Of A Woman’s Worth

woman queen

The value of a woman is not measured in how many cows you pay for her,
Nor is it measured by  how many children she will birth,
It is certainly not measured on a scale like you weigh a choice piece of meat at the butcher,
the value of a woman is not measured in her figure and shape or ratio of her waist to hips,
Nor is it measured in her equality to man
The value of a woman is priceless….
Measured in currency more valuable than gold…
The value of a woman is measured in the same way you measure the worth of any man of worth..
In the depth and goodness of the soul beneath…..

*work in progress*

~B

 

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Of Kintu: A Review

Book Review

Kintu By Jennifer Mukumbi

Kintu by Jennifer Makumbi

Kintu is a novel by Ugandan author Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi. First published by Kwani Trust, Nairobi Kenya in 2014 after winning The Kwani Manuscript Project in 2013 then published by Transit Books in 2017; then in March 2018 awarded (alongside seven others) for the Windham-Campbell Prize for how Kintu:  “opens up a bold and innovatory vista in African letters, encompassing ancient wounds that disquiet the present, and offering the restitution to be found in memory and ritual

“This prize for me is like having been working without pay for a long time and then someone comes a long and says, ‘Will a salary for the past ten years do?‘ Then you’re left speechless.”

~JENNIFER NANSUBUGA MAKUMBI

Kintu by Jennifer Makumbi

The name Kintu (pronounced with a soft ch sound as in chin; ChinTu) might come from the legend of the first man to walk in Buganda just like Adam in the garden of Eden yet it passes down to the fictional central character in the book, Kintu and lives on in various forms, as we follow several generations of his progeny from precolonial times to the modern day.

Kintu is a fictional novel but the history, culture and traditions portrayed are as real as any tale a grandparent has told, around a warm fire in the cold night; tales of our ancestry, tales never forgotten, because to forget is to lose your roots…..

The book is unapologetically Ugandan, written in context for Uganda and reading it one gets offered, a rare perspective, of how the past, becomes the present, real and imagined.

If you are not Ugandan, this is book won’t be an easy read. There are phrases whose meaning you won’t quite understand, you will get names wrong and trying to navigate this epic multi-character African story; where siblings can be cousins and parents not parents; through several generations of lineage, in which some of the same names keep coming back and others have more than one name….. (I would suspect even if you are Ugandan  keeping track of the storyline) is quite a chore but in the end, it’s a worthwhile journey, you finish the book with a rich understanding of Uganda and by extension Africa’s complicated journey.

Reading this book reminded me somewhat of reading Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell the way souls are linked across time and space.

Though Jennifer Makumbi says her book is not a feminist work, her book delves into aspects of patriarchy and paternity; showing up its fragility, illusion of control, and the roles society imprisons itself.

The book also explores mental health, characters battle depression, schizophrenia, and psychosis. If mental health problems were caused by the supernatural, then in this book mental illness seems to travel along Kintu’s kin like its a blood curse…..

…badly wired, short-circuited, fuse-blowing mental kind of madness….

Kintu is a story about how far you will go to find your roots and sometimes your roots find you no matter where you travel.

From the Kintu Introduction by Aaron Brady:

History as it’s written down in books is one thing, but history as it’s lived is another.
how the past recedes into the background as we race irrevocably forward….

This is Kintu: the story of how the old pasts are forgotten so that new pasts, new families, and new nations can be remembered into existence…..

Kintu was written, then, for people for whom the name Kintu means something. Now you are one of those people.
Good travels. Kulika o Lwera.
-Aaron Bady

~B

PhotoCredit: Brittle Paper

Of Picture It: International Women’s Day

Happy Women’s Day

Every day is woman’s day on this space of mine especially this month of March. I pledge to #PressForProgress and Forge positive visibility of women

#PressForProgress

#PressForProgress

Yesterday I had the honour of being on the set of Picture It with Sibs Jolie hosting a special International  Women’s Day edition.

International women's day Picture it with SIbs

Picture It with Sibs

The panel was made up of remarkable women; who leave unique footprints in the space around them:

Candice Mwakalyelye, radio personality and newscaster

Candice Mwakalyelye

Candice

Pastor Catherine Magadzire Pastor and business woman

pastor catherine

Pastor Catherine Magadzire

Rachel Adams Life Coach, Leadership Developer and also a Breath Practitioner in training

Rachel Adams

Rachel Adams

I promised myself that I would play my part, even if my part is to be a fly on the wall; to observe and write down; to amplify voices in the way a writer can. I sat amidst a handful of other men in a roomful of women and I will confess though I didn’t know what to expect, but I did wonder if this is how women felt all the time, like must you ask for permission to simply be yourself, to be where you are, to belong, to be part of………….

At the rate we are moving; according to various studies; the gender gap will be closed in over 170 years. 170 years that’s how long it will take unless some serious changes happen to the way we have been taught to think and act.

gender equality

Candice mentioned that the world was never ready for the force that is women. (Well the world better start shaping up and taking notice stop being stifling) Candice said that before you hold yourself back from doing something ask yourself “whats the worst that could happen?” You could fail and  if you fail you learn, that’s experience; its also ok to be scared…..

You must constantly open yourself to new experience, learn and teach what you learn!

One of Candice’s goals is to make at least one person smile every day, she says for her it makes her that even if just for a little bit she has made that person feel better…………………….

Pastor Catherine Magadzire spoke on how we are all wonderfully and fearfully made creations. She said that we do not need to ask for permission to shine or to be the best of version of yourself. Pastor Magadzire is a pastor not because he her husband is one; her husband is titled pastor by marriage to her.

If a woman can make a home, can she not also run a business successfully??

Rachel Adams introduced herself as being from a small town and as with most small towns the dreams there are small. She still maintained that you should dare to be anything you want, to light that candle and courageously take your place in the world, and breathe properly while you are at it, you just might be surprised what a breathing exercise each morning could do for the quality of your life…..

Rachel made a thought provoking remark about how its not all about man holding back women but  that women should start fully being themselves; to stop thinking of themselves as just women but as human beings to proudly and unapologetically be who they should be….

We need to start having Courageous Conversations; saying what needs to be said and living with the consequences

Rachel shared a quote by Arundathi Roy:

“Another world is not only possible,

She is not only on her way .

On a quite day,

I can hear her breathing”

 

~B

Ps At the end of the day what I took home is that if we strive to be the best human beings we could be and helped others to be their best selves, as a candle lights another, maybe gender parity could be achieved tomorrow….

Of Coffee, Women And Progress

If you were having coffee with me; I would greet you as a stranger who suddenly realises that amongst other strangers we are kindred spirits you and I. How alike yet totally unalike we are; which is probably why I enjoy our little visits. Please do feel at home, grab a cup of coffee or juice or whatever rocks your boat (……water, that’s what rocks boats)

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that its March, but of course you know this. I don’t know if its International Woman’s Month but I do know International Woman’s Day is on the 8th of March and in the USA, UK and Australia they  celebrate women’ s history month in march and Canada observes it in October. This March it might as well as be Women’s Month on over here; as I will be using this space to celebrate womanhood.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you how I shall endeavour to bring the female narrative to my blog, featuring guest articles from ordinary women and the extraordinary things they do disguised as ordinary; book reviews, author interviews and other things I’ll just make up as I go along. Maybe I shall write a story from the female perspective I don’t think I have ever tried that…..

If you were having coffee with me I would tell I #PressForProgress

Press for progress

I will #PressForProgressTo kick start my March Goals, if you were having coffee with me I would tell you I had the privilege of attending Batsirai Chigama’s Gather The Children Book launch at  Alliance Français Harare.

gather the children book launch

gather the children Batsirai Chigama

Gather The Children is a self-published poetry anthology drawing inspiration mostly from her experiences and the prevailing socio-political climate.  During a live onstage interview she revealed delaying the book launch in October last year, fearing what could happen, how her book would be received but after a while you run out of metaphors to hide your anger behind, to break the silence…….

“……Silence was taught to our mothers

We rejected it at birth”

–excerpt from Daughters of Fire a poem from Gather The Children

Batsirai Chigama is a spoken word artist with years of stage experience and you can feel the vibe in her poetry. The poems in her book are meant to be spoken out aloud.

A selected few of the poems were performed during the launch alongside backing vocals and sound effects from Mangoma Percussion group. It was breathtaking; I wish you had been there, I wish I had a camera but then again maybe not; I was so busy being in the moment I would have probably forgot to press record….

 

The stage set was simply art; a bowl with candles burning, a vanity case full of old bearer cheque notes, a table hanging from the ceiling and a basket with a bow on the handle full of her books. Ah yes and there was a soul warming performance by Hope Masike.

 

If you were having coffee with me I would ask you if you know what separates animals from angels? Its Art!!

~B

 

PS even Johnnie Walker is celebrating women this month cheers:

Jane Walker

 

Photo Credit: Batsirai Chigama 

Hope Masike

Johnnie Walker

Becoming the muse #PressForProgress

Of The Gender Equation

Confession I do not understand feminism.

Now that I have got that declaration out of the way, this me trying to make sense of it. If you are reading this and see where I get lost please feel free to jump in and explain.

I have read about it and let me say I have had it (feminism) explained to me a couple of times it makes sense at the time (sometimes) and then I see someone else who says they are no longer one (they used to be but not anymore) and explain their standing usually and that also makes sense and I have seen those who have never subscribed  to this and perfectly comfortable in their status quo roles, what they have to say also makes sense; Then you see someone whose hard line stance seems to imply all men must fall and everything you(as men) say will be used against you… so I listen and I don’t understand and I cant ask because I am a male our male privilege makes us the problem….. I stay silent, afraid to say the wrong thing.

I understand the need to address gender imbalance especially in the working world where women are less likely to gain positions of power not for lack of skill or knowledge but simply that they are women, whose place should be in kitchen. Traditionally we have had instances where a girl child was withdrawn from school so that her brother could get an education because why go school if she is just going to get married and have babies.

Our society has been largely patriarchal traditionally and culturally, there is always resistance to change especially to new ways of thinking but minds are slowly opening it’s a process that wont happen overnight, equal rights equal opportunities, empowerment…..

But fundamentally we are not the same male and female, we are different, our genetic makeup is different, the hormones that course through our endocrine system are different and so how we feel and even think is different …..

NoTe I am not saying one sex is superior to the other I am simply saying different, difference is not a bad thing. Can we accept our differences, correct what needs fixing  and still find ways to get along?

Who is a feminist?

I found to this flow chart By Rebecca Searles for The Huffington Post which simplifies it to this

are you a feminist

are you a feminist?

Maybe it oversimplifies the definition here is another by Emer O’Toole for The Guardian who has this flow chart

Are you a feminist

Can a guy be a feminist? The verdict is still out on that one, some say its possible, some vehemently say no, some say men can only be allies…..

And then there is another brand of feminists with rather radical views that you find them up in arms even with fellow feminists, words are redefined and meanings changed and definitions are lost and on the internet it just becomes a messy affair…..

This image is a crude representation of what everything devolves to

opinions

 

This is such an awkward post for me because to be honest I am a little afraid of the way the internet reacts to any perceived wrong not by correcting the fault but by bullying.

We need to be better human beings

~B

ps waits  for the storm to start

day 27 blog everyday challenge