Showing where it hurts

Some people are frightened by change while others embrace it as the only way forward. Keep in mind that the people you surround yourself with might be surprised by the change in your life and it might take some time for them to adjust to the new you. In his article titled “Don’t bury your feelings”, Dr Barton Goldsmith, who is an emotional fitness expert, mentions how we act differently when we bury our feelings. “Being in touch with your feelings will make you a better person as well as a parent or partner,” he says.

When we were younger we did not hesitate to answer the question: “Where does it hurt?” Although then the question usually referred to physical pain, it is a relevant question regarding emotional pain too. We answer the question with little resistance to the admission of pain. As the years go by, [ ] we begin to hide the pain, sometimes even from ourselves. But denying the pain does not make it go away.

So why do we insist on putting on a brave face? Showing pain is seen as a sign of vulnerability, but the misconception we have is that it is a sign of weakness – especially among men. In his book “Unspoken Words of a Gentleman”, Pierre Alex Jeanty speaks about how it is not a crime to cry, especially when you are a man.

He assertively states that the only crime is the disallowance of a man to express his emotions but to instead bottle them up, resulting in a ripple effect of negative consequences. Show people where it hurts, especially the ones closest to you, is a vital way to increase trust in relationships. Most importantly, it is where the healing begins.

In a world where every person has a unique walk of life, it is unfortunate that we might not all have people we can open up to in our daily lives. At Nelson Mandela University, this need is catered for by the Student Counselling Centre, where students can receive the psychological support they need for mental and emotional growth. If there is unresolved pain in your life, consider being brave enough to show someone where it hurts.

Photographer: Thando Khanda

It’s the vibe of the thing

“[ ]I don’t think I’m quite ready for a relationship. I think we should just vibe and see where that takes us,” are words that have not only affected me but [ ] many individuals within the dating community. It leaves one asking, what exactly is [ ] “vibing” and what is the difference between it and [ ] dating.

Vibing can differ from situation to situation, but the best way to describe it would be a relationship between two people where all the basic rules of dating still apply but with less commitment and pressure. The parties involved simply establish how exclusive they want [ ] to be. In some cases, it could be seen as an open relationship. Now the question is: why are people leaning towards vibing instead of [ ] good old dating?

A statement by Sindiswa Shabalala put everything into perspective, “The person who initiates vibing is taking this stance as a coping mechanism. He or she is not ready for the vulnerability in the relationship and instead chooses to hold onto control over the situation and their feelings”. This shows that a lot of people who enter such relationships do so because of their past failed relationships and the fear of being hurt.

In a time where it seems like all people who enter your life are there with malicious intentions, it is only instinctual for you to attempt to protect yourself. Vibing is the fence-sitter’s answer. It provides desired elements of a relationship, but is free from real vulnerability, leaving less room for disappointment and getting hurt. When there is no real investment, there is no real risk. Hence, out of fear, people choose to be more shallow so that if anything goes wrong, their bounce-back will be easier and faster. There is no denying that upside. The jury is out on this one – take your pick.

Photographer: Thando Khanda

A Student’s Guide to Eating Out on a Budget in Port Elizabeth

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Some of the reasons us students eat out at restaurants are for a quick break, to unwind at the end of a long week or an exceptionally long day, when there’s no time or energy to cook a meal because there’s always something to get done, or to catch up with friends.  At the same time, it’s fair to say that we do so when there is no pressure of having to pay a ridiculous amount of money just to eat out. This is where these top three restaurant deals come in. They are just the fix!

Seattle Coffee
From their spacious Walmer Branch to the on-the-go branch in Summerstrand on the way to school, Seattle Coffee is perfect for both coffee and non-coffee lovers alike. The cafe has a point system, recording each purchase you make when you enter your phone number. Your 11th drink is free, ensuring that all your visits don’t go to waste.

Bocadillos
This is for all the pizza lovers who also appreciate a restaurant with great decor and ambience too! Every Monday at Bocadillos is half price on all their pizzas, with a variety of choices for meat-eaters and vegetarians as well.

The Bru Bar
The Bru Bar is a great place for both drinks and great food. Mondays at the restaurant offer a 2 for 1 pizza special while Thursdays are for their buy 1 get 1 free for burger special.

These are just some of the great restaurant deals that P.E has to offer. So whether you’re a little low on cash or not, there’s always an opportunity to save but still enjoy some time out!

Photographer: Likhaya Tshaka

Should South African Women Stop Celebrating Women’s Day?

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OPINION – In South Africa, the 9th of August and indeed, the month of August in its entirety is a time when women and the institution of womanhood is celebrated, appreciated and most importantly, protected. It is a time when all the issues that South African women face daily are finally addressed.

It is a time when all the prejudices and disadvantages that dehumanise and threaten the lives, health and success of women (simply because they are women) are debunked and dealt with by the government, private companies and other organisations powerful enough to institute change. Am I right?

Wrong!

That could not be further from the truth. Yet, that is what we have been led to believe. Somehow, a single day of a so-called women’s day celebration is supposed to be enough. A celebration which in reality, feels like a disingenuous attempt at placating South African women.

For years now, women have complained that it is truly not enough and naturally, this complaint continues to go unentertained by the organisations whose responsibility it is to take action. As a result, in 2018, many South African women have simply decided to ignore the very existence of the day and rightfully so.

Until such a time when sincere, effective and permanent efforts to tackle the plight of women in this country are finally in place, South African women ought to continue to ignore and even condemn any half-baked pseudo celebration of our place on this country.

Until the extremely high statistics of gender based violence in all its forms, femicide, unequal pay and other acts of discrimination against women in this country are addressed and dramatically reduced;

Until legislation that seeks to make the aforementioned a reality is enacted and acted upon;

Until the contributions of women to our history and development as a nation are given the weight they deserve in the form of statues and renamed landmarks;

Until an honest widespread conversation about gender roles, sexism and patriarchy is effectively engaged on;

Until all these and more, the women of this country should not recognise such unimpressive and isolated events like women’s day because they do very little for our cause.

Image source: Kelley Felix

Here’s A Toast To Remarkable Women

OPINION – We grew up taught to only associate the colour pink with girls and blue with boys. Yet today, your favourite colour might be reliant on your mood, fashion trends or even the weather. We also grew up taught that girls should be seen and not heard. Yet today, even if you’re the loudest person in your circle, your friends still adore you. So I guess how we use the things we were taught to find our own uniqueness is what defines us as people … as women.

Every August, when we celebrate women, our minds first drift towards famous women who achieved something so remarkable that they now have a shiny spot in our nation’s history. However for once, if not for the first time, let’s take a moment to celebrate our own success.

Let’s celebrate the old lady that runs a soup kitchen from her house and the high school teacher who always made you feel like you were worth something more.

Let’s celebrate the church lady who constantly says that she is praying for you and girl who got pregnant at sixteen but didn’t let that stop her from chasing her dreams.

Let’s celebrate our mothers and motherly figures who taught us how we should be treated and that friend who made the decision to get out of a toxic relationship because she realised that she deserves so much more.

Celebrate the cool aunt that let you get away with everything and the random girl who unknowingly made your entire day better because she complimented your hair.

These and many more, are the women that need to be celebrated.

Most importantly, celebrate the reflection in the mirror. Celebrate the fact that she is not the person she was three years ago. Celebrate her amazing ability to feel broken inside and still be able to mend someone else with her smile. Celebrate that one day she is going places even though it might not seem that way right now. Her imperfect life might be someone else’s greatest inspiration.

Applaud her.

Be proud of her.

See, we often compare ourselves to others and end up feeling insignificant and inferior. We measure our success and beauty to that of women with different backgrounds and circumstances when the only real measure of success and growth should be against the woman you were yesterday.

Raise a glass of sparkling pink champagne (or grape juice for those of us with different diets) to yourself and the remarkable women in your life.

Cheers and happy women’s day to all of you, my fellow sisters.

Image source: Valento Gouws Photography

Deaf Ears or Closed Ears: On-Campus Rape Incident (Again)

This one hits close to home. I cannot even remember the number of rape protests I’ve attended at Nelson Mandela University (NMU) with the cry for one thing which is protection of my female body. I’ve been here since 2016, marching since 2016, but when has NMU ever prioritized women’s safety?

All we ever get is a correspondence talking about how the matter is “receiving attention” and that of how awareness in the form of initiatives continue to run to combat the matter. How is it that for 3 years we have been talking regularly, normalising a dark side to university life, walking over issues of rape and continuing with life after the momentum that came with a hashtag and a march has died?

It is obvious that the security at our residences is under-equipped to deal with the repeated accounts of rape experienced by students. The initiatives and campaigns that were launched for such purposes are clearly out of the question. So, what must a student do now? How do we stop the rape cycle in our own safe spaces? A place that is intended primarily for privacy and habitation?

A student has been raped in her own room by another student of the same university, and now as we shut down the University and beg once again for protection, the student will be the one who must bump into their rapist at a test venue or at the gym, while investigations are pending right?

Rape is a real thing, as real as the way a victim is treated afterwards.

Stop brushing this off until the next one happens, stop keeping us silent by giving empty promises simply because of our vulnerability. Something has really got to be done.

Enough has been enough, we are exhausted.

Are our cries not being heard simply because of our communication, or are our cries just being blatantly ignored?

Image by Tembelihle Menziwa

TOWARDS A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN

The lack of sufficient student housing is a critical issue faced by many tertiary institutions across the country. Last year, an astounding 216 000 South African students were left stranded, without a place to stay.

Locally, only 12% of the Nelson Mandela University student body makes use of on-campus residences. The rest live in various off-campus locales such as Digs, Campus-Key, apartments or at-home residences.

Enter Campus-Key Scarborough, the latest real estate venture from the Stellenbosch-based Campus-Key group. Scheduled for completion this October, the seven-storey, three hundred bed complex will not only offer housing to three hundred students, but also has the added bonus of proximity.

While three hundred beds pales in the face of the stupefying national odds, it is a step in the right direction!  Perhaps the success of the Campus-Key group may inspire many other developers and real estate power players to get involved. One building at a time, we may eventually alleviate the housing issue…

THE SCIENCE OF KNOWING

Knowledge is key.
Being educated and well knowledgeable don’t necessarily equate.

Complacency is the natural enemy of progress.
In so little words, we can diffuse the story behind the science of knowing. Knowledge leads to wisdom and equipping yourself with the full artillery of history, current affairs, science, etc can only see you attain the slight, but key, edge over your fellow educated peers or colleagues.

Humans are naturally born with curiosity; a natural scientist and explorer exists within us. However, how we direct it to exploit this full wonder is honestly up to us.
Attaining the sacred, much needed art of knowledge is no ancient mystery nor taboo.
Knowledge comes in various forms: books, simple conversations with the right people, documentaries, magazines or the internet.
Furthermore, in the current space age, accessing of information lies within mobile devices at a huge convenience.

The only way one can respect their environment better is through awareness of the principle aspects involved in maintaining and driving that environment.
Learning that the ecosystem is fully interconnected, how one simple inert action of throwing away your lit cigarette bud in the bushes can spark a fire and consequently cause severe damage, highly distinguishes between life and death.

Without knowledge we become increasingly prone to lack of perspective and appreciation.
A research fact regarding a significant finding or fact indigenous to your country could indeed spark a newly found better appreciation of it.

The true tragedy lies in that ignorance and stupidity have no true extent nor quantifiable means, so the infinite risks of knowledge arrears are far more detrimental.
Knowledge has to go beyond the lecture room and the exam answers which we spend so much time cramming – rather than actually learning how to use them.

Education is a tool and like any tool it’s about how effectively and efficiently you apply it.
We’ve reached a phase where a qualification certificate could do you good, depending on what else you bring to the fold.

Excess knowledge could never be at your peril. To the contrary, excess knowledge will give you all the ascendancy and means to propel yourself to greater heights. Given the correct execution and application of thought.

I’ll leave you with these mighty provocative words to ponder on:
Complacency is the natural enemy of progress and without progress life is stagnant.

HOW TO ENGAGE WITHOUT BEING ENRAGED

The rise of social media and the digital age has taught us to speak our minds. This is a wonderful thing, as freedom of speech is one of the core tenets of a democratic society. However, it seems that somewhere along the way we’ve lost two key skills: the ability to listen and to respond.

The news has become flooded with controversial topics; it’s no wonder we feel the need to voice our opinions all over social media. However, there are certain topics that require us to be level-headed and to think before we speak.

Here are a few tips on how to communicate effectively:

* Simply ask yourself, “Why am I engaging in this particular conversation?” If the answer is that you want to voice your own opinion, or that you want to try and ‘win’ an argument, then it is unlikely that you’ll find any merit in an opposing viewpoint. This renders the conversation useless, as both parties are simply speaking ‘at’ each other, with neither one willing to lend an ear.

* It is important to understand the difference between a response and a reaction. Due to the immediate nature of social media, we’ve become accustomed to instantly reacting to the messages communicated to us. However, when engaging in a conversation, one should take time to digest what has just been said, then respond thoughtfully rather than reacting instantaneously.

* Remember that the point of engagement is to exchange ideas and possibly grow from the experience. If both parties are not prepared to listen to one another, chances are conflict will occur.

Follow these simple guidelines and you’ll be on your way to facilitating fruitful dialogue.