I really like his beard It is clean not like those dirty ones covered with food…. their daughter is pretty too I remember what it is like to be that young she looks so free look at her his wife she is so beautiful okay focus…. Jess just walked in why is she so late… okay….. Marj pay attention there is an award winning poet in the room look around you everyone is writing….. but I do not understand
Stop it look around you everyone is writing
Jess is not writing but Guin is going hard okay focus listen….fuck I cannot understand anything he is saying why am I being rude stop it Marj how can you not understand everyone else is writing start writing ……okay….. I will write that he says fuck a lot he says fuck a lot I wonder what his wife thinks about that ……mind your own business
Shit wait what did he say come on man focus what don’t you understand look everyone is writing but you…. focus…. just relax…. focus
Let me grab a copy of his work I like that he is changing the narrative I have not come across many comic books with black characters
I grab a copy of one of his many comic books. I am so excited to open and read the content.
I am ashamed to admit that in two years of being at Rhodes University the old white and partly brown stained building next to Drostdy Arch has never struck me as interesting. But Scifest is in town, taking me where I have never been. Believe me when I say I was shocked to see that there was actually stuff in there.
I immediately abandoned my African fresh water insect mission (sorry, Scifest) and quietly followed the pushing and shoving of eager students into a world of adventure and learning. The Albany Museum is really something else. It is a great learning space for students and adults who prefer to be in the company of artefacts and objects that are well taken care of and secure parts of our history that we tend to forget.
Each room exhibited different animal species, fossils and several traditional fishing objects I did not even know existed. From mammals to different types of insects – you name it, it all exists in that haunted looking building. I was quickly spotted by the tiny humans who discovered I had a camera in hand and they eagerly stepped forward to have their memories captured by a stranger.
Photo credits: Marjorie Rugunda
We left the world of mammals and ventured into what resembled a bird sanctuary. The students stood with their cell phones taking selfies while others preferred to listen keenly to their teacher who quizzed them on what bird species were most common in Africa. I then followed the beaming smiles to a section of wetlands, were we were taught about the importance of conservation and preserving our wetlands. The knowledge shared within that space was truly exuberating.
I was content and satisfied with much of what was on display but while taking a picture of three fashion-forward students from Amazizi Senior Secondary School, I noticed that the tiny feet I had met on my way into the museum were in a room that exhibited important aspects of the AmaXhosa culture. The walls were covered with photographs of astonishing AmaXhosa women covered in traditional cosmetics. Together with photos that showcase different rites of passage practised by the AmaXhosa. In the middle of the room, a casket-looking glass cabinet displays different traditional plants, sticks and stones used by the AmaXhosa. These objects raged from Umnquma a traditional stick to Umavumbuka, a root parasite that the AmaXhosa use to prevent pimples and as sunscreen.
Museums are there to educate and to exhibit important aspects of our history. This room in particular I felt was really important because it conserves significant parts of a culture. I was glad to be among the students as they glanced at photos and objects celebrating their culture. It was an amazing experience for me being that I am an international student living in the Eastern Cape. I felt that in that room at that moment it was the right time to ask the students if they were enjoying themselves. And in high-pitched voices they all screamed YES!
Teaching has always been a passion of mine. I especially love to engage with children and find what is they are thinking or interested in. A few months ago I was lucky enough to teach Grade 7 students by partnering with Awarenet an organization located in Joza Grahamstown South Africa. Together with a few classmates of mine from Rhodes University, we embarked on a four week journey with these students teaching them how to write articles for Youth day.
Photo credits: Marjorie Rugunda
The biggest challenge was really to break down how to write an article in the easiest way eleven year olds can understand. The first few weeks were particularly interesting because we got some really exciting story ideas from the students. I was impressed at how aware these students are about some of the important issues that affect a number of youth in South Africa. These story ideas raged from teen pregnancy to drug Abuse and some decided to write about the youth that inspired them.
Personally I learnt how to communicate and how to listen. But most importantly how to be patient. Teaching younger students can be a bit stressful especially because their minds tend to wonder constantly. The teaching process also took place in computer laboratory so that made it the teaching and guidance process even more difficult because they were more interested in surfing the net. However these particular students were also eager learners and despite a few setbacks by the end of week four we had about eight well written articles for youth day that were then published in Grahamstown’s local newspaper Grocott’s Mail.
I have been blogging for a few months now and “boy oh boy” it has not been the easiest thing. I am generally an individual that does not like to share much, so this process has been a difficult one.
I apologize for not blogging frequently. The last thing I want is for this to be one of those once a month post blogs. I have day to day activities I love to do and as much as I wanted to share these things, part of me felt that I would not enjoy them as much as I do if I opened up.
But I think we grow from taking risks.
One of the things am completely passionate about is cycling and more specifically Indoor cycling. I have been a frequent spinner for two years now and proud to say that this passion pushed me to apply for the position of Indoor cycling manager at Rhodes University which I successfully got.
At the moment am waiting for a response to whether my audition for as a spinning Instructor was successful.
I am more than happy to share this because I hope someone out there is as passionate as about spinning just as I am,
Over the next few months I hope to open up more about my passion for adventure, health and generally life.
“As Africans we each have the power to subvert stereotypes and create our own stories. We are far from a dark continent, we are a continent surrounded by light, filled with love and drowning in creativity.”
This week I met up with two awesome students from Rhodes University Grahamstown. They shared their passion for telling stories. These portraits for me are a way of sharing our diversity here in Africa as well as the passion we all share towards creativity.
Meet Kholeka Majola
Last year Kholeka was a third year Television student at Rhodes University. After working on a story focusing on African identity, she developed a growing passion for African discourses, African hair and stories. Today Kholeka is a fourth year multimedia student hoping to use her profiles and portraits to show the world that besides every story is a human being.
And the lovely Ethel Nshakira.
Ethel Nshakira is a Ugandan student studying a BA in Journalism at Rhodes University. As an African aspiring Journalist Ethel feels that there’s so many African stories that have never been told and others that need to be re-told. This is an exciting time for Ethel as she has the perfect opportunity to not only tell Ugandan stories but African stories at large. Being an African aspiring journalist Ethel is excited to use this platform to work with fellow Africans and change the narrative.
Mama, yebare kunejesa orurime rwanje. Webare kuba insistent gu nenje orurime gwowitu. Tinkumana ku ngamba O’Ruyankole kurungi kwonka ndi determined kwega. Niyenda kwebaza Tata for being persistent and doing burikimwe to lecture us on the importance of our mother tongue.
Erizoba omu classi twaba tu yenga importance ywo orurimi rwintu. Nshanga ngu naba quite shy ku gamba abagenzi bange ngu nigamba O’Ruyankole omuka. Instead nabagambira ngu nitugamba oruswahili. I think part of me was afraid that they would not understand what the language is especially because most of my peers are from South Africa. So I choose to hide that part of myself and reveal a language that I thought would be more acceptable and I did not have to spend hours explaining what it was.
Mama, you have taught me to always be proud of who I am but I tend to find that whenever I am out of my home space and surrounded by people from similar backgrounds than mine I tend to shy away. Omwegesa wintu yangera ngu I need not to be shy of where I am from because that is what makes me, who I am today.
Mama na tata nibashaba okusasira haza nibebaza okunkunda nokunyegesa ngu okubo omuryankole nekintu kuba celebrated.