“I’d Rather Be A Number Than A Name”- The Amy Foundation

Amy Biehl: 26; Daughter; White American; Fulbright Scholar; Studying roles of women in South Africa

Ntobeko Peni & Easy Nofemla: Freedom Fighters; Murderers; Young; Black South Africans; Humans

Linda Biehl: Mother; Forgiver; Advocate for Restorative Justice

 

I do not know if I could ever forgive the men who would stone, beat, and stab my daughter to death.

I do not know if I would be strong enough.

I do not know if I would see them as human.

I do not know if I have it in me.

I do not know if I could…
Continue reading ““I’d Rather Be A Number Than A Name”- The Amy Foundation”

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“We Want What You Promised Us”-Eersterivier Backyarders, University of Cape Town, & Rutgers University

We attended a Global citizenship program with 14 other UCT students.  This program was extremely impactful because it raised awareness to us, students since knowledge is more than books.  Myself and Darcella (SAI participants) travelled to the Eersterivier Township- a coloured township based in Afrikaner culture and language.

The organisation Eersterivier Backyarders was established and founded by Moses Rutsa due to the huge unattended problem in Eersterivier that’s been overlooked by government.

People tend to not think there is a problem if the problem cannot be seen.

The same is true for backyarders in the Eerste Rivier area.

People do not think this area has a housing problem because the backyard dwellings are not readily visible from the street.

They cannot be seen unless you choose to see them.

Continue reading ““We Want What You Promised Us”-Eersterivier Backyarders, University of Cape Town, & Rutgers University”

“Sitting Next to a White Person is Not Democracy”- Distrik Ses & The Freedom Fighters

“You can take the people out of District 6, but you can’t take District 6 out of the people.”

– Abu Brown (District 6 Museum Tour Guide)

 

Do you want to hear a joke?  Actually, I have two jokes for you.

1. What would happen if a coloured person swam in a ‘whites-only’ pool’?

The coloured person’s skin color would wash off and stain the white person.

2. When would a coloured person be buried if they drowned in a ‘whites-only’ pool?

The authorities would first, take their body to jail to serve their sentence, and then their body would be buried.

Continue reading ““Sitting Next to a White Person is Not Democracy”- Distrik Ses & The Freedom Fighters”

Border-Crossing Youth: Challenging & Breaking Down Society’s Expectations

Today was absolutely amazing!  I never told you, but we travelled to Cape Town from Johannesburg on Wednesday (19/07/17).  Cape Town has a much more diverse population (white, coloureds, indian) and plenty of tourists, whereas Johannesburg is predominantly black.  On the afternoon we arrived, I believe that was the first moment I witnessed the extent of whiteness amongst the CT people and the juxtaposition between Joburg and CT.  That evening, Dr. Clarke (our instructor) took us to a bookstore in Kalk Bay for an event.

Not So Happy Fact: Outside of our diverse Rutgers group and four other black South Africans, Continue reading “Border-Crossing Youth: Challenging & Breaking Down Society’s Expectations”

It Takes A Village To Raise A Child-Infinite Family: Nkosi’s Haven & Ikamva Labantu, Part 2

“I like food!” he said.

“Me too!” I yelled.

I darted around the circle to wrap my arm around the young boy’s arm before anyone else could beat me.

I thought to myself, who could ever love food more than me?

And I made it!

The young boy looked at me smiling.

The 2 hour session was filled with a True Colors Personality Assessment, an icebreaker called, “Me Too”, a closing conversation on career exploration and role modeling, and a final treat, a game the learners (predominantly young men and one young woman, ages 13-18) facilitated for us called, “Master and Jack”.

As we packed our things to leave, the young boy approached me and gave me a hug.

He said, “thank you.”

I thought to myself, I don’t know why he would ever say thank you to me.

So I smiled and realized that today, for one moment, we brought something different to Ikamva Labantu-The Rainbow Centre (location in Gugulethu, Cape Town)-”by us coming here today, we took the learners away from all of this.”  We helped them think of what is more.

So I replied to the young boy with, “No, thank YOU!  I learned so much from YOU today.  I learned that I now have a new food buddy.”

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Infinite Family is a global mentoring organization founded in 2006, Continue reading “It Takes A Village To Raise A Child-Infinite Family: Nkosi’s Haven & Ikamva Labantu, Part 2”

Knowledge Is Power, Part 2- Alyea Speaks @ The University of Johannesburg (UJ)

“If one has to put down the going-on of the country more clearly, poetry is the best medium for this.  When you face a truth and there is challenging need to express it, you can most emphatically capture it through poetry, because there is no way you can twist it about in a poem.  You have to bring out the truth as it is, or people will see through your lies.”

-Poet Mafika Gwala

Thank you UJ & NYU for opening your hearts to my words.  It was an honor and a privilege to have spoken at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa this past Monday (17/07/17).  Sometimes, it feels unreal to be able to share my art across borders, countries, and continents-but that is what art is meant to do.  Art has power.

Continue reading “Knowledge Is Power, Part 2- Alyea Speaks @ The University of Johannesburg (UJ)”

Knowledge Is Power, Part 1- University of Johannesburg (UJ) & New York University (NYU)

“If you do not read, how can you ever learn to write?”

– University of Johannesburg Library Staff

On Monday (17/07/17), we went to the University of Johannesburg (UJ) for their International Forum on Kindness, and were joined by New York University (NYU) for a day of lectures, performances, and discussions.  This event was held in the UJ Library on the 6th floor.  The room was absolutely stunning, and the Library staff was extremely gracious hosts!  When you looked through the glass windows on your left you could see all of Johannesburg, and if you looked out the windows on your right, you saw all of the UJ campus.

What was even more stunning than the view on the 6th floor was the tour of the newly renovated library, and what it represents for the students, and how it pushes other universities to be more student-centric.

Continue reading “Knowledge Is Power, Part 1- University of Johannesburg (UJ) & New York University (NYU)”

It Takes A Village To Raise A Child- Teboho Trust, Part 1

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Day 1.

It is only day one.

Unbelievable.

Difficult.

Yet so emotional.

Today we volunteered at Teboho Trust, an NGO in the Soweto Township of Jonannesburg.  The name chosen for the organization is a SeSotho Name given to a child at birth that means, “Thank you God for giving us this person…this gift”.  The NGO empowers children and the community to realize their full potential and contribute to the greater society. Their overall aim is to provide an empowering environment that will incubate future leaders while at the same time keeping families together.
They continue to meet their aim for the past 16 years.

Continue reading “It Takes A Village To Raise A Child- Teboho Trust, Part 1”