A lifetime of injustice

The year is 2020, exactly 60 years after the Civil rights movement that claimed the lives of activist leaders like Malcom X, Martin Lurther King & Medgar Evers.

2020 marks the 21st year since Amadou Diallo was shot 41 times outside of his apartment in the Bronx. Amadou was an African immigrant who traveled to America in hopes to return home with a degree but instead returned in a coffin. Hundreds of New Yorkers protested against the murder of the 23-year-old Computer Science major. Eventually, the four police officers who shot Amadou Diallo 41 times were trialed and later found not guilty. The police officers claimed to be frightened because they saw Amadou retrieve an object from his pocket.

Let’s rewind to 1955, to the town of Mississippi, where a 15 year old boy named  Emmett Till was lynched for offending a woman in a grocery store, witnesses risked their lives and stepped forward to give an account of what really happened in the store in hopes to prove that the encounter did not justify the young boy’s murder, however his murderers were acquitted. The woman later confessed to fabricating details about her encounter with Emmett Till and his death is noted as a catalyst of the civil rights movement.

The world receives absurd explanations for the death of unarmed people of color who find themselves at the wrong place, at the wrong time. Death rarely happen by chance, especially when you have a gun pointed at you or have your life squeezed out of your body. Perpetrators often get a slap on the wrist and are given the opportunity to move forward with their lives – this act alone perpetuates that the victims of this mass injustice have caused their own death.

People of color are caught in a constant state of protest. A loop of grief, mourning, marching, social media posting, attack and a lifetime of injustice. A lifetime of brutality.  A lifetime of oppression. 10 lifetimes worth of bloodshed. From the beginning of history black lives have been claimed with minimal repercussions. Injustice is served on a silver platter, a spit on the face of the countless black bodies that were sacrificed to ensure this race lives on for another century.

We know the road to freedom has always been stalked by death.” – Angela Davis

I write this oceans away from the scene of the crime, writing as a South African “born free” still grasping the ramifications of apartheid and building a life that my ancestors would be proud of on the foundations that were left behind by Steve Biko and Chris Hani – activist martyrs that will never be forgotten because of their bravery and sacrifice. My form of protest is   a short essay in my phone’s note pad. My form of protest is trying to find a thread that connects the lives of  George Floyd, Amadou Diallo, Emmett Till, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Walter Scott and Michael Brown – trying to find meaning, praying for a resolution, justice and a revolutionary change. I am searching for meaning, and holding on to bits of optimism for the future of the African diaspora , most times my optimism stares blankly at me for hoping all will be well while we’re in hell.

There is no conclusion to this essay, there isn’t a deep meaningful realization that I come to. I will just leave you with the words that keep echoing  in my mind…   

“Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it.” – Frantz Fanon

A BANTU LOVE STORY

I fell in love with Butan around the same time I fell in love with Hip-hop, similar to my relationship with the music genre, the connection had to be horned and nurtured over a period of time. It’s a sweet love story that I think is worth sharing…

39948258-86D1-4CEF-8FB1-9793F2F06312 (1)The love story begins in the early 2000s, in the East Rand –  the hub of exceptionally creative talents in these parts of Southern Africa.  I would be lying if I claimed that I was raised in a musical family, neither of my parents sang or rapped BUT my mother was a vinyl collector, my father a confident giant* man who would break out in dance to the amusement of those around him, one of my sisters sang in the church choir and my brothers were hip-hop heads.

My mother’s vinyl player was damaged while we were in transit to the North West – the home of Mostwako – we spoke about getting the record player fixed from time-to-time but on most days I just listened to my mother reminisce about collecting and listening to vinyl in the peak of her youth, her appreciation and respect for the music that raised her were evident as she always explained that good music should be played on vinyl. The appreciation for the good music that raised me was integral in my appreciation for Hip-Hop. However, it was my brothers who helped refine my palette and simultaneously, introduced me to Butan.

My older brothers have always been Hip-Hop heads that have taught me to listen to a musical offering from the first to the last song at least twice before I decide that I like it or not. One of my brothers has a progressive Hip-Hop palette but in all honesty, will always be a boom rap fan while my other brother is a huge fan of gangster rap and will always prefer hard raps laced over a Dre beat, this combination of very similar yet distinct tastes in music would often result in debates over who’s the hottest emcee, the progression of the culture and authenticity. The highlight of my childhood is having a front-row seat to my brother’s analysis of Jada VS 50/ Jay Z VS Nas, while classic offerings like Common’s The light or OutKast’s Aquemini were played in a loop – it is during these Hip-Hop debates that I discovered Butan clothing on the pages of Hype magazines which my brothers collected religiously.  

In that period Hip-Hop was about storytelling, whether the story was about the government’s negligence of life during Hurricane Katrina or a female kingpin framing her partner in Common’s Testify, the story was compelling, authentic and believable.  The most revered Hip-Hop artists around the globe are storytellers, and that is a  work of art.  Butan clothing has carved its way into my heart by being a brand that is in sync with its audience and that prides itself in telling stories.  B-U-T-A-N is simply a re-arrangement of letters in the word B-A-N-T-U which is loosely translated to ”the people”. Similar to Hip-Hop, Butan has managed to tell a compelling, authentic and believable story with each clothing line. My love for the brand is a love I am glad to have discovered…

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FIRST-TIME VOTER JITTERS

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Uhuru Noun Swahili. Meaning: freedom, independence

 

It’s Saturday, the 26th of January 2019. A seemingly ordinary day, and I’ve set my alarm two hours earlier than it is usually set. I take 15 minutes longer than usual to get out of bed. I’m anxious. Today marks the first time I register to vote !
The first time a democratic election took place in South Africa, I was probably a vague idea in my father’s head and the other 4 times, I was simply too young to vote. My relatives mock me, I am uncertain if it’s because they simply do not believe in voting anymore or it’s because they don’t think their or rather my vote matters at all. I almost start feeling naive for believing. I almost start imagining my ballot paper being a drop in a rigged ocean.

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Excerpt from Nelson Mandela’s inauguration speech delivered on 10 May 1994, speaking on behalf of democratically elected ANC-led government.

I‘m usually an opinionated person, the type to debate and defend whatever it is I believe in to the point where I’m out of breath, but I can’t seem to find the words to defend my eagerness to go and register to vote. I can’t seem to find the words to defend my supposed “naivety” I mean I can’t blame them [my relatives ] for not trusting the system.

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Page 1 of former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s 355-page report titled “State of Capture

 

I wish someone could tell the politicians that ordinary folk can see through the propaganda. By propaganda I mean, certain political parties showing up in certain communities only during election season. By propaganda I mean certain political parties hosting frequent events to interact with the community only during election season.  Yup, we see you kissing babies and exposing each other’s skeletons.. That’s right we see the propaganda !

The are so many obvious antics reserved for election season, and my primary concern is that political awareness and political involvement among the youth is only encouraged during voting season.

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An excerpt from a newspaper article written about the youth uprising in ’76

 

I wish I learnt about the works of Thomas Sankara,  Kwame Nkrumah, Chris Hani just to name a few while I was still in high school.  I wish the class of 2013 read ‘Black man you are on your own’ or ‘I write what I like’ instead of Animal Farm. I wish the youth of South Africa was conscientized to the history of our country and extensively taught about democracy and politics long before they reached middle school.

In that way when the important task of voting comes  the youth will be politically literate enough to understand that we vote for political parties into parliament based on their ideology and not family recommendations and the youth will be politically literate enough to understand that we identify REAL revolutionaries through their actions.

I started understanding political systems in my first year of varsity after choosing a politics and public policy module. It is through this module that I started understanding the different ideologies which are ruling around the world  and it is through this module that I learnt that policies are usually passed using the winning parties’ Manifesto,  but just because a party said that they will deliver on certain promise during election season doesn’t mean they will keep their promise when they step into office or rather parliament.

This election season I have taken the conscious decision to familiarize myself with political parties’ different constitutions and manifestos. I mean the answer has to exist somewhere right ?! but it’s still a huge responsibility to vote in a democratic country because when you vote, you give power away to a certain party/faction and hope that they will do right by you and your neighbor.

If  you have access to the manifestos/constitutions of any other political parties than those mentioned above, please share them in the comment section.
ALUTA CONTINUA.

 

DreamCode BootCamp: A step towards women empowerment in SA.

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On the 4th of February 2019, Dream Girls Academy along side the UK South Africa Tech Hub launched the month-long DreamCode Boot Camp. The Boot Camp intends to empower 30 young women aged 18 – 35 years old by equipping them with digital, basic coding and personal branding skills.

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The upcoming fourth industrial revolution has resulted in companies across all industries and continents digitizing their businesses, which has resulted in digital skills being in high demand. Digital skills during this revolution make one instantly employable. However, the tech industry is still predominantly a “men’s world” with studies reporting that 80% of tech jobs are held by men. This is due to the discouragement women encounter from a young age and the lack of skills transfer.

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According to StatsSA the South African rate of unemployment among women was 29,5% in the second quarter of 2018 compared to 25,8 % with men. This may look like a slight difference but considering that statistically there are more women than men, the difference in the employment rates show that there are strides South Africa needs to take to ensure gender equality in the South African labour market.

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Employment empowers women because it provides women with control over their own lives, bodies and gives them a valuable voice in the household and economy. According to the United Nations  when more women work, economies grow. Hence, when women receive employment opportunities it is not only beneficial to the one gender but to society. Plus, women spend a larger percent of their income in the household and are more likely to give to charity organisations.

Programmes such as the DreamCode BootCamp are very important for our society not only because they may or may not lead to employment and boost our economy. Women empowerment programmes are important because they help the beneficiaries realize their potential and open up their world to new people and new experiences. Most importantly, programmes that organisations like Dream Girls Academy offer will hopefully inspire the beneficiaries to invest their time and energy in empowering their own communities.

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Self Love 101

If you were on social media at any point in 2018, I am certain that you scrolled past a self-love post at least once a week.

In efforts to find out what my peers really understand about self-love outside of social media quotes and threads. I rounded up a few of my friends and asked them to share their understanding of love with me.

As I had expected, my friends gave me a variety of responses. My friends defined love as being effortless and empowering, acceptance and forgiveness. To my surprise a few of my friends admitted that they do not know what love is [an honesty I admire. ]

I then asked the same group of friends if they loved themselves. Unlike the first question where every answer was different, the answer to this question was uniform, 70% of the group of friends I asked, confessed that they love themselves with restraint. I did, however, receive different reasons why they love themselves with restraint, the reasons are the inability to forgive and accept who they are, and/or uncertainty whether they are deserving of the love that they can boldly describe and give to others.

In my opinion, the answer to whether you love yourself comes from what you define as love. I define love as a commitment, and that means I commit myself to the people and things that I love. So, if I fail to commit to myself through my actions, thoughts and speech its a sign that my self-love tank is running on low.

It’s safe to say that you cannot ask others to give you what you cannot give to yourself, neither can you pour out of an empty cup. If you fully and completely love yourself you can effortlessly fill others, care for others and show kindness to others.

self-love also equals to self-awareness and self-awareness can only lead to a better version of yourself because, Self awareness = improved strengths and weaknesses. Self awareness, can also make it easier to accept yourself which can increase confidence. Most importantly, self-awareness + self-love = the important skill of self validation.

It takes 10 000 hours to perfect any skill, so how about you commit the next 417 days to practicing the skill of loving yourself in whatever way love means to you.

💕💕 In Conversation with Leanne Dlamini 💕💕

“Here’s to fearless women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”


On my journey to becoming a fearless woman, I met Leanne Dlamini and in the few months that I have known her I have learnt a lot from her.

Leanne is a singer/ song-writer, entrepreneur, wife, mother, mentor and all round phenomenal woman with a heart of gold ! She is one of the most beautiful women I have ever met and I’m not just talking about her physical appearance.

I am grateful for the opportunity to share her light on this platform..

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: I almost fell out of my seat the first time I heard you say, “a million likes will never be enough if you do not like yourself”, maybe it’s because we live in a society where we seek validation from social media likes instead of ourselves, what are your thoughts on self-validation ?

Leanne Dlamini: Self Validation to me is Self Love and Self Love is Freedom and Peace. When you no longer need people to validate you and your accomplishments you’ve reached a special place in your life. I think to be completely happy, we need to fully love ourselves. When I came to this realization my outlook on life changed.

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: I assume it takes a certain level of self-awareness to reach a point where self-validation comes naturally, when and how did you reach that level of self-awareness where you figured out who you are and what you want to stand for ?

Leanne Dlamini: Self-validation and Self- Awareness is a constant work in progress for everyone and I think it came for me when I figured out my passion which led me to my purpose. I founded End Girl Hate at the beginning of my self validation and self love journey. I was over the competition and comparisons us women put on ourselves and that’s where it began for me.

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: “Purpose over popularity” is the first thing that’s written on your instagram bio and I’ve heard you encouraging people to use the platforms that they have to UPLIFT rather than IMPRESS people, please explain those concepts to me..

Leanne Dlamini: Our purpose on this earth is not just for us, we’re here to help one another, to make a difference in the lives of others and when I came to that realization my life changed. I wanted to be effective and make a difference on this earth. Many of us are given incredible platforms and we can either use it in a negative or positive way and I decided to use my voice through social media to inspire others.

A million likes will never be enough if you do not like yourself. – Leanne Dlamini

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: Apart from being a singer/song-writer, entrepreneur, mommy and wife. You’re the founder of the ‘End Girl Hate’ movement which aims to empower, inspire and connect women and girls through sisterhood, what inspired you to start such a movement ?

Leanne Dlamini: I’m a mom to two girls, aged 9 and 4 and I wanted my children to see sisterhood as a real thing. I hated walking into a room and feeling like other women were judging and staring me down. I didn’t like the unspoken hate/competition women had towards one another and I wanted to impact women and girls in a positive way.

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: Do you feel we as women have a responsibility to our sisters, daughters, and ourselves to do better, be friendlier and more supportive of each other?

Leanne Dlamini: Absolutely! This is something we need to remind ourselves of daily. When I notice myself slipping up towards another woman I check myself quickly. If I did another woman wrong I will always be the first to apologize. It’s hard, but we need to do better!

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: I saw a recent picture of you at the Global Citizen Concert, where you were wearing a Slogan T which boldly states “feminist” the term is widely debated, what does it mean to you ?

Leanne Dlamini: A woman who stands for women! Fights for women! Supports women! And loves men too 🙂

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: In just a matter of two years ‘End Girl Hate’ has become international, what’s next for the movement and yourself ?

Leanne Dlamini: wow, I’m still trying to figure that out, but I just let God lead and see what happens. As long as we have a positive impact on people and we’re making a difference in the lives of others, that to me will be enough!

Connect with Leanne Dlamini and End Girl Hate..

Instagram: @IamLeanneD

@EndGirlhate

Facebook: @LeanneDlamini

Twitter: @IamLeanneMusic

Website: http://Endgirlhate.com/

Please share your thoughts on self-validation and the end girl hate movement on the comment section below. 🙂

🌸Celebrating The Care Free Black Women Of Accra. 🌸

The Care Free Black Girl movement is a way of expressing individuality by celebrating all things joyous among brown women, most importantly The Care Free Black Girl movement breaks down the harmful stereotypes that society projects unto black women and other women of color. It is a no-brainer to see why The Care Free Black Girl movement is one us brown girls need and I can not think of a better way to celebrate the beauty of Ghana than to chit-chat with 5 beautiful Ghanaian care free black girls about the use of social media, confidence in being African women and tackling unrealistic beauty standards.

Here’s how the conversation went..

Cynthia Akosua Osei

Interests: Drawing, swimming and working out

Social media handles: @_GirlLikeCece IG: queen.coco

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: Which social media platforms are you most active on?

Cynthia: Twitter and Instagram.

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: What do you enjoy the most about social media?

Cynthia: Twitter?? Bruh!! Soo many funny things on the app, constantly keeping me entertained. It’s also really insightful. IG appeals to me as a visual person, regardless of the type of images shared I can always find a way to appreciate it, and I love seeing all the beautiful girls! 😍😍😍

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: What was the last thing you posted on social media and how many likes did you get?

Cynthia: I shared pictures from a shoot I did with one of the swimwear designers from Ghana and it got a little over 1200 likes.

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: Have you ever felt pressured to conform to the unrealistic beauty standards set by social media?

Cynthia: No never, I believe we’re all not the same and people are not always frank and real about the image they project on social media. I’m pleased with what I have, I do not wish to add on to it or take anything away in order to fit into other people’s ideals. Whatever I don’t have is just that, what I don’t have.

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: What do you love most about being an African woman?

Cynthia: All that melanin! Being African in itself cannot be explained, but when I look at myself – my skin, lips, body? To die for! what’s not to love?

Denise Asare

occupation: Marketing Manager (Accra Mall)

Interests: Shopping, wine and more shopping

Social media handles: @ohemaa_dee IG:ohemaaxdee

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: Which social media platform are you most active on?

Denise: I am most active on Instagram.

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: Do you think social media is addictive?

Denise: Yes, totally addictive, once you find something you are interested in you can get locked in. You always want to find out what’s going on worldwide in your area of interest.

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: Do you think it’s important for social media users to draw a line between the virtual world and reality?

Denise: Yes, this is because it is so easy to confuse the two. The virtual world allows people to do what they want, be who they want and express themselves in ways they probably couldn’t in real life. When the pleasures or luxuries are not available in one’s reality then we have difficulties, misunderstandings and the social dysfunctions we witness on a daily basis. Although we must evolve with time but real communication is key it’s the only way we can identify what’s actually “real”. I believe if we lose this we will end up in this perpetual farce, which surely can’t be good for any of us.

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: Africa has over 120 million social media users, do you think this is a good or bad thing for the continent?

Denise: I think this is a good thing. Not all Africans get the chance to travel and explore the world, therefore exposure is very limited for the majority of Africans. Social media is becoming a great way for Africans to learn about things within and outside of the continent as well as helping to bridge the gap between Africa and the rest of the developed world.

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: Tell me about being a young woman living in Accra…

Denise: Accra is a city full of possibilities. A city that is very welcoming to young people of the diaspora – a people from different cultures. Living in Accra I have found that perseverance is key. You have got to keep pressing on throughout all the struggles and successes, don’t ever get complacent. Although it is a city full of possibilities these are not handed out on a plate to you. I would say it is a perfect place to be for any young woman who wants to be part of change and growth. It is a city of peace, hope, leisure and commerce.

Eugenia Baffour

occupation: Guidance Counsellor / Social Media Manager.

Interests: Astrophysics, astronomy, extraterrestrial life, human behavior, psychology.

Social media handles: @kim_baakop3 IG: kim_baako_p3

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: Which social media platform are you most active on?

Eugenia: I am most active on twitter.

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: What do you enjoy the most about social media?

Eugenia: The ability to be able to derive various benefits from it. I can discover an old friend, find opportunities, learn a new thing (because I have a curious personality), help someone in need and have the ability and ease of accessing news all over the world. That’s pretty awesome.

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: Which unrealistic beauty standards have you seen on social media?

Eugenia: The most unrealistic would have to be people believing they aren’t ” good enough ” because they see photos of other women who have most possibly undergone surgery or modifications as well as photo edit features, I witness ladies with unstable self-esteem issues comparing their skin and body shape to these women and start to develop inferiority complexes. It’s an absolute shame.

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: What is the one post on your social media account that has gotten the most likes/views, do you know why it was so popular?

Eugenia: The most likes would have to be my tweet which contained a video to depict a reaction from a man who just has sexual relations with a female and then proceeds to tell her he just wants to remain friends. It got about 24K retweets and 31K likes twitter.com/kim_baakop3/status/707963420277080066 , that’s the link . I guess it got so much traction because a lot of people all over the world related to it. Because a lot of men tend to lead women on and after they get intimate they start feigning neutrality towards these women.

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: Africa has over 120 million social media users, how have you kept your social media presence unique?

Eugenia: lol well It surprises me as well, but I manage to know and read my followers and also human behavior is easy to predict you know what people want to hear and see at any point of their day so it’s quiet easy to come up with material for banter and also necessary information to the public who want to listen to what I have to say I guess lol.

Ama Asantewa Diaka

Occupation: Writer.

Interests: Eating food cooked by other people, reading, watching dope series that momentarily helps me escape my brain.

Social media handles: @poetra_asantewa

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: What is your definition of beauty?

Ama:I don’t think that beauty is meant to have definition – trying to define beauty is trying to quantify it and beauty is an intangible thing that cannot be quantified.

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: What do you think is social media’s definition of beauty?

Ama: Different people have different definitions of what is and is not beautiful, and it wouldn’t be so bad if people didn’t laud their definitions of beauty as the standard for all kinds of beauty, but unfortunately a lot of people ascribe to certain characteristics that they associate with beauty, and anything that doesn’t match those characteristics is labeled as ugly. So essentially, social media, just like society’s definition of beauty is essentially bullshit.

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: What is the most beautiful thing about living in Accra?

Ama: I had to think hard to answer this question. The most beautiful thing about living in Accra has to be the sense of togetherness that exists in every community. If you overlook the nosy and noisy neighbors and the neighborhood gossips, it feels like a close knit family.

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: Describe being an African millennial in 5 words?

Ama: Resourceful, Curious, Relentless, Self-conscious, Opinionated.

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: What are your aspirations for the future of black women living in Accra, and elsewhere in Africa?

Ama: As a black woman living in Accra, my very first aspiration is to one day be in a community or place that doesn’t act like they are entitled to women’s bodies and choices, to live in a place that I confidently say is a safe space for any woman.

Pamm Takyiwaa

occupation: PR & Social Media Manager

Interests: Reading, (window) shopping, mothering cats and I eat.

Social media handles: @pamm-rocks IG: p_am_ela

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: Which stereotypes about black women do you think social media perpetuates?

Pamm: I think social media isn’t perpetuating as much as reinforcing stereotypes. Like that of a strong, long suffering, empathic to a fault, puts everyone above herself woman, which needs to die. Right along with stereotypes that perceive women as emotional beings straight to what a “good woman” needs to do to “keep her man” which usually revolves around cooking and cleaning subserviently.

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: How would you like to see black women being portrayed in the media?

Pamm: Strong without those back-breaking-highly caring-does no evil-holds down the world nonsense, allowed to express our emotions and preferences without labels, beautiful unconditionally, narratives that allow for each of our voices, and most importantly humans, with our own versions of true magic that does not require polishing or erasure to make it valid.

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: What are your aspirations for the future of women in Accra, and Africa itself?

Pamm: Truly happy and care free! Women in Africa regardless of gender, class, religion, without any barriers, conditions or explanations. We have earned the right to be our own persons and pursue the things and paths that we deem relevant to us. A right that we didn’t even have to earn!

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: What is your idea of African pride and how do you best translate that unto your social media posts?

Pamm: My pride as an African (woman) stems from generations who have bled and died so that I could be here, and enjoy all that this amazing continent has to offer. My pride transcends language/tribe/dialect/sex, its rooted in the history and future of all the amazing Africans I see, and I want everything I post online to reflect that – unapologetic and available by choice.

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: Which social media platform are you most active on and why?

Pamm: Twitter – it’s such a great place to learn and meet + engage with like-minded people. I also use it to weed out all the chaff in my life (lol)

🌸🌸🌸🌸

What are your thoughts on the Care Free Black Girl (CFBG) movement ? Please feel free to subscribe and share your thoughts on the comment section below.🙂Xx

Remembering Fela Kuti As A Style Icon

You are probably thinking how dare I cut down the great Olufela Anikalapo – Kuti to the bold ensembles that he effortlessly rocked or to the statement neck pieces that he wore ? 

The late Fela Kuti is best known for making music that made people move and think, he was evidently aware of music’s ability to carry a message that could enlighten people and he often used his lyrics to take jabs at those that were in social power that refused to  acknowledge the jobless, homeless and suffering African people. 

“Music is the weapon. Music is the weapon of the future.” – Fela Kuti

Fela’s lyrical content and popularity in the late 70s made him a great threat to the military government, those that are familiar with his legacy often choose to remember him for the boldness he continually showed while the authorities haunted him. The are claims of planted dead bodies, 200 recorded arrests and a countless number of raids on his communal settlement, the kalakunta republic-which he named after the prison cell he stayed in after the first raid. 

 “I hold death in my pouch. I cannot die.” – Fela Kuti

One particular attack that stands out for me is the 1978 attack which resulted in his mother – Fumilayo Kuti being thrown from a window by an “unknown soldier” Fela’s mom who is also known as Nigeria’s first feminist, passed on a few months later due to the injuries she had received from the raid. The military claimed that an unknown soldier executed the attack which infuriated Fela and as a result he led a protest to the presidential home to deliver a coffin for the head of state he also penned his heartbreaking hit single “unknown soldier” It is impossible to miss the pain that shoots through his voice as he repeatedly sings “them kill my mama” “them kill my mama.”



Olufela led an unorthodox lifestyle and in one life time he pledged himself as husband to 28 women – he  incorporated many of his wives into his live shows as dancers and singers. While many men claim that women are hard to understand, Fela’s secret to keeping that many women happy was “this and that” although he later decided to stay single after he served 20 months in jail as a prisoner of conscience. 

Please do not judge me any further and consider this – by recognizing the Kalakunta president, political outlaw and musical genius as a style icon. I am remembering the great Olufela Anikalapo-Kuti as what he represents for me. A bold, expressive and unorthodox legend. After all, you are what you wear. 

Stream Fela Kuti’s hit singles by clicking on the links below; 

▶️ The Kalakunta show

▶️VIP

▶️ Gentleman

▶️Unknown Soldier