Friday April 5th -Sunday April 14th is time to celebrate Victorian Youth Week this year. I will be participating in one of the many Africa Day Australia activities that will be going on as we celebrate the young people around us. I cant wait to meet with everyone and be among the young minds of Victoria. Hope to see you there.
When: Saturday 13th April 12:30- 1630
Where: Library at the Dock , 107 Victoria Harbour Promenade, Docklands Vic 3008
“A man’s gift makes room for him, And brings him before great men.” – Proverbs 18:16
Losika Writes has truly opened many a door for me and has brought me before great men, and women hehe. I have had the opportunity to go to ABC Australia Melbourne studios to not only talk about my passion project of ensuring that every African child growing up in the diaspora has books in their native language, but to also talk about important issues of motherhood and general practice. I am looking forward to where all this leads and hoping the universe guides me as I navigate what I truly believe is a calling.
Support our side hustle and know that when you do, you enable us to fulfil our why.
Losika Writes had its first market at the One Beat One Love festival and it was awesome meeting and having chats with people who are interested in celebrating cultural diversity in our beautiful Melbourne city. Cultural diversity week allowed us to meet with multitudes of people coming together to acknowledge the flavour we all bring to our society. The conversations were eye opening and we got to meet so many people who champion diversity in workplaces, on book shelves and everywhere else.
“It is NOT our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept and celebrate those differences” Audre Lorde
We are looking at having many more markets and excited to meet everyone who ventures to our little corner of the world.
It was a great honor to present to the beautiful women of Africa Day Australia as a guest speaker on this momentous occasion. I thought I would share my speech below for those who couldn’t make it to share as we celebrate women and the men who allow us to stand tall. Hope you enjoy it. Let me know on the comments please.
My name is Dr Tshegofatso (Teah) Mogae. I am a bit nervous so I hope I will not have verbal diarrhoea and divulge all my secrets. I am a mum, wife, medical practitioner and I own a small business called Losika Writes. I was kindly asked to provide a speech to an awesome bunch of women to celebrate international women’s day and I thought, sure why not. I am a woman, tick so I already tick that box at least. But then I had to decide what to talk about and that was the tricky bit.
Do I talk how being born a female in 2019 still sucks compared to being born a male anywhere in the world? Or about how 1 in 2 women in Australia will experience sexual harassment in their lifetime? Or how despite working hard women earn 85c compared to $1 earnt by men doing the same jobs yet then still do the bulk of unpaid care work at home.
So you can understand how if I was to talk about the #metoo movement or how 10 women and 1 child have died since the beginning of 2019 in Australia alone or how women such as Ms Rahaf Alqanun have to literally run away from their homes and lock themselves in hotel rooms to get tell the world of the plight of women in different parts of the world how sad my talk would be. I think these issues are important discussions to be had and I am sure we can make time for each of them, but I thought I would be uplifting on this special day.
So for that I turned towards the theme for this year which is balance for better. First thing I thought was oh no, they want me to talk about how work life balance and how I am amazing at that. Well, I did say I was juggling motherhood, being a doctor, lecturer, business owner etc so I must admit that work life balance is a mythical creature in my life. On further review though, the theme is about creating a gender balanced world which I think is a great challenge we as women face.
On this, the 108th celebration of international women’s day can we try to spice things up a bit and hopefully try and get equality quicker than the 202 years projected for equality at the current rate. That means, with everything remaining the same, it will only be my great, great, great, great, great, grand daughters who would get to enjoy the fruits of our labour so I thought we could get things rolling a lot sooner. I understand that we have already made great strides as women in the recent centuries, but I am challenging us to try and pick up the pace. It was almost a hundred years ago that women discussed with the men in their lives the importance of equality in terms of casting a vote in the USA. Following that, MEN then voted to allow women to cast their own votes.
So why don’t we follow in their lead to make men be the ones working harder for our equality?
So why don’t we get the men in our lives to recognise when women are not being treated equally and to do something about it?
Why don’t we get the men in our lives to question when they are invited to board meetings or panels that don’t involve any women?
Why don’t we get the men in our lives to call out and have a zero tolerance to sexual harassment of women?
Why don’t we teach our sons that being a man doesn’t involve showing strength by beating up women but rather by building them up?
Why don’t we get the investor men in our lives to question why board members of the companies they invest in don’t have women on board?
Why don’t we get the leading mean in our lives to know that trying to rule a country with political parties, or institutions with only males at the helm is like trying to fly a 747 aeroplane with only 50% engine capacity, a recipe for disaster.
Women account for 50% of the worlds population so I think it is about time some of those men stood up and made room for our fabulousness at the table. All men come from a woman, were cared for by a woman, were nursed and probably taught by a woman to become who they are. So surely, we should ensure they know how fabulous we are.
They shouldn’t just stand up to pull our chairs or to open doors for us, they should question why we are not shoulder to shoulder with them and make room for us at the table.
It all starts with us owning our power and educating the men we birth and raise, the men we grow up with, the men we love and interact with and all men in general to stand up for our equality. So let us get to it ladies, this job needs all of us.
We celebrate all milestones and this one is no exception.
We have been featured on MamaMag Eastside issue for April/May 2018 discussing the importance of “Keeping Language alive.” Grab your copy/read our article online and please support Losika Writes as we strive to celebrate our language diversity.
Our books are available as English only text or bilingual (Tswana/English and Ndebele/English books)
As a little girl, you dream of one day finding the man of your dreams and getting married. The exact description of the “man of your dreams” changes with each phase of life I suppose. As a child with the love of all things candy, you can find yourself thinking – any man who can provide me with an endless supply of candy would be the man I will walk down the isle with. As you become mature and life/love start to mean more than a supply of candy or new Barbie dolls, you develop your list of requirements of said man and these continue to evolve as your personality, career etc also develops. Having a role model in the home of what a makes a great man whether a father, uncle etc also helps to shape who we eventually find attractive and are naturally drawn to.
So after dating for a little while, getting to know each other a great deal, deciding whether they meet the list of negotiables and non-negotiables you both gradually change your vocabulary and start talking about “we” and start having long term plans of eventually building houses, babies and all those adult things in general. Your family and friends also tend to start asking about the presumed next step of getting married. This is then when things start to get a bit different in African culture as I will try to elaborate below.
Usually, the first thing that gets the whole “getting married” process started is formally asking for your bride’s hand in marriage. In my culture, this doesn’t end after you go down on bended knee and she says yes! Actually, this part doesn’t even exist in the true cultural way of proposing. Traditionally, the groom-to-be would talk to his maternal uncles and tell them of his plan to wed. They are the ones who then tell his own parents of his desire to wed and together, the uncles +/- the parents then go and speak to the uncles of the bride-to-be and ask for her hand in marriage.
Back in the days, females were responsible for helping with the day to day running of a household i.e getting water/firewood for the house, tending to the farmland etc so asking someone’s daughter to move from that role certainly came at a cost which has evolved to be called “lobola” or “magadi” loosely translated to a “bride price”. This is usually a token of appreciation from the grooms’ family to acknowledge the inconvenience of taking a girl child away from their family home. In traditional Tswana culture, it is roughly about 8 cows although this has been slowly increasing with time. With the evolution of culture, this token of appreciation can now be accepted in different forms including hard cash (after working out the cash equivalence of the desired number of cows) as well as other household items. I have learned of 200+ cows as magadi in some Sudanese communities where this price is also influenced not only by your current academic qualifications but also by who your parents are and their importance in society. So if you are a lawyer/doctor/engineer, with no kids and the daughter of the village chief, your uncles on receiving a request for your hand in marriage from your in-laws-to-be, could request that they bring 200+ cows for the bride price. The groom would be expected to get some cows from his family stash and herd them to the in-law’s place to show how manly he was and to show his devotion to his new wife and her family.
The bride’s family are also gifted clothes for the wedding celebration. So in addition to the cows, there is a list of gifts expected for the bride, the bride’s parents and her uncles and their wives. After numerous family meetings, as there is apparently a hierarchy on how the other family members are informed of the upcoming nuptials, the big day arrives. It is signaled by the early morning arrival of the males from the grooms family, coming over to reiterate that they do indeed want the lady’s hand in marriage and that they come bearing the gifts as requested. Following assessment that all is in order, they are given the all clear and taadaa the beautiful bride makes an appearance. She is then introduced to her new family and there is much singing, dancing, eating to celebrate the union of the couple. The whole community is informally invited to this special day and this makes for a rather large celebratory party with all the bells and whistles.
Before your mother sends you off to your new family, there are some words of wisdom/life lessons/instructions that the women of the clan share with you as a quick lesson on married life and what your new family will expect from you. The women of the clan then pack all your belongings, clothes and underwear included, into several bags and ship you off to your new family where there is another celebration to welcome you into your new home. From then onwards, you are “a married woman” and have some status in society allowing you to participate in similar upcoming magadi ceremonies where you can then also impart your own life lessons to a new bride during their ceremony. * Image from Generations soap opera
So August 2016, I got the all clear with all my exams…. wooohooo! To celebrate the momentous occasion, I decided to do a big chop. It had been 9 years with my beautiful locks and no, I don’t call them dreadlocks because I never found them dreadful. So on a quiet winters day, I took final pictures with locks, walked into the bathroom and chopped them all off. I walked out to my husband and son and saw them do a take 2 after noticing that the hair was now a TWA (teeny- weeny afro). I collected all the hair and put it into the garbage, ensuring that under no circumstances would I be tempted to reconnect them to my scalp, yes, it can be done and know a few people who have attached ready made locks. I had to come to terms with the new hair pretty quick. I had no option of waking up in the morning and tying my hair into a ponytail and not thinking twice about how it looked.
I now had to learn the afro lingo and boy is there a lot of lingo. From- co wash, pre- poo, twist out, protective styling to mention a few. I had to try and schedule regular washes, get the right shampoos and conditioners for the hair, get a silk scarf to sleep with and a few other things. I had to relearn how to braid my own hair, something I had not had to do since my second year of medical school. I also, unfortunately, realised that my hair was still as kinky and coily as it had been prior to the locks and that putting a comb in it every morning was torture so quickly became familiar with more humane forms of management.
It has been almost a year and I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss my locks or the ease with which they were to manage at the end. I could style them and know that my hair was sorted for at least a month. I watched YouTube for hair style inspirations and was comfortably able to experiment with different styles or hair-colour without a care in the world as I felt my hair was robust enough to handle what I threw at it. I have had to learn everything from the beginning without an easily accessible chocolate specific hair salon to help with the task at hand. I felt that the TWA, which was essentially my lock roots, was very fragile and I had to “baby it” in those first few months but now it has got with the program. Speaking of salons, they all still seem to have ridiculous prices for everything to do with hair of the afro-texture. Well, I say ridiculous because prior to locks, I had been able to get my hair braided, plait etc for less than a tenth the price I was now seeing advertised.
I also realise that I have to do a little more with my looks to ensure that I don’t look like a boy. I am happily experimenting with bolder makeup and jewellery to accessorise the afro which my husband adores. Every new season throws a spanner in the works and I am still learning. I have developed techniques that for the most part have been working okay and I am currently appreciating my roots, excuse the pun. I am eagerly looking forward to what this hair journey has in store and I can’t honestly promise that I won’t ever lock my hair again. For now though I am loving the TWA.
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