Wow this was a terrible year for reading, I’m even embarrassed to mention how many books I read this year. Bad year for reading, blogging, huuu I did a whole lot of nothings in 2018 but I will admit, not all of that nothing was bad. If that makes sense.

I bought a whole lot of books this year but ended up not reading any of them. I will try read them though during the festive and in January, but that’s not the point of this post.


I wanted to share a list of books that made it to the top of the Goodreads Choice Awards – these are voted for by the readers so it’s not just some random person sitting and deciding what’s best. I like these Awards, you can also go read their reviews before purchasing a book, I always try to do this and I love that it includes books from our continent as well.

So let’s check out the winners for the different categories:

Best Fiction – Still Me by Jojo Moyes

Best Mystery & Thriller –  The Outsider by Stephen King

Best Historical Fiction – The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Best Fantasy – Circe by Madeline Miller

Best Of The Best – The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

(To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Goodreads Choice Awards they asked their asked readers to pick an ultimate favorite from  their past 170 winners and this came out tops. )

Best Romance – The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Best Humour – The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

Best Non Fiction – I’ll Be Gone In The Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer

Best Memoir – Educated by Tara Westover (Michelle Obama’s Becoming came in second with 55k votes)

Best Food & Cookbook – Cravings:Hunger For More by Chrissy Teigen and Adeena Sussman

Best Debut Author – Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Ayedeni

You can check out the other categories that I don’t care much about like Horror, Best Picture Book, Science etc on the Good Reads website HERE

I have a question for you though?

  • Do you look at these lists to determine what books you’ll be reading next?
  • How many books did you read this year? Can you say it with pride?
  • What’s been your favorite?


An icon of our struggle, Mama Winnie Madikizela Mandela has passed on and we are left with the HUGE lesson her life was or should have been to us all. Mam Winnie was admitted at the Netcare Milpark Hospital, where she had been in and out since the beginning of the year.

The news was kind of hard to receive because even though we knew she wasn’t at her best health wise, we had hope that she’d live on a little longer and so hearing that she’s passed on, was a shock.

Winnie Mandela

We thank God for Mam’ Winnie and the important role she played in liberating the people of South Africa. She was a strong, powerful and beautiful woman. May we all learn and draw inspiration from her incredible life.

They think because they have put my husband on an island that he will be forgotten. They are wrong. The harder they try to silence him, the louder I will become!

Rest In Peace Mama!

To read more on Mama’s life, read HERE

Linda Mtoba

The first time I got to know of Linda Mtoba was in March last year when pictures of her traditional wedding pics went viral on social media. I was struck by how breathtakingly beautiful she is and of course the next best thing was to find her on instagram, huuu I was not ready for the awesomery!

South Africans got to know Linda as KZN kindergarten teacher turned Zama Ngwenya in Isibaya but to me she became an obsession, and this was purely based on the person I saw beyond the stunning visuals on her social media pages. I fell in love with her spirit, her love for her man, her love for food and of course, her TRAVELS! Linda’s travels are everything man, well, if you live on her Instagram Stories like I do, then you already know this! I will be honest and say the following Q&A is as much for you as it is for me 🙂

I had to chat to her because there is something special about her and this time next year, Linda will be mega star! I just know it!

Linda (25) recently left Isibaya for another TV show she did not disclose. In an interview with TruFM this past weekend, she joked that “She will meet us at the river” (she sang this like Mafikizolo’s Emlanjeni).. and my wild imagination went into overdrive so I’ve concluded she’s joining the new 1Magic Telenovela, The River. Time will tell if this is true or not but The River’s casting director is the same guy who cast her as Zama in Isibaya so yah, sizobona.

Linda Mtoba

I loved reading her fun responses to the following questions, I hope they make you see what I see in her 🙂

LeloB: If you had to have a label on your forehead that explains who you are, what would it say?

Linda Mtoba: Joy ride? I think

What do the people in your life value most about you?

Linda: I’m very loving

What is the one personal belonging you value above all others, and why?

Linda: My husband does he count as a belonging? If not my wedding ring. It symbols a promise to love forever, who wouldn’t want that.

What’s the one thing you cannot resist, no matter how hard you try?

Linda: Cake & ice cream!! Dessert!!

Which movie can you watch over and over again and not get tired?

Linda: PS I love you. It’s also my PMS movie it makes me cry and sob uncontrollably. I love it.

What is the one thing you absolutely cannot stand?

Linda: People who are rude & ill mannered.

What is the worst advice you have ever received?

Linda: “Eat it, it’s not hot “! Jokes… growing up we’re taught as women to feel less than and to submit to men. My mother was firm believer in the opposite, so when old ladies said that as pearls of wisdom I already knew it was hogwash.

What piece of advice do you think should be passed onto every child?

Linda: It’s gonna be cliche but it’s the absolute truth.You can be anything you want to be. To dream big and dream different.

Linda Mtoba

Complete the sentence: Every woman needs to know that______________.

Linda: She’s already a goddess just by being born a woman. It’s a superpower like no other.

If you could sing a duet with anyone, who would it be?


What do you wish you had known about money when you got your 1st pay check?

Linda: It runs out! Fast!

Which book has changed your life or holds lifelong lessons for you?

Linda: Eckhart Tolle. All of them. The Power of Now was the first one I read and it gave me a new set of eyes to see the world and myself in.

What is your unfulfilled goal?

Linda: A summer body, every year I try. I’d love to learn how to play the piano.

If you could go back in time and re-do one thing, what would it be?

Linda: Not re-do but re-live, it would be my wedding.

What would you do if you were granted the superpower of being invisible for just one day?

Linda: Rob a bank! Also see if Beyoncé poops like us normal people.

Linda Mtoba

I look forward to watching this young lady’s career blossom.

Follow her on Social Media, she is @Linda_Mtoba

Pap Smear

It is a fact that most women are scared of undergoing a Pap Smear test! I mean who wants to have foreign instruments up her lady bits, coupled with the possibility of discovering that you may have life threatening conditions?!

Well, I was one of those many women and for the past 2 years I had been talking about it with my friends and trying to find who would be the best Gynaecologist to offer me a softer and more gentle check down there…

This is my journey and welcome to it.

I am 29 years old and would like to think that I am well informed with taking care of my body and making sure I stay on the healthy side. For some reason growing up I just never thought one would need to be examined “down there”.  Look, I honestly thought even for a pregnant woman it’s just the scans and blood work done, no physical “peeking” so I was happy.

This became my life as I am a late bloomer (something that am proud of and don’t have any judgmental hair for women who got their groove on earlier than me).
I think this is because I have always had some crazy phobia of anything going into my lady bits, I mean from a tampon, let alone a penis.

So I built this imaginary wall but finally decided to have penetrative sex when I was 26! So, I am fairly new to the game and enjoying these discoveries and feelings that come with satisfying the body sexually. Also I have only been with the one partner who opened the “gates” with our on and off relationship… (Story for another day)

Even before I had sexual intercourse, I was already having Pap Smear talks with my friends. It’s funny that I never really had this conversation with my mother, nothing about how important it is for a woman, virgin or not, to have it done as early as the age of 21.

After the going back and forth and having my girls encourage me, I decided to go for it. Even those who had been “in the game” longer than me but had not had the pap smear done, came out and committed to doing it as well. It took me 2 years to finally book it and get myself checked out.

The one thing that set me off was good old Google. I scared myself to death, with “how is a Pap smear done” to “instruments used during a Pap smear” and that was the end of me. I cancelled my appointment and finally got the guts to book one in November 2017.

I remember the knots in my stomach as I drove to the Gynaecologist, called up my best friend to tell her “I’m going in” and she gave me the pep talk about how I’ve got this.
Even even when I booked the appointment, the friendly receptionist already knew that I was scared because I spoke about it, so as soon as I walked in, she was ready for me and throwing jokes to make me comfortable. Meanwhile on the inside I was dying.

I waited for my now OB-GYN to finish with her appointment and in that moment I thought of running away and that even losing my 2 grand would be worth it, but then again the thought of my health creeped in again and I man’d up.


As soon as I got into the consultation room, the Dr made me calm. Before I even gave her my name I was like, ” Look ma’am, this is my first time and I am so scared.”  She then looked at my file which had my age, 29 on it and her eyes rolled back, she said: “Why did you take so long? However late is better than never.”
I was able to breathe. She then asked me questions about my sexual history, my menstrual cycle and if I had any concerns.

She reassured me that it would be a bit uncomfortable but bearable and I just needed to relax. I went into her examination room, where she instructed me to undress completely and just wear the robe she provided me with and lay on the bed.

As I was taking those clothes off, I could feel my heart beating in my throat! When she came back into the room, she did the breast examination for any lumps in my breasts that might be cancerous or threatening. Once she was happy, she then explained that she was going to perform the smear. At this point I saw my life flash before me.

She washed her hands and put on gloves, took out a clear speculum and sealed brush that looks like a mascara, that she would use to swab my cervix and have that tested.
She then asked me to scoot down the bed and take a few deep breathes to relax. At this point I just completely gave in, I was surprised with how comfortable but uncomfortable I was. She kept encouraging me and we spoke about some trips I had taken and before I knew it, she was done.

Just as I was about to get off the bed, she was like “There’s one more step where I was to take a look at your cervix for any growth.” 

I forgot the name of the instrument but it’s a tube with a camera on it where she views for any fibroids on the screen.
Ok that one was a tad uncomfy but not painful, she gently moved it around to get a view around.
She then found a fibroid which was located in the back of my womb.  She indicated that it was a bit big but advised that since it was not really disturbing me, we should not remove it. This meant that I would need to get a pap smear done every year to monitor the fibroid.
Besides the fibroid, I got my tests back 2 weeks later and they were normal. She gave me a clean bill of health and said that this was the perfect time for me to conceive because my eggs are ripe. Moving along….

I would like to encourage every single woman to undergo a Pap Smear test, this could save your life. I am preaching specifically to all the girls who were like me, before I got the test. Do not wait until it is late… Pap Smears are honestly not painful and yes your mind will play tricks on you but it’s a 15-20 minute consultation, with less than 5 minutes to the actual smear being done.

So man up Chica’s and let’s get those Pap Smears done!

By Nubian Writer

Have you ever wanted something but always felt like you were held back from achieving it? I have. Many, many times. It’s the demon called FEAR that’s holding you, and I back from that goal you keep running away from every other day.

If there’s one thing I did effectively in 2017 and believe I deserve a medal for, is having self-doubt.

I remember drafting a bucket list with the utmost enthusiasm at the beginning of the year accompanied by reasonable deadlines to make my list seem more achievable, and for it to motivate me to reach those goals. Listen, I drafted, created a half-baked vision board and closed my journal with the satisfaction of what I had in front of me.

Little did I know that I would only cross out 2 of the 7 goals I had set for myself for the year 2017 which were graduating for my Honours in Psychology and for being offered a full time job  after my internship ended. YAY me. I did THAT!! However, that excitement of the two most important things died out quicker than Chris Brown’s character on Stomp The Yard. I don’t recall celebrating those milestones because I was too focused on what I was struggling to achieve instead.

It haunts me almost every other day that I’ve let fear dictate my capabilities to an extent where I struggled to keep up with the promises I made to myself which no one forced me into. Self-doubt has been the biggest enemy of progress: despite all the potential and hard work, if there’s  constant self-doubt, then none of the things we wish and work for will ever come into being. We won’t reap the fruits of our labour.

I see young black women flourishing while I clap for them at a distance and always say to myself “you could win too if you only believed in yourself like you believe in other people.” I say it repeatedly, but somehow I end up forgetting those words when I need to start lifting myself up again. It’s depressing.

I hate this demon because I’ve let it ruin my year like I’m not a child of God. I hate it because it took over, slowly but surely, and left me out in the cold to try to pick up my self-esteem again. The fear has settled so comfortably that I don’t even know where to begin by “letting it go,” how many times should I pray it away, or how many mantras should I say to myself to psych myself up? Honestly, I do not know.

But you know what the beauty of life is? Starting again. As long as God blesses me with another day of life, then I still have the chance to prove myself to myself.

If you’re reading this and have been suffering from this demon, I hope that you find your light: whether it’s thoughts of failing at school, not getting the job you’ve been applying for, being afraid to love again and having the fear of starting a business because you think it will fail; I hope you really find your light.

We cannot keep living in fear and feeding the spirit with negativity.

Writing this post is a step in the right direction for me because if I forget my purpose then I can always revert back here and remind myself. Besides, what’s the point of giving advice if I don’t take it myself?



I went to watch The Suitcase at the Market Theatre on Sunday. Yes, I finally went to the theatre, not for any other thing but to watch a play. There have been lots of plays I’ve wanted to see but for some reason could not go.. and I watched the Lion King in Hong Kong a few years ago but that doesn’t count right?

The Suitcase

Back to The Suitcase, my word… what an incredible production this is! The cast have just come back from sold out shows in the UK and are on at the Market Theatre (Newtown) until Sunday, 26 November and here I’ve listed 3 Reasons Why I Think you should go see it before its run ends.

1. The Cast

The cast is made up of Siyabonga Twala, John Lata, Masasa Mbangeni, Desmond Dube and the 3 musicians.
I don’t even know where to begin with this but they are all just incredible!
Siyabonga Twala guys! I remember just a week ago I was asking my son why he wasn’t appearing on Isibaya so seeing him in this play explained his absence there. He plays Timmy, and I can 100% say he was my highlight. His relationship with Namhla played by Masasa is the most beautiful & gave me goosebumps throughout.

I can’t type the name ‘Desmond Dube’ without laughing out loud, the man still has it and he is flippen hilarious in the Suitcase .

There’s this particular walk he has on the show that will have you cracking up before he even says anything!


Oh and then there is Masasa as Namhla, there was such good chemistry between her and Siyabonga. I loved her, you watch her and you are filled with hope and appreciation because there are actresses out here who PERFORM!

The Suitcase

And then John Lata is the ultimate comedian in the play. There’s this one drunken scene he totally killed! When I saw him leave after he show I went up to him to go on and on about how I loved his work – hey John, if you read this, yeah I’m that crazy fan girl 🙂
Excellent cast!

2. The Storyline

The story is actually about a Suitcase. Oh bantu, it is so beautifully written. It has the right amounts of every little thing – so you will experience different emotions as you watch. You will laugh, cry, feel happy, wanna fall in love, get goosebumps, konke nje. We walked out of it and we couldn’t stop talking about every part of it, it felt so real! The emotions we felt afterwards were real.

3. The Music

WOW! Throughout the show I kept asking myself “who are these ladies!??” – turns out it’s Nokukhanya Dlamini, whose name I know from Joyous, Nomfundo Dlamini and Gugu Shezi who are accomplished musicians with angelic voices! I don’t have the right words in my vocabulary to quite explain how beautiful everything was. I was taken back to my days growing up in the Free State when they sang “fiela, fiela, fiela ngwanana ho se sale matlakala.”

Go watch this show and if you do not enjoy it, I’m happy to give you your money back! From my pocket lol!
It would be a nice date, and I don’t know if there’s an age restriction but I think people of different ages will love this, was thinking of taking my son to see it before it ends.

the suitcase

The Suitcase is on at the Market Theatre till 26 November and the tickets are available from Webtickets or from the theatre, ranging from R90 – R150. The full show is 1,5 hours long so just the right length. Go and enjoy, you will leave that theatre incredibly proud of our homegrown talent!

We loved it so much the whole house gave the cast a standing ovation.

P.S. Guys I think the world is against me meeting Siyabonga Twala yazi. With all the people in this world I keep meeting, yena niks!  I still have not met him. I saw all the actors walk out after the show but NOT him! I’m gonna write to Zola or Selimathunzi… ngeke! 

About The Suitcase: 

Adapted from Es’kia Mphahlele’s short story set in the 1950’s, THE SUITCASE is an enthralling love story about a young couple who, despite family disapproval of their marriage, leave for the city, intending to return wealthy and immune from social censure. The pressures of the city, unemployment and poverty strip away the husband`s self-esteem and he starts to lose his moral compass. He is so desperate to provide for his pregnant wife that he steals a suitcase left on a bus. This action leads to frightening consequences, dramatic turns and unexpected twists.

By LeloB

This year marks 20 years since the release of the first Joyous Celebration album. One of the most notable vocalists to come out of the remarkable group is Swazi Dlamini. She captured audiences with her voice which led some of the group’s most notable songs such as ‘Keep The Faith’ and ‘I’ve Got Something’, before ultimately going solo.

Now, 15 years since the release of her debut album, ‘My First Love’, she is back with a one-of-a-kind offering for her fans with ‘The Alabaster’. She notes that having been in the industry for so long, she feels as though she has had to become more responsible in recent years as what she does now will speak for the rest of her career life.

“The secret behind my longevity is in knowing who I am and being content. I understand that I am running my own race and I never want to be pressured by other people’s successes,” she says.

Much has been written about Swazi over the years and more often than not, the coverage has been negative and deeply personal. This encouraged her to grow a thick skin quite quickly. “People will always have opinions. I can’t sit and mope about it,” says Swazi.

The bad press has not stopped Swazi’s journey and how she goes about her everyday life. She is very public with her children with violinist Tshepo Mngoma, but dictates how much she exposes them to the spotlight so that she still has some level of control.

Swazi and her husband have been together since their days at Joyous Celebration and have worked together on their various projects over the years. While they have found that they can’t separate their work and private life, she says they try their best to maintain balance between the two.

Joyous Celebration came at a time when Swazi had enrolled to study Light Music at the Natal Technikon where she majored in piano. She used what she learnt during her time at Tech as well as observing the behind-the-scenes of the major production which is Joyous, to craft her own unique path. She says that the magnitude of her dream made her roll up her sleeves and get her hands dirty in order to become who she would ultimately become.

The busy mother of three has had to put her clothing line as well as a TV project on hold in order to focus on this show and her 2018 international tour because the music is the driver of her other passions.

Titled ‘The Alabaster’, Swazi’s new show makes reference to the bible passage in Luke where an unnamed woman poured her most expensive perfume on Jesus’ head. The disciples though that it was a waste, but to the woman, it was her ultimate sacrifice. With this project, Swazi will be giving out her ultimate sacrifice and worship with her current ministry.

The show which takes place on Thursday, 28 September will feature three stages as well as appearances from other collaborators such as her friend Judith Sephuma. Tickets are available on Computicket.

My Daniel Wellington

I have been thinking a lot of about TIME lately and I promise it’s not because I’m a new proud owner of a Daniel Wellington watch! I have been thinking about my birthday next year, and though I am not big on birthday celebrations, the fact that this year I spent my birthday studying for an exam has been one of the biggest pains of my 2017. As a result, I have decided to make sure that my next birthday is one for the books. And so it shall be!

I have also been thinking about my son’s birthday next week, wondering what to get him to make it special for him and until receiving my Daniel Wellington delivery earlier this week, I wasn’t quite sure what that would be but now I know it’s going to be DW watch!

A friend of mine suggested I buy him a car and I was left confused as to whether he knew he was talking to mere me and not some version of Patrice Motsepe.

daniel wellington

In my thoughts about TIME, I have also been thinking about how having left Celebrity Blogging shifted my focus from watching people live their lives to spending more time enjoy my own life. One of the greatest gifts I’m grateful for from the shift has been knowing that my time is mine. It’s the most amazing feel, I’m definitely happier.


I must credit DW for some of these thoughts, because they came to my mind as I admired my new watch and thought about its purpose.

If you haven’t heard of Daniel Wellington – it is a Swedish watch brand that sells timeless (excuse the irony) and elegant timepieces to watch lovers worldwide!


Apart from watches, there are also accessories and you are able to buy additional straps/watch bands. The good news though is that DW have been kind enough to provide me with a 15% discount code (MSLELOB) that CHICA readers can use on until the end of September! It’s a great offer so perhaps a great opportunity to start doing that Christmas gift! Yep, it’s almost that TIME too!

Happy shopping 🙂


“Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.” Henry van Dyke




Women In ICT

MTN announces the winners in the MTN Women in ICT – Partnership for Change Awards

On Thursday, 31 August 2017, MTN announced the winners of the second edition of the MTN Women in ICT – Partnership for Change Awards at a gala event held in Johannesburg.

Chica was invited to this prestigious event and what a great night of celebration, amazing food with incredible women who have made great strides in the ICT sector. An industry still highly dominated by men; one could not help but marvel at the stories that came with each women nominated and those who have won.

Read more about the event HERE. 

A 20 member panel of judges shortlisted three nominees in various categories, and the winners, as announced at the gala event were:

Women in ICT

Leadership Recognition Award: Carol Thomas: 

Chief Information Officer of the South African Civil Aviation Authority. She is a person of integrity and honesty and has led at a CIO level for around 10 years.

Innovator Recognition Award:  Rene Pearson.

Rene Pearson is the Technical Director at Aurecon. She won this award due to the instrumental role she played in designing various software applications, and support systems for their project management team.

SME Recognition Award: Matau Ramapuputla.

She is the CEO of Moepi Publishing, which publishes children’s picture e-books. These books are available in South Africa and in libraries across the United States.

Community Builder Recognition Award: Martine Schaffer.

She is the founder of The Click Foundation, a non-profit organisation that utilizes technology to facilitate basic education for learners. The Click Foundation has managed to create 125 job opportunities.

Women in ICT

Lifetime Achiever Recognition Award (Women Pioneer): Dr HF Swanepoel:

Chief Technologist at Eskom Group’s Technology Engineering Division. A consummate professional with a career spanning over 27 years, Swanepoel has received numerous international and national awards recognising her expertise, most notably the International Bentley BE Award for Innovation in Power Generation (2013), Best Female Engineer at Engineering Sector level in 2012, the Eskom Women Advancement Program Award in the category: Technology and Engineering, and the Eskom Generation Woman of the Year Manager’s Award in 2016.

Excellence in ICT Journalism Award: Joint-winners – Paula Gilbert and Simnikiwe Mzekandaba.

Gilbert is the Telecoms Editor at ITWeb. She covers breaking news stories on telecoms and business, as well as covering interesting topics ranging from tech innovations in finance to new mobile technologies and start-ups. She previously worked as a producer and reporter for business television channels Bloomberg TV Africa and CNBC Africa before moving into the online world.

women in ICT

CEO’s Award: Fatima Mayet

Fatima was named the winner in recognition of the role she has played in using the power of technology to address some of the challenges facing MTN.  She is credited with automating the employee on-boarding and termination process. She was also involved in multiple initiatives aimed at reducing fraud and revenue leakage within MTN. This included digitizing access forms for Business Risk Management. Due to her efforts in curbing fraud, Mayet was handpicked to be part of MTN’s Ethics Committee.

Ministerial Recognition Award: Charmaine Houvet

She has more than 24 years’ telecommunications experience working in the private and public sector across the continent. Since 2016, Charmaine has worked at Cisco as a Senior Executive in diverse and transformative roles. She is responsible for supporting Cisco with country digitisation programmes and enabling public sector policy reform across Africa.

Thank you to MTN for the CHICA invitation, we certainly appreciate the huge strides they are making to support and show appreciation to women who open doors for others to grow in the ICT industry.



Owning MY Both

In my head it seemed an easy enough article, a lens into my “both” and my multi-faceted nature until I had to sit down, and gather my thoughts and piece this introspective article…

I have a very active brain that likes to pick things apart, even when they seem straightforward enough – I am highly analytical; and while this bodes well in business, it mostly means overthinking myself to a point of confusion.

So, there I was picking apart the motive and the heart of what both means to me. I have read the brilliant submissions on ladies that have earnestly shared how they encapsulate being multi-faceted in their private lives, and at the end of each reflective read I have pointed the finger back to myself and asked: “What is the true meaning of your both?”

Defining MY Both

I colloquially profess to be a village-born snob-slash-nerd and, although this is mostly said tongue-in-cheek, it is very true. I have, what I call, typical Capricorn taste – a tad on the materialistic and luxe side of life; and I am also a nerd and a high academic achiever. I love academia and its pursuit. It is also a fact that I was born in a rural area, and spent the weekends of my formative years there. So yes, I am a village-born snob-slash-nerd.

I was born in a rural area in the Midlands region of KwaZulu-Natal, a village called KwaMgwagwa. My family moved from there when I was two-years old, however school holidays and weekends were spent in the “rurals” with extended family. At a young age I had to assimilate to two contrasting environments; my weekdays which were spent at a former Model C School, as one of very few black faces; and, my weekends and holidays spent in the village having careless fun.

I loved my time KwaMgwagwa and socialising with my cousins. We would pick ama-jikijolo (wild berries) and stuff them into empty 1.25Litre glass bottles of cool-drink, add water and produce some sort of a wild berry compote – in our heads we were making a yummy sugary berry drink. We would play carelessly in the stream, walk long distances through the plantation and have the time of our lives. Then on Monday, I would sit in Mrs. Ferraris’ class and be a bright-eyed, slightly awkward black girl with a well-formed twang and an appetite to learn. As young as I had been then, that was my first encounter with the multifaceted sides of my personality and adapting to different environments. I didn’t realise it then, but I had the seamless ability to move in between environments and to adapt and stay true to myself in those environments. Imagine that: a nine-year old “BOTH”. My early introduction to contrasting environments taught me an important life skill that still bodes me well, the skill of adaptation and being fluid enough to fit into different environments.

Living MY Both

I kept a lot from my rural exposure including my inability to look at people in the eye, I always speak and look around a person – it’s something I will have to work on. Sakhula kuthiwa umuntu akabhekwa emehlweni (We were raised to a belief that you do not look a person in the eyes), unless you are challenging them. I recently watched an episode of Uthando Nes’thembu where the wives of, polygamist, Musa Mseleku, were being taught ukusinda – which is how to apply wet cow dung onto the floor of a rondavel, as a floor finishing – I immediately recognised this from my childhood. I still know that I’ve got it, I know ukusinda and I could probably do it even with these Shellac long nails that I have.

I learned innovation at a young age because of the lack of resources in the village, and I also learned about resourcefulness and work ethic. These were skills that spilled over into my adult roles, and towards being a multi-faceted adult.

I have a very full life, and I love it. I could manage it better, but it is what it is for now. I am a both, a proud both. I own my multi-faceted nature. I realise that being a both goes beyond the surface – being a BOTH means more than just going from my weave in the city to being in a pinafore and running around emakhaya; it means understanding that I never ever have to choose which is the best side of me or which is the side that we get to show the world. Being a BOTH means that I am a highly ambitious professional and entrepreneur, with an excellent record, but I still get to be with my girls and be a BAD BAD without feeling that one area is superior to the other.

I’m liberated in the idea of living my both – in all my environments. I am liberated that I can be everything I throw my dart at, and excel, without believing that there is a best me or the me which the world should see. I raise a crystal flute (because, yes dah-ling I do love beautiful things) to my “BOTH-ness”. I celebrate with pride my ability to fit into different environments and feel authentic. I am the Dudu that came to Jozi and owned her path.

My name is Vuyi, a proud member of the BOTH club. I am me. A kaleidoscope personified and, the real life manifestation of miscellaneous. I am a hardworking entrepreneur, a Christian daughter, a stubborn Zulu girl, and a compassionate heart. I am ALL.

I’m inherently a chameleon… to not evolve is to not live – Andra Day

By Vuyi