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
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.
I had a beautiful chat with Anisha from Cultural Pulse about Losika Writes and our reason WHY! She has published a beautiful article about our big quest to shine a light on all the beautiful native languages of sub Saharan Africa. Have a read by clicking on the link and celebrating multicultural achievements with us.
We got another interview a while ago and well forgot to mention in on our cheer-leading wall! Head onto Readers Inspired and read our interview and also find out about more kids books that celebrate African authors and African book characters in leadership positions. Aminata has taken time to profile a few authors and compile books that cater to chocolate flavoured people.
So if you have been having difficulty in sourcing diverse and inclusive children’s books, look no further than Readers Inspired.
Today I was accused of stealing a patient’s $100 bill at work. She claimed that I had fleeced her of her money last week and “unless there is someone else in this clinic who looks like me”, then it was obviously me who could have taken her money under false pretences. Now granted, we did have a consultation last week and I organised a surgical excision which would have had an out of pocket cost compared to her usual bulk billed consults. However as all of us should know, doctors never handle money as that is what reception is for, there is no way I would have processed payment for an anticipated procedure. Trying to highlight this flaw in her thinking just led to more venomous attacks of me and going on about how unless someone “like me”, and when asked to elaborate on what she meant, she reported “black people like me”, I could be the only person who took her money.
Not only was this hurtful as I had looked after this patient for a year now through challenging times with her family, it was sadly not the first time I have had racist insults hurled in my face by members of our community. I have been insulted in the presence of my then 3-year-old son, and informed that the reason we are brown is because we are the s*#t of the society whilst on a train home from a city outing.
Today however was different and to me sadder as I realised that people who have never experienced racism are quick to make excuses for racist behaviour. The trending ones for today was “she is old, she might have dementia” as if getting old and maybe having dementia have RACISM as a side effect. Excuses for the guy on the train was “maybe he was drunk, maybe he was high” again as if drugs and alcohol should have RACISM as a listed side effect. Now, racism is not a side effect of any of the above or any other reasons people might excuse. You are racist and for whatever reasons you might become disinhibited enough to actually spill your vile ideas.
When someone is being subjected to such, I would advise that if you are someone who has witnessed such behaviour- call it out for what it is, listen to the distress of the person who has been vilified and say, “I am sorry you have had to endure this today”. It is the equivalent of being quiet when breaking bad news etc when the less you speak actually speaks volumes. There is no need to try and pretend people were not trying to be racist when they are or worse excusing their behaviour.
I admit, I am guilty of not calling out such behaviour because I actually hate to bring up the so-called race card and I am really not confrontational. Today, the whole experience was surreal, as if someone was going to come out of the woodworks and say “smile, you are on candid camera” or living through Jodi Picoults book of Small Great Things where an African American nurse was falsely accused of killing a child of a Caucasian couple. I think the realisation of what happened, the response of my boss and practice manager to the incident has actually just dawned on me and actually made me upset and very angry. I thought I would channel these feelings and educate and hopefully look forward to going to work tomorrow and a future where my chocolate flavoured son won’t have to deal with this as his norm.
Thanks for reading till the end, as I try and calm down and come up with a plan of what to do about this tommorow.
I am one of those people who is always reading and when online, I do get carried away with opening new tabs. I must admit, I will often have more than 100 tabs open at a time… oops. I do then make time to read through each tab and most of the time, find beautiful gems like the TED talk by Lera Boroditsky, a cognitive scientist, about “How language shapes the way we think.” On finding out there are about 7000 languages on earth, my next thought was – how many of those languages are found in print? How many of these languages become extinct every decade because speaking that language “is not as cool as speaking a foreign colonial or adopted language?’
Having attended private school “aka English medium” in all my primary and high school education in Botswana, you wouldn’t have to look far to find people who were not keen to speak the local language despite living amongst people who spoke the language. To then have age mates who elected to only communicate with their children in English whilst living in Botswana was a very interesting phenomenon for me. To top that off, you could find a Kagiso married to a Kelebogile but having kids called Andrew, Katherine etc to help the kids “adjust in an English world”. The understanding of the above decisions was that being a monolingual, English only speaker, somehow made you more intelligent. English is a great language and one that can allow communication between multitudes of people globally, but we shouldn’t let the knowledge of English, be detrimental to Setswana as a whole.
Sadly, on reflection and more so after watching the Ted talk, all that is apparent to me is that we are probably gradually making our language extinct and hence the real ambition behind Losika Writes. To try, in my little corner of the world, to take our beautiful Setswana off the endangered list. Support the movement and buy your little one some books at www.losikawrites.com.
Enjoy the TED talk and looking forward to your opinions about the topic discussed.
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)
Losika Writes is proud to announce that we have made an e-book version of the Savannah book… Wooohooo!!! We are working on more books having the e-book format as well as increasing the languages on offer but until then we hope you can support our side hustle and get yourself or your kids/nieces/friends/neighbours a copy and writing a quick review about the books.
Below are the links to get you to the books (board books and the e-book versions).
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