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A vision board is great tool not only for manifestation but also for measuring your productivity. It’s more than just a trend. I could sell many of it’s benefits  to you but then again who is talking about a vision board at this time of the year? With the festive season around the corner one can feel under pressure  to look back at the year that has gone by and question their success or productivity. I also call this season the “the comparison season”.  Most of the pressure comes from social media, family and friends. If you are not careful there are so many yardsticks that will be thrown in your face telling you whether you made it or not this year. Over the years I  have come to learn to ignore this madness and pressure that comes with Christmas. I built a coping mechanism that allows me to enjoy the festive season as a season of giving and receiving. Part of that giving process is gifting myself some alone time. If anyone hasn’t  given you permission to put away that vision board or journal, allow me to be the first to do so. It’s  time to put it away!!! Here are some tips you can use to ease into the festive mood and not focus so much on goals, until it’s the right time.

1. Accept that there is only so much you can do and control in your life. What ever was meant to happen has taken place, what is yet to come will find it’s way to you.

2. Embrace every season in your life. This is the season of gratiude, reflection and relaxing

3. If there is any planning you can do for yourself at this point in time. It would be to honour that mind and body of yours that has taken care of you this year.

4. Say thank you. We are accountable for our own success but at the same time we can’t do it alone.  Thank all the people who showed up for you in ways you never expected this year.

5. Trust the process. Often when we speak of trust we do it with one eye open. Naturally it’s not something easy to do. We should be able to trust God about our lives, businesses and family with our eyes closed. So when you put your vision board down it doesn’t mean you are giving up. If something is destined for you whether you take a break or not. It will come.

6. Have a lunch date with a friend. Covid 19 affected a lot people’s budgets and if your bank balance does not allow you to go out.  Schedule a WhatsApp  call and have one on one time with your friend. Quality time with people we love gets us into a happy space and if you are happy you are not going to be obsessed with goals etc.

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I’m sure we are all crawling into the indefinite lockdown. I had the mindset that new beginnings, new chapters and revival start in January. But knowing what I know now, the planning and aligning starts now, in the lockdown. Let’s face it 2020 has not been the girl we all thought it would be. Our travelling plans were discarded of months ago, our (well at least mine) trainers for that fitness resolution haven’t seen the light of day and it can be a little depressing thinking the second lockdown might end with not much being achieved. Fortunately for us with time at home comes some hope and some time to realign ourselves. Consider these subtle lifestyle changes to get your mind right for this year.

Declutter 101

Decluttering is a therapeutic act that will get your mind right for the year. I’m sure you have heard the saying “cleanliness is next to godliness”. My own interpretation of that saying is that, when you have a clean, decluttered environment you are able to refocus your mind and set achievable goals for yourself. Now, I am no saint in the decluttering world, and I have a long way to go to achieve my ideal fung shui environment but these few tips have been helping me get there.

1.So to start off with you can pick a place that you really know needs some cleaning up. For me its always my bedside drawers, a lot of junk resides there so that’s where I would start.

2. See what you would like to keep and what needs to be thrown out. You can also make a ‘maybe’ pile. When weeding out the maybe pile try ask yourself if you really need whatever it is and you will never find something like it. If no…throw…it…out/give it away!

3. Phasing yourself is also a great idea for big projects like your house, wardrobe etc. You can find one item that you havent used in months each day. If you give away or throw out one item each day, in a year you have decluttered your life by 365 items.

 

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I found a place where we could all sit. I was on time, as usual, so I twiddled on my phone while I waited for everyone to arrive. The live band was playing and the place was buzzing with people and excitement. I was distracted by the sultry guitar strings; I didn’t even notice Panashe had arrived. I jumped up and hugged her. It had been weeks since I had seen her.

Panashe was the person you pictured when someone said “free-spirit”. I was the shy, wall flower type but she was the life of the party. She was loud and unapologetic. I’m sure everyone has that friend who just turns heads. Her effervescent personality was contagious. She knew everyone or if she didn’t know you, you’d be best friends by the end of the night. Although I rarely got to see her because she was on an adventure every other weekend, the times we did meet up we knew we would have fun. She was always trying to get everyone together for drinks or a movie-hell she’d suggested we meet at the restaurant today. From the time we had met at a mutual friend’s party, I can truly say I had come out of my shell in strides. She sat down and ordered a drink, “Why are these girls always late?” she asked and we both laughed.

It wasn’t long till Samantha and Gamu arrived. Samantha and I had been friends forever, I can’t remember when we actually became close friends, it just happened. I believe everyone should have a Samantha at one point or another in their lives. She was understanding and trustworthy-my confidant. With all friendship groups there is always that one person you tell your deepest, darkest, embarrassing secrets to. Samantha was that friend. She always had a listening ear when I had to talk about my boy drama, my crazy African household or an annoying colleague. I was so grateful that she was in my life because despite all my terrible decision-making, she remained in my corner. I could depend on her. That’s not to say that she didn’t have her own problems, but she had taught me to be positive even when your house is on fire and there is no ZINWA.

I had met Gamu just a few months . But she was those people who grow on you and you have no control over it. She had older sibling vibes. That girl who just seemed to have her life in order. She had a good head on her shoulders and the best part is that she wasn’t afraid to motivate you to be the best version of yourself. She had done everything expected of us-gone to school, graduated and started working at a top company in the CBD. What I admired the most about her was that besides following the straight and narrow she had opened her own business and she was following her dreams. In so many ways, I admired her and I wanted to emulate her. There were occasions where I would run ideas past her and she would prod and poke holes in my plans-assisting me to modify what I had come up with. After she had showered me with a multitude of “you can do this” and “believe in yourself” I was planning on starting a little side hustle of my own.

So we sat and ordered drinks while we waited for the last of our little gang to join us. And as is the custom where women gather, conversation turned from the best boutiques to buy clothes to gossip. Samantha expressed her dismay in how an old friend only looked to her when she needed something-be it money, a dress to go out or a business favour. Panashe chimed in about toxic friends-the truth is good friends are hard to come by. At a certain age you realise that some friendships don’t serve you anymore and you have to let go.

Finally, Bongi arrived, late as usual with a detailed explanation about how she had woken up late and all her plans had been delayed. We all laughed, rolled our eyes and told her we were starving because of we had been gracious and waited for her. Bongi was the sweetest, kindest person-till you crossed her. She had a big heart and protected her friends fiercely. In life you need people you can call to a fight. You know how sometimes you want to confront your man about his cheating ways, she was the friend who would drive the getaway car and probably speak up for you when you couldn’t. I also appreciated her honesty. She would tell you the truth if you were making questionable money decisions or if you were compromising your self-worth for a man. Honesty and loyalty are qualities we all need in our friendships.

The chats continued well into the afternoon. I was so glad to be spending time with my friends finally.

 

Sadly it’s still Corona time and I just had to let my imagination run wild for International Friendship Day. The characters are completely made up but I have based them on some of the best friendships I’ve had in my life. I believe everyone should have:

A Panashe-someone who will push you out of your comfort zone, and make you enjoy life

A Samantha-someone who will keep your secrets, and comfort you in tough times

A Gamu-someone who motivates and inspires you to achieve the goals you put in place

A Bongi-someone who is brutally honest with you

 

Which friend do you think you are?

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So apparently, there are several negative connotations when someone reveals they have taken the online dating path. Online dating is basically just that-getting to know someone, romantically, without physically meeting them. In the past, dating online was viewed as the last resort for the 35-plus ‘spinsters‘ who couldn’t find anyone in their dating pool and had to resort to the internet.

Of course, there is still resistance to going the online route, and with good reason-there are married men trying to get a girlfriend, cat-fishers (people who look like supermodels on their profiles but  look anything but in person) and predators on the internet. But if you are anything like me, a reserved lady of a certain age still living in a very African home, this might be a way to meet some interesting people.

  1. Your profile is everything

Right! So you have decided to go online and meet some people. Your profile is everything on these sites. If you join Tinder its the only thing your potential matches get to see (just a picture and a little bit about yourself). That first impression is all he has to go on. In the few years I have been in the game I have seen some really interesting profiles. If you are really being genuine about making true connections a simple, friendly picture will do. It could be a picture of you doing something that interests you or a sweet selfie. The last thing you want to post is a filtered picture-it gets awkward on the first date when he can’t recognize you.

2. Be Ruthless With Your Choices

Your profile is up and running and you have met a few guys who seem intriguing. Off the bat you should be weeding out what you like and don’t like. Most websites sort of do it for you, you can communicate, exclusively with people you have shown interest in. I can’t stand shorthand, its a serious pet peeve, so as soon as someone greets me with a “Hi hw u duin?”, I’m unfriending, or unmatching, or blocking. One problem we have as women is that we have been conditioned to be nice and sometimes we are forced into entertaining advances when we really aren’t interested. But when you are online you don’t have to keep a conversation going, or keep up pretenses.

3. You must Investigate

A huge issue various people complain about with online dating is that people love to lie! Trust me, I have seen married people on these websites and it pains me. It’s fine in the initial stages of getting to know each other for conversations to be carefree, but at some point BEFORE you catch feelings please do some digging. Usually you have just a first name and a face to go by so you can ask friends if they have heard of your person of interest. If you are on Tinder (where most people are just looking for a good time) you could sift through profiles, usually men who pay for the passport are on the more serious side.  I personally recommend meeting the person relatively early on too. Firstly, you can establish if the profile matches the person and secondly you’ll see if you are wasting your time. Sometimes sparks are fling online and then you meet and its a sad disaster. Meeting in a public place the first few times is also essential. There are creeps out there so you want to weed out the “Babe, let’s Netflix at my place” types. Although the experience might be thrilling, you always have to remember to keep yourself safe.

4. Never Compromise Yourself

Stick to your values. It sounds obvious to say stick to your values and all but when you are busy texting a love interest sometimes you get carried away. Have you met girls who then regret sending the guy nudes, or lending an online bae money that she is never going to get back?  That’s what you need to avoid! In some cases its a form of grooming. Be careful of people who try to isolate you from your friends and family, it begins with an innocent friendship so be on your guard.

 

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On the 25th of May every year, the continent celebrates the liberation of Africans from colonialism and the formation of Africa Union. The AU recognises that for the African woman, there is a multitude of problems that still need to be addressed for us to get to the top. I could write a book! I like how the character Mai Shingayi in Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga put it,

“with the poverty of blackness on one side and the weight of womanhood on the other. Aiwa! What will help you my child is to learn to carry your burdens with strength.”

With that in the back of our minds, there are a few ways that the ‘blackness’ is being celebrated in our daily lives. We are in an age where the blackness is slowly becoming a symbol of power and wealth rather than that of poverty. Our African identity has become a more predominant aspect of our lives. There is a sense of pride in being African. I took to the Instagram streets to find out what makes women proud to be African in the 21st century.

What a time to be African – “my kinks and curls”

It’s a pity that it has taken us so long to accept our natural hair. Individuals my age were subjected to hot stones and relaxer for as far back as we could remember. But the natural hair revolution that started in the 60s in America, has also been accepted here in Africa too. It is weird when you think that the Anglicised version of our hair was glorified for so long. I remember a time when I walked into the complex of my former place of employment and one of my female bosses asked me why my natural hair was out and her assumption was – I wasn’t getting paid enough to get my hair done. It hurt, but I didn’t blame her, purely because so many women are told natural hair is not professional. I’m glad we all know better now, we know that that our hair is our crown (even the Bible says so) and we accept the kinks and curls on our heads.

What a time to be African – “when the drum beats”

African music is one of the biggest aspects of our daily lives. The comedian Trevor Noah once joked about how South Africans express their anger through dance and song -a complete paradox. But that is how Africans are, music was a great part of liberation across the continent. It is a large identifier for us and it’s clear that there is an appreciation worldwide. Coincidentally on the 21st of May, the Interactive Google Doodle was in celebration of the Zimbabwean instrument, the Mbira. People across the globe were able to practice their skills through the doodle and learn some interesting aspects of Shona culture. Music was one of the most prominent responses I received from my follows citing the great works of Oliver Mtukuzi to Babes Wodumo, from afrojazz to house to amapiano, we can all agree that the heart of Africa is our music.

What a time to be African – “the arts”

It’s so great to see that we Africans have found a voice for ourselves in the arts. From my first Literature lesson I have tried to soak up as much African Literature as I can. African women have found a voice in literature – a few names from the top of my head: Noviolet Bulawayo, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi (you might recognise her prose from Beyonce’s song, Flawless ), Petina Gappah and so many more. With the filming of Black Panther in 2018, there were even more searches regarding Africa. Although the city of Wakanda was purely fictional, it reflected black excellence and tried to incorporate different African cultures and beliefs. The most important aspect, in my view, was the depiction of African women as strong and resilient people, able to occupy positions of authority (our own Danai Gurira made us proud).

African expression is also depicted in our fashion. The epitome of occupying spaces was when Nigerian women were full force at the Vienna Fashion Week in Austria showcasing fashion and dance. Bright patterns and colourful fabrics are now incorporated into our formal attire.

What a time to be African – “the continent”

We have a beautiful continent, we have Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mosi-oa-Tunya (or alternatively known as Victoria Falls) and the Red Sea Reef for crying out loud! If you have a bit of cash to spare (and after the lockdown of course) the best investment you could make is exploring the beauty Africa has to offer by travelling. In Zimbabwe alone there are so many places to visit and appreciate the wonder that is nature. There are various lifestyle blogs that document trips around Zimbabwe, and it can be surprisingly affordable. Personally, I have a little bucket list drawn up and I try to visit as many places as my pocket can allow.

 

These are just a few reasons why we are proud to be African. In some ways it is now easier to be a woman and African and express yourself as such. There is so much that still needs to be addressed such as patriarchy, gender parity and the empowerment but for now we will enjoy these milestones.

Anesu

 

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With all of us confined in our homes due to the COVID-19 lockdown, getting a Mothers’ Day Gift this year was a little tricky. If you are a procrastinating queen like me, its usually easy to go to the nearest store and grab a box of chocolates, some flowers or a cute card – but this year it was not as easy to travel to the CBD. What’s more, considering the economic situation it will definitely be difficult to break the bank for that special gift.

Here are a few ideas on how to treat your mom for Mothers’ Day:

1. Gift Delivery Shops

If you have some money in your piggy bank, you could consider getting a gift delivered straight to your doorstep. Several companies are resorting to delivering Mothers’ Day gifts to their clients’ homes. Gift stores are delivering cupcakes, flower bouquets, accessories and more. To start you off you can check out Amazing Creations Zim, Lindsays Cuisine, The Lily Pad, Nematombo Events, Love Visibly etc.

2. Breakfast in Bed

The oldest trick in the book, but very effective. Mothers work so hard and deserve to be pampered on their special day. Making a hearty breakfast for mom might be the best gift to start her day and make her feel special. You might have to wake up pretty early to prepare the meal because most Zimbabwean mothers wake up at the crack of dawn! If you are gifted in the kitchen you could also bake cupcakes or a cake for her sweet tooth.

 

Smartphone, Phone, Call, Iphone, Mobile, Technology

3. Check Up

If you are away from your mom during the lockdown the best gift might be to have a video call with her. It’s good to put some time aside for a special call where we can remininse about the good times when we were allowed to leave the confines of our homes. Communication is key for many mothers, if you are in good books with her neighbours, you can ask them to check up on her. In the case that you don’t have that much data, where you and your siblings are scattered around the globe, you can compile a video of well wishing messages.

4. DIY Spa Day

If you are good with your hands, a personal spa day might be the way to make her feel appreciated. You can set up a mini spa area for mani pedis. For a foot bath all you will need is a warm water bath, epsom salts or apple cider vinegar. To scrub your feet brown sugar goes a long way. Then you can paint the nails to your mom’s desired choice.You can use ingredients right from your kitchen for facial masks, such as avocado or a tumeric and plain yogurt mask.

 

5. Affirmation Jar

For a really sentimental and soppy gift you can try make what I call affirmation jars. All you need really is a jar, a pen and some paper. You will proceed to write a special message for your mom and you determine when she gets to read the messages. Leave a little note specifying “Read one when you need to smile” of “365 notes why I love you Mom”. The nice thing about this gift is you can write whatever you want.

 

 

6. For the Mom Who Loves to Read

You’ll need a bit of data for this one. When the lockdown began various online book providers announced that they were allowing users to subscribe and download books for free. If your mom loves to read, be it romance or fiction, you could consider gifting her with a personalised online library on her phone. For starters, you can check Wattpad, or peruse a wide range of free ebooks on pdfdrive.net.

Mothers’ Day this year was quite different with all of us in our homes. But you can make the most of it in your own little way and make her day special.

How did you spend your Mother’s Day? What did you get for her?

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