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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In conversation with Osssilver…

Osssilver is a contemporary artist that I came to learn about earlier this year when we ”coincidentally” discovered each other’s Instagram accounts and she so happened to be painting a portrait inspired by a beauty shoot I did in 2016 for True Love Magazine. The truth is I don’t believe in coincidences and in the brief conversations I have had with Osss, I have come to realize that she has an undeniable and a very authentic energy. I am convinced that she embodies the spirit of the kind of women that inspire me to write, and here we are two women, worlds apart, inspired by one another…

” Women are our most miraculous muse, an enchanted intangibility that encourages all art. ” – Unknown

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: Who is Osssilver?

Osssilver: My name is Sylvia Ovejero Osorio, some people call me Silver and somehow  Osssilver became my dj/art nickname. I was born in Hermosillo, a city in the center of the Sonora, Mexico but I’ve also lived in other cities such as Culiacan, Mexico City, Monterrey and Durango.
I think the constant change has built some character in me and made me more resilient to life in general. In my professional career I work towards achieving sustainable development which is a must around the world and I firmly believe that there are many things that could be done in Mexico to improve the way we create and deliver value.

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: What inspired you to pick up a paint brush for the first time? 

Osssilver: I was quite young when I realized that there was a creative spark in me, there is also a big influence from my mother who always encouraged me to express myself creativity and ever since I can remember she has exposed me to the art world.

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: What was the first thing that you painted?

Osssilver: Oh god! It was awful! Haha, My first experience with oil painting was a still of fruit that I made at a class probably over 10 years ago, I’ve seen my progress over the years and that makes me wanna keep going and see how far this could go. I dream of making murals in rural communities.

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: Please talk me through your creative process?
(what is your process from the moment you select your muse to when you complete your art piece)

Osssilver: Lately, I’ve been obsessed with water and hyperrealism, before that I was quite taken with Art Deco pieces but the constant has always been women ‘sfaces .. like really empowered women you know? .. so for this last piece I was looking for those characteristics in a picture and I felt that your picture transmitted that feeling. From there, begins the process of translating it to the canvas, I divide the space into squares and start drawing (the current piece has been the hardest so far) and then I start applying the oil paint which takes about 6 layers for me to be satisfied with the result.

Osssilver’s latest art piece that she’s currently in the process of completing

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: When you finally pick up the brush, what type of mood do you like to create in your studio? and how do you create/cultivate that mood? 

Osssilver: You put it very well when you said “when you finally pick up the brush” haha .. yes it is a whole mood… first I prepare something to drink (depending on the hour of the day that could be tea, coffee, wine), then I start my favorite playlist at the moment (usually something I can sing along to), then I stare at the canvas for a long time and decide what’s next.

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: When do you know that an art piece is finished?

Osssilver: I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my paintings, so many people think I’m done but I still see many flaws, I think the last 20% of the process is the longest since I’m always trying to make it look perfect. I don’t enjoy being pressured I’m just done when I’m done.

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: Modern artists can draw inspiration from anyone and anything around the globe, do you think this is a good or bad thing?

Osssilver: I think it’s a great thing, I mean if you can pick up inspiration from a muddy rock in the ground or from a complex concept and then being able to create and project new forms or meanings from the artist perspective then that is a good thing, doesn’t matter if the piece is great or not.. the fact that someone can pick up a thought and express themselves through art is something I wish more people could do cause creating is a beautiful process.

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: Who are your favorites artists? If possible please explain why?

Osssilver: Banksy: He’s just the greatest contemporary artist in my opinion, he makes bold statements in the simplest of forms and also creates consciousness on political and social matters. Eduardo Kobra @kobrastreetart: I love his street art pieces around the globe.
And I’ve been influenced by Richard Phillips and Tamara de Lempicka. My mentor, Franco Trozcá has also had a great influence on me

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: There has always been a myth about the scattered, tortured genius artist, is this something you’ve found to be true?

Osssilver: Well… I’ve been struggling with Bipolar since I was 19 years old ( I’m almost 30 now), there’s a link between that particular illness and high spikes of creativity .. as my fellow Kanye West puts it.. I hate being bipolar, it’s awesome.  

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: The evolution of technology gives us all an opportunity to share our work on a larger scale, your art can be consumed in real time by people all over the world, what does that mean to you? And how do you think it will impact the trajectory of your career?

Osssilver: I think technology has the ability to improve everyone’s life, help us learn and connect in ways that weren’t possible before. I wonder what the great artist from the past would have been able to achieve with our current means. I could only hope for our generation to seize technological advancements to make this a better world and for new artists to find inspiration and new opportunities to advance their goals.

iSlenderSaMaCatalogue: Words that you live by? 

Osssilver: “True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing.”
-Seneca

Follow Osssilver’s work on Instagram: @madebyosss

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Self-Validation is a Super Power

Validation

Self-validation is YOUR superpower, it is the ability to clap for yourself even when no one else is clapping for you. In my humble opinion, Self-Love and Self-Validation are CLOSE cousins…

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The ability to validate yourself allows you to own all the good/bad decisions you make and that is the fertile ground to cultivate the best version of yourself. In the long run, Self-Validation curbs self-doubt and negative self-criticism which often leave us feeling frustrated, insecure and unworthy. 

“Self-Validation is a form of Self-care, it also breeds Self-Awareness, which leads to Self-Acceptance.” – iSlenderSaMaCatalogue

I am a firm believer in mentorship and getting a second opinion, however, I believe that the most successful people in the world mastered owning their voice and setting the pace for their story. The likes of Oprah Winfrey, Afua Osei, Sho Madjozi and the likes individually learned to trust their voice and be their own hype man which now serves as the foundation to their success.

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

Self-Validation is a form of Self-care, it also breeds Self-Awareness, which leads to Self-Acceptance. In the 21st century, being able to validate your decisions, your beliefs, your boundaries and simply being able to say NO is a form of Self-preservation. External validation prevents you from being able to put yourself first which results in your well-being taking the back seat. External validation makes the idea of prioritizing oneself seem selfish, which sums up my theory that Self-Validation and Self-Love are LA Familia.

I am honestly still doing the work, faking it until I make it where the need is,  intentionally choosing myself despite how anxious I get when I choose to let my friends down and miss out on on a ladies night in the name of Self-Care. Through trial and error, I am learning to confidently set the pace for my life, before I worry about what the next person will say, I owe it to myself to own my life and so do you.

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Welcome to the machine world.

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These are strange times to live in. The line between what’s natural and what is machine is getting thinner and thinner, there is a woman who has all the answers that lives in our phones, our devices can predict what we want to text before we even text it and there’s a machine that lives in the sky that can track our every move.

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More & more companies are making use of chat bots to communicate with customers..

New machinery and software that can do what man can do are being developed every day. Technology has found a way to give financial advice, do accounting, give directions, mix cement and even mine. These technological advancements have been developed to do what man can do in a more efficient and cost effective way. However, they are certain things man can do that machines can’t, for example express empathy.

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I can recall watching the 1997 cult classic, ‘the fifth element’ and failing to accept the idea of flying cars ever being a reality but with recent technological advancements such as autonomous cars AKA self-driving cars, flying cars don’t seem like such a far reach. Pop culture movies which showcase artificial intelligence co-existing with humanity are slowly moving from fiction to non-fiction.

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Technological advancements have changed and influenced every aspect of modern human life. People have benefited a lot from technological advancements and stand to benefit even more. Human beings can use technology to empower themselves and raise awareness about injustices which take place all over the world such as the, #MeToo and #BringBackOurGirls movements. Robotics in the workplace are more efficient in that they bring about more productivity and result in less injuries in the manufacturing sector. Technology advancements have also led to new medicines being developed for illnesses such as paralysis and cancer.

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However , I have read that tech advancements are happening in a faster rate than skills transfer to humans are taking place. Organisations are investing more and more of their money on new software and technology than in hiring and empowering their employees. According to Bernard Condon, ‘ technology will kill middle class jobs’ but studies also show that the fourth industrial revolution will create new job opportunities so this is certainly the time where leaders and citizens of all nations alike must begin to think of solutions and make sure there is a smooth transition into the machine age.

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One of the ways to ensure a peaceful co existence of man and machine is to find an equilibrium, a balance between the two parts by creating people centred machines and systems. It is also very important that we use technology to empower people by making the necessary digital skills attainable, in order for them to take advantage of the new job opportunities which technological advancements create, hence the importance of initiatives such as the Dream Girls Academy and UK-SA tech hub DreamCode BootCamp.

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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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