive when police asked questions… Melissa and Julie were placed on milk cartons, posters and still we found them too late. Next week, he may be walking free. That’s the logic of today: “Create space in jails and chaos in society.” I guess one is safer in a hole after all…

Golden couple: Steenkamp and Pistorius

LOST LOVE: South Africa’s golden couple, Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius, ripped apart by murder and now by media speculations that it was not an accident. PIC: Internet

RIP Reeva Steenkamp, you were on your road to even bigger stardom. Tomorrow marks the day your reality show will normally go to air. Tropika’s director, Samantha Moon, is determined to show South Africa what a “bubbly, lovely, beautiful person” you were.

There is a terrible notion built into the minds of many South African men: submissive women feed your manhood. If she does not listen, beat her. If she carries on saying no, rape her. Reeva, accident or not, your death shows the paranoia even our seemingly strongest men go through.

Anene and Reeva, South Africa apologizes for not giving you enough attention. Those who did this to you got more media attention. Woman of the future, woman of the present and now women of the past, may your legacies live on, not as victims of violence, but as ambassadors of peace and change. That would be the true miracle rising for South Africa…

Valentine’s Day Ideas

VANESSA SMEETS

Ever the romantic, I decided to rack my brain for original ideas. These can be applied to both men and women.

“All you need is love, love is all you need…”
– The Beatles

  • Not a poet? Create a poem with your lover’s favourite song lyrics. The Beatles and Queen have incredible lines…
  • Love_flowerPlace petals on the bed, spelling the letters of their name. Too long a name? A letter for each petal.
  • Lingerie too expensive these days? Wrap yourself in a large bow. He must unwrap only using his tongue and teeth.
  • Prepare the room like a beach getaway. Pour champagne upon your darling… Cool water and bubbles, just like the ocean.
  • After showering together, tell him/her to meet you in the room. Come back only with whipped cream on the important bits… Shower again. Hehe…LOVE_naughty
  • Prepare breakfast in bed, but unique in that under each item he/she finds a word. They spell out whatever he/she means to you.
  • Buy a rose for his/her mom… She raised him/her after all.
  • Try making a card instead of buying a soppy one. “I took time for you…” says so much more.
  • Love_quoteTake him/her on a picnic. Prepare a type of treasure map of the park you choose. Every tree or bush indicated on the map hides a word describing what he/she means to you.
  • Go to the movies early, ask the people in charge if you can insert something before… “John, I love you…” “Thank you for everything, Jane…” He’ll be so surprised when you start watching the movie.
  • Spell their name out with adjectives:

e.g. IAN…

Incredible
Athletic
Naughty

The trick to romance is pure originality and knowing what your lover likes.
Is he/she a racer? Prepare a trip around in a McClaren, or whatever his/her favourite car may be. Test drives are free or cheaper 😉
A boxer? Get him/her new gloves with the words “Love” and “You” on each hand.
A tour guide? Surprise him/her with a tour of your body. Blindfold him/her. And explore you, tongue only.
A doctor? Play his naughty nurse side-kick… “Doctor, I’m not quite sure how to turn you on… Mind showing me?”

There’s only as far as your imagination can take you…