“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.
We place immense trust in the hands of people we don’t know but those we interact with in society.
We trust that when traffic lights turn red and the pedestrian lights green, that the people driving towards the pedestrian crossing will stop.
We trust that as we wait to cross the road or wait for the train, none of our fellow pedestrians won’t push us into the path of an oncoming car/train
We trust that when you go out for a meal, the people providing catering are washing their hands and not doing anything inappropriate to our food before it is served.
We trust that when we go on our merry way, we will find our way home in peace.
I was in Melbourne city this past Saturday, a day following the senseless loss of lives in Christchurch due to the actions of one white supremacist killer. It was Formula One Grand Prix weekend and the city had a palpable buzz which was soon accompanied by low flying planes to celebrate the beginning of the car racing festivities. My young son and I were train and tram hopping as usual but the sounds, the people and everything that had happened the day before challenged the trust I would normally give without question. It all made me feel so uneasy we had to go home. Trying to be on look out of people around you who might turn against you is emotionally and mentally exhausting and a reality I am very far from accepting as the norm. I don’t know what we can do to stop this pervasive fear because we can’t let those who choose to divide us, win.
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 was watching Jada Pinkett- Smith’s show – Red Table Talk recently about forgiveness. It was a chat with her step brother about their father and how they both coped with his addiction and the fact that he wasn’t present for most of their growing up. They both discussed how they had learned to forgive him/his actions and how he ended up dying without much resolution of his “demons”.
What resonated mostly with me was when she said “my father’s main purpose in life was not to be my father, but to have a journey of his own and I just happened to be born during his journey so I couldn’t expect him to stop everything to be my father.”
My parents separated when I was in high school and it was an acrimonious split. I have lived more than half my life without talking to my father who probably lives in the same city I grew up in which is actually a VERY small place. Sometimes I question my emotions about the whole situation whether I am angry/upset/disappointed. Despite the decades, I am still unsure how I feel and what I would like to occur to resolve my indecisiveness. At some point you start dating, get married and walk yourself down the isle Meghan Markle style, have a child and work a career that you love but still not resolve that relationship and where it stands.
My father was not really into drugs or alcohol or anything that would make me think he was a bad father. It’s like my parents got separated and his parenthood also stopped. Obviously there is bias from my point of view given this transpired whilst I was technically still a child but that is what I experienced.
Hearing Jada and her brother say those words about their father gave me peace about my father and our situation. I hope one day, before it’s too late, we can both be adults about the situation but I have peace should that not eventuate too.
I would have never believed you if you said you could make an exact duplicate of yourself but with Losika I think I may have done exactly that.
Now most people are quick to talk about our looks and how we look very similar which I suppose is common. There are however, things that he has done that have shocked me as I identify myself in them from being about his age to now. Below I have listed those that are still fresh of mind
Nail biting – now I must admit I still do this even now but I am always conscious of not doing that when he is around. But he not only bites his finger nails, he bites his toenails too which I also disgustingly did until my late teens so its not like I have shown him how to do it.
Internalising emotions- he is only four but I see so much of myself in how he handles situations and emotions. I must admit, I am still learning how to tame the tiger but I remember many a time that I promised myself I would pack my bags in the morning and run away or went to bed without eating my dinner all because mum had been upset at me. I see how he responds sometimes when he is angry at me for disturbing his play and a part of me can see the cogwheels turning in his brain and wondering if he ever thinks like I used to. I hope that as he grows, I can teach him what I have learnt so far in managing emotions and not internalising them.
Watching TV whilst lying on his back- this used to be my favourite TV watching position and I can fondly remember watching SABC 3 back in the days and trying to learn tennis and cricket because those were the only things that were entertaining after school in our limited channel TV set back then.
Spending forever chewing one mouthful- I fondly remember my mum telling me that you didn’t need to chew porridge or yogurt. Mum would say I was possible the only person who would chew WATER!!! Sadly Losika has developed the same trait of keeping each mouthful a lot longer in the mouth which can be frustrating as I try and ensure he completes his breakfast in the morning hustle and bustle.
Surely I am not the only parent who sees themselves in their child. Comment below and let me know that I am not crazy… I know I may be but hoping I am now hehe
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 know they are not Martin Luther King kind of dreams but I thought I would put it out for the universe to digest and hopefully fulfill. One day I will reflect and hopefully tick all of them off woohoo.
I have a dream,
– that one day Losika Writes will be as well known as Penguin books, Oxford books etc
– that people will support small businesses just as much as they support the billion dollar companies that don’t represent them or even invest back in them
– that one day Losika Writes will have a variety of mediums through which we can disseminate all the well known but also lesser known beautiful languages
– that one day our kids will proudly speak Setswana/Ndebele/Zulu etc as we often see people speaking Spanish/Italians without having the pressure to speak English because they are talking to non-Africans. Imagine Miss Universe Botswana answering the questions at hand in Setswana, how cool would that be?
– that we invested in the education of our little ones from preschool age and not think it was only right for them to see one language as they are developing their own
Those are my dreams for Losika Writes and the brainchild behind this seemingly crazy venture so support and help the dreams become reality.
You are never given a dream without being given the power to make it come true.
Have you ever marvelled at the genius that is Google?
Have you ever wondered how it works to sort out the vast amount on information and hone in on exactly it is that you are looking for?
I don’t claim to understand all of Google but as a small business owner who owns a website, I have been trying to learn more about the machine that is Google and basically trying to learn how to please the Google gods. All this whilst obviously juggling being wife, mummy, daughter, sister, friend, doctor etc. I am very grateful to have found a gem of a teacher in Kate Toon (a copywriter in Sydney) who has made understanding of the machine easier by organising classes into palatable, bite sized chunks that are practical and slowly transforming Losika Writes into what I envisioned it to be when I started it.
I thought I would write something to celebrate her and her website….
Whilst you are in the mood to celebrate – get shopping at www.losikawrites.com or have a taste by getting our ebook version.
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” -William Arthur Ward
A candle loses nothing by lighting another- James Keller
Mental health affects a lot of us in the health profession as previously highlighted in my blog post about doctor suicide. Wear your odd socks today to show your support and have a conversation about how vulnerable we all are…
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