Introducing the iSlenderSaMaCatalogue™ Merch

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue™ was founded in the streets of Vuta AKA Daveyton in 2014 on a sunny and dry Thursday afternoon when I was returning home from yet another commercial shoot. A short summary of the story is that an elderly man ran up to me while I was trying to pull off the hardest mean mug of my life and proclaimed my new nickname from the top of his lungs. The mean mug definitely didn’t stick but the nickname did.

My earliest memories were playing in the dusty streets of Kwalo Steet in Daveyton, walking to Bafo-Chiko Primary School and being told about a show called Yizo-Yizo being shot a walking distance from my home. My swag and talents flow from my roots. My upbringing in Daveyton and coming of age in Geelhout Park birthed iSlenderSaMaCatalogue™

Anyone who has lived eKasi, knows what iSlenderSaMaCatalogue means but for me, iSlenderSaMaCatalogue™ grew beyond a nickname given to women who are deemed conventionally ”pretty”. As life drew me further from my roots and humble beginnings I insisted on being called iSlenderSaMaCatalogue™ because that was my way of paying homage to where I am from.

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue™ was founded to pay homage to the melting pot of culture ,swag, talent, hopes and dreams that are often shackled by a lack of opportunity, resources and ultimately an unfair playing field; that’s why it has become clear to me that iSlenderSaMaCatalogue™ needs to become more than a hashtag. I believe that we all have a role in creating the world we want our kin to live in and that’s why I will give 15% of all profits made from the sale of iSlenderSaMaCatalogue™ merchandise to a township based non-profit organization.

Pantsula Exhibition by Chris Saunders

15% of all sales from the first drop, will be donated to the Jessica Dlamini Foundation 4 Women, a Non-Profit organization based in Mamelodi, Pretoria. The organization prides itself in providing support to girls which will encourage and enable them to obtain an education, with a key focus on providing young women with education and entrepreneur opportunities. The Jessica Dlamini Foundation 4 Women stood out to me because there can never be too many NPOs doing impactful work eKasi and because the founder of the organization self-funds a number of the initiatives.

The Jessica Dlamini Foundation 4 Women was founded by Jessica Dlamini who hails from Pretoria, she was recently named as part of the #IamGenerationEquality for her dedication to fighting social injustices. A report from South Africa’s Department of Basic Education (2011b) found an increase in school drop-outs across grades, it is estimated that out of a 100 learners that begin school in Grade 1 , half will dropout, 40 will complete matric, and only 12 will be eligible to pursue higher education. There are various reasons why students drop out of school and the lack of resources is one of them.

15% of all sales from the first iSlenderSaMaCatalogue™ drop will be donated to the Jessica Dlamini Foundation 4 Women in time for the back to school season 2021, when students are in need of school uniforms, school shoes and stationary. I am hopeful that I can partner with YOU to make a difference in the lives of two , twenty or maybe a hundred students. Regardless of the number of lives we manage to have an impact on, I believe that it will MATTER.

To place your order send a WhatsApp to 083 600 6176

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10 Lessons I have learnt in my 22 years on Earth..

The 27th of March 2019 marks my 23rd birthday, and what a journey it has been. So many lessons have been learnt, but who says you have to die in order  to teach ?

These are the 10 Lessons I have learnt in my 22 years on Earth (in no particular order):

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1. Your network is your networth.

2. It’s okay to ask for help.

3. Life is but a moment, but moments are always fleeting. Be present.

4. You are never alone, someone has gone through what you are going through. There is nothing new under the sun.

5. You do not owe anyone answers, except yourself. ALWAYS hold yourself accountable.

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6. Live your truth. Speak your truth, to be the truth.

7. Energy is currency.

8. What you think, you become.

9. You are worthy of self-love and self celebration.

10. Start with what you have.

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Here’s to 22+ more years of peace, prosperity and love. 🥂 🥂

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.

🌸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)

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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