I Got Hitched


, , ,


It was in December 2009 when we first met. We both lived in the beautiful Equestria Estates, Pretoria, South Africa. Little did we know that we were going to fall in love, go through lobola negotiations, the actual lobola and get married on Saturday, 2 May 2015. I’ve been away from my blog and the social space because of debilitating migraines and wedding planning. All of that is in the past and I am now Mrs Hlengiwe Shakung. My husband Itumeleng,  whom I so affectionately call Sunshine, finally got to marry his Dreamgirl (me of course) 2 months ago.

Having come out of disappointing relationships, we didn’t see ourselves getting involved with anyone after our experiences. What’s more, we had never dreamed of ever getting married. Now, here we are. We met, then went our separate ways. When we met again, we had an interesting journey together that got us to where we are now, and this is how it all began:

I had recently injured my foot – I tore a tendon and was given an aircast to help me heal and assist me when walking. It didn’t help much that I lived and worked in 2 different towns, I didn’t have a car and I lived very far from all amenities. What a nightmare. I had to walk for about 10 minutes (with both of my feet functioning well) to the gate to catch a taxi, I was required to take 3 taxis to get to work and my healing process was not made any easier. I lived alone and did everything for myself. I liked it that way, until my injury. I’m still not 100% as to how I hurt myself, but I’m pretty sure that it had something to do with me playing tennis while wearing flip flops – very ‘smart’.

One November afternoon while limping to my apartment, a car stopped next to me and a man inside signalled and mouthed, “Would you like a lift?” I hesitated then replied, “No thank you, I’m okay.”

I still can’t believe that you said no. Yes, I was the one who stopped to give her a lift. I saw a young lady, walking very slowly, wearing that heavy looking thing on her foot and worst of all it looked like it was going to rain. I was never a fan of giving women a lift in my car, especially after an incident that occurred some years ago. This was a first for me and there was just no way that I could’ve driven past her.

Well, you know me, I wasn’t and still am not a fan of accepting lifts from strangers, especially men who might drive off with me or make a move on me. I wasn’t in the mood for that. I’m never in the mood for that. I did give in eventually, because I had already been caught in the rain the previous week and I was just so exhausted.

I was happy when you did that because you had me very worried. You looked so beautiful and so fragile. I couldn’t just drive away. Beautiful as you were, I wasn’t going to make a move on you because you looked very young, not in an illegal kind of way. But you just looked too young for me. Little did I know…

I won’t lie, I felt like your knight in shining armour and I was going to sleep with a smile on my face because I had done a very good deed that day.

Yes, it was a very good deed that you did. I got into the car and off we went. We didn’t exchange names or numbers and I was thrilled about that. Remember?

Yes, I do. At least I asked what had happened to you – that showed that I cared.

My last thought as you drove off after dropping me off: “I wonder if he knows just how much I appreciate this and just how much he has helped me. Thank you God.”

My last thought as I drove off, “I hope she will be okay. I wish I can see her again.”


Pet Peeves and all of Those Irritations

We all have pet peeves. You know, those little things that are not always so little. The things which people do that get us so annoyed to the point of almost pulling out our hair, screaming or committing murder. Some days and sometimes, it takes a strong person to walk away from a situation that is pet peeve loaded. I have a couple of these pet peeve issues, some of which I share with friends, family and other people of this world. Here’s my list of ten:

  1. Accept the Answer – Don’t you just hate it when somebody asks you a question, and when you give them your answer, they don’t like it and try to convince you otherwise. These questions usually start with, “Do you think…” and in the end, your thoughts and opinion almost don’t matter any longer.
  1. Personal Space Invader – This is one of the worst. Have you ever stood in a queue, and felt someone’s body part/s touching you? I hate standing in a queue because there is always that person who doesn’t realise just how wrong it is to not give another person some personal space. That person who will have almost a kilometre of space available behind them, but still insist on standing right on top of you. And it’s worse when it’s an extremely hot day and there’s lots of sweat lurking around. Eww! I lose it. My first move is to change my stance. I stand sideways with my legs slightly apart, marking with one of my feet, just how far you should be from me, and then I tell you exactly what to do with my stare. If you refuse to cooperate I just lose it and scream at you to please stay away from me. That always does the trick.
  1. Storytelling Chatterbox – Those people who just don’t stop talking, especially those who make up stories most of the conversation. I hate liars and I hate people who make up stories just for the sake of filling the beautiful silence that I could be enjoying. You can almost always tell all of the lies that come out of that chatterbox’s mouth. It’s shameful and a waste of time.
  1. To Borrow or to have – People have a tendency of borrowing something that belongs to you…forever (see my upcoming blog post). It’s as if they don’t know the proper meaning of the term “borrow”. You get that person who comes to you and uses the words, “Please may I BORROW…”. They use the word borrow but never return the borrowed item. What’s worse is when they inconvenience you by borrowing the borrowed item, then once they’re situation of being in need passes, they relax, continue with their lives and forget that they owe you something. Inconsiderate people. I see this as one of the highest forms of disrespect. It’s disgusting. Don’t do that to me.
  1. RSVP courtesy – I love organising events, even if it’s just a small birthday celebration for 10 people. One of the irritations is not getting an RSVP from invited guests. I recently got married, and that was one of the few challenges that we had to deal with and it was very annoying. A simple “Yes, I’ll be there” or “No, I will not be able to make it” is all that you ask for, but you get this large number of people who just don’t see the point in doing that. You are either attending or you are not, and you definitely know which box to tick. Not RSVPing is a major inconvenience people. One needs to make payments, organise the catering, invite other people if need be, sort out the venue, the works. Please RSVP for any event that requires you to RSVP. It may not be important to you but it’s important to the organiser.
  1. The Mirror Effect – “Do unto me as you’d have me do unto you.” I believe that’s how the saying goes. This goes out to all the hypocrites. I hate it when someone expects me to do something or act in a certain way, when they do the total opposite. If you want me to be nice to you, then please be nice to me. If you want respect, then you will demonstrate respect. This works in friendships and all kinds of relationships. You get what you give. So if you can’t give it, don’t expect it.
  1. Hyperactive Brats – I know just how hard it is to be a parent, especially to hyperactive toddlers, in public. But there are just some tiny little things that get to me when it comes to parents who are out in public with their little brats. I don’t like or appreciate being in a bus or any form of public transportation with your kid next to me (almost on top of me), eating the stickiest, soggiest or greasiest food which could easily make me dirty. That situation is easily avoidable if the parent is paying attention and doesn’t allow their eating child anywhere near you. Just like it can get annoying sitting in a restaurant and having a little brat running and playing around your table, which is nowhere near the play area or the parents’ table. Please watch your kids. There are some people who lose it a whole lot more than I do.
  1. The Non-Apologetic One – People who don’t apologise because they are too proud to apologise. Now that’s just wrong. Drop that pride and ego. Clearly it’s not good for you if that’s what you will use it for. Stand up, apologise and be proud to do that. It’s that simple. I just can’t add more to that.
  1. Why So Rude – I hate people who are rude, young or grown up, especially if it’s undeserving. There are some people who are just born to be rude. You greet them, they are rude to you. They want something from you; they demand it and are rude about. You get that grown up who wants a seat in a bus and forcefully removes a child from the seat and shouts at them, stating how rude they are for not standing up immediately when the grown up appeared…meanwhile, there’s another empty seat in the next row. I can’t even sit on the sidelines watching this behaviour. Young or old, please don’t be rude to another human being, especially if you have just met them and they haven’t done anything terrible to you.
  1. The Male Chauvinist – “A woman’s place is in the kitchen.” “A woman can never be the bread winner in the household.” “Sweetie. Darling. Sexy.” All of this name calling and he doesn’t even know you. Any man who speaks down on a woman or is still stuck in that age old traditional mindset about what makes a woman, is not and cannot be my friend. I can’t stand a man who thinks so less of you because you’re a woman. It makes me cringe when a man talks down on me or another woman unnecessarily. Well, I’ve got a few words for you Mr Chauvinist. “Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do ANYTHING better than you.” Do bear in mind that chauvinists do not only come in male form. But, that’s a story for another day.

People Come, People Go (Part2)


, , ,

So, my last post was about people who have come into my life, about those who have been around for the longest time, and some who have drifted away. I focused on people who have meant the world to me since the beginning of my existence. This list was incomplete. A lot of people have meant a lot to me. Also, I realised that I mainly focused on my girls. Having grown up as a tom boy, rarely ever getting to go and visit her female friends, I usually found myself stuck with my brother’s friends and other male relatives or friends. I also developed great relationships with some really awesome dudes. Friendships that meant the world to me. Sadly, I’ve lost touch with a lot of these guys. But they were my rock and reason to be happy with life at some point, and they also deserve a mention.

Ntokozo Sibiya – Or Wowozo, as my brother used to call him when he was much younger because he couldn’t say Ntokozo’s name. Ntokozo, a good childhood friend. Our friendship developed through our parents being very good friends. If ever my parents were away, we’d be at Ntokozo’s house. If we we wanted to visit a friend after school, it would be Ntokozo. My brother Sam, Ntokozo and I were the three musketeers. I don’t think that there was ever a week that could go by without us getting into any kind of trouble. We were constantly shouted at for laying probably a 30cm ruler away from the TV when watching, we were always threatened that if we didn’t finish our food, we’d be flushed down the toilet (a very scary thought back then, especially when you believed it was possible), and lots more funny stories. I remember Ntokozo’s mom once sending us to the store to buy bread and I don’t know what else. Veli, Ntokozo’s sister, was present that day. And what did we decide to do? We decided we’d all go to the store using ONE BICYCLE. Veli was the “designated driver”, Ntokozo sat behind Veli, Sam sat on the handle bars and I was on the top tube. Off we went, giggles and all. The trip to the store wasn’t completed on the bike because tiny steep hills happen. But the trip back home was exhilarating. Little us felt like daredevils who could do just about anything. Unfortunately, the Sibiyas relocated to Johannesburg, South Africa and we were one friend down. When I moved to this city of gold, we reconnected for a while. Life was fun when it was the three of us, with the bestest first friend that anyone could ask for.

Barry Hughes – I think my tom-boyishness and love for PC games caused this friendship to flourish. When my family moved to Big Bend, we lived in a very remote area known as the Big Bend Sugar Estate. It was a lovely place, but we didn’t have any friends that lived nearby. I was very convinced that my father had picked that location on purpose, to keep us away from anyone and anything. At least my brother and I had one another. Then, about 2 years later, the Hughes’ moved to BBSE and we finally had a friend close by. With my father constantly forgetting to pick us up from school, Mr and Mrs Hughes were kind enough to let us travel with them to school and back home on most days. Barry was my classmate and he became a very good friend. For a moment, some people just didn’t understand this friendship, and they had to try and make it out to be more than it was. Barry also got on well with my brother, so once again, we had a new buddy. We spent many afternoons together at our place playing computer games, or we’d be at his place. One of the things that meant a lot to me was waking up on my birthday to a cold, wet and gloomy morning. We were on school holiday I believe. That was a time when we didn’t even have TV at home because my dad decided to cancel our DSTV subscription, which meant no TV. Barry came to fetch my brother and I. We watched the Lion King at his place, one of my all time favourites; with a cup of hot chocolate and some few munchable treats. I was in heaven. Even though Barry wasn’t aware it was my birthday that day, he did a great thing and made my day. Now, who says God doesn’t send down angels in the form of great friends?

Tinotenda Kavumbura –  Another friendship developed from the love of computer games. My primary school boyfriend whom I barely spoke to or even said hello to. After this little phase, we became good friends. We shared music, movies and PC games. I was happy. Tino was the reason I know Blink 182 and Evanescence, the reason my father got to know Eminem and he was my go to person when I wanted to sing along to the likes of Aqua, Backstreet Boys and Vengaboys. Sigh…Those were the days. The other thing about Tino was that he knew how to read me pretty well. I could be feeling really low and he would ask how I was doing. Even though I’d cover up my true thoughts and feelings with, “Nothing’s wrong, I’m okay,” he always knew if I wasn’t okay, better than anyone I knew. And he was always there to give me a movie or music that could help me feel better. I know the one thing I bothered Tino with frequently was his Shrek video tape. I fell in love with Shrek after being introduced to it by him. My mom even got tired of the green monster, or so she says. There was a time in high school when this friendship turned sour. But the air was cleared up eventually and we were buddies again. As always, Tino also became good friends with Sam. At times he’d even come over just to talk music with my brother or to have jam sessions – Tino on his guitar, Sam on the drums, and on one or two occasions, I joined in with the keyboard. The best was doing our performance of Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated” at one of our high school events. Fun times I tell you.

Benele Mabaso – Maburns! A friendship that came about after I ranted, “I hate you, I hate you,” over and over to the poor guy. Don’t ask. Even I barely remember that, and I’m glad I don’t. Benele was a very gentle soul. He was the guy that i had never seen upset for many of our years together, until much later on in our high school years. Benele and I didn’t do the visiting each other thing, so our relationship mainly flourished while we were at school, in high school to be accurate. He would share all of his stories which he couldn’t share with his boys. We’d chat about whatever. We even had code names for some of his crushes, so that when we’d talk about them, no-one would know who we were talking about. Benele was the one that topped my 16th birthday with an entire bag of my favourite goodies. I’ve never been the expensive chocolates or chocolates with nuts kinda girl. And Benele gave me a whole bag of Kit Kats, Texes, and all my favourite goodies. What a gem. He never forgot my birthday. He was like the little angel sent to remind me that I existed for a reason. Always had positive words to share when I was having my ultimate lows. One of the few treasured people in my life that I really prayed for and asked God to take good care of. Varsities in different provinces pulled us apart, but distance had nothing on the good times shared.

Ndumiso Dlamini – A summarised timeline of the development of this friendship: My first primary school “boyfriend” whom I never dared to speak to. I don’t know why we even did that. This moved on to a lot of teasing and Ndumiso making fun of me. There was never any tears so that was okay. Then, one day, we just became good friends. No computer games were exchanged, but there were many jokes, lots of music and stories shared between us. We could be having a conversation and he would fend off other females saying no girls allowed, which would baffle some people because hello, I am a female too. But, I blended in just fine with the guys as I was always one of the guys when growing up. I remember Ndumiso trying to introduce me to some soul music because my life was cramped with “typical white music”. It never really worked, but he almost won me over with Musiq Soulchild, whom I enjoy listening to now. Being in different classes meant rushing to him during break time to share funny stories from class or home. With Ndumiso around, I was always guaranteed to walk away laughing. This was a very happy and healthy relationship.

I’m telling you now, if you’ve ever had any friends or relationships as good as this, hold on to them and don’t let go. People and relationships like this are to be treasured for life as they can be very rare to find.

People Come, People Go (Part1)


, , , ,

“People come, people go – they’ll drift in and out of your life, almost like characters in your favourite book. When you finally close the cover, the characters have told their story and you start up again with another book, complete with new characters and adventures. Then you find yourself focusing on the new ones, not the ones from the past.”― Nicholas Spark

Yes, people come and people go. We meet people every day; at school, in our communities, at work, in church, at the store, on the streets, at parties – EVERY WHERE! Some of those people that we meet make some sort of impact in our lives and end up becoming our friends. The saddest thing is when someone comes into your life only for a season. Someone that you have loved with all of your heart one day can, quite literally, vanish from your life without warning. Not necessarily from death or anything tragic. Sometimes trivial circumstances can take a best friend, a lover or a partner right out of your hands, never to be seen again. Sometimes people change, and sometimes, people simply just drift away from your life without reason.

I have seen a lot of people come and go in my life because of changes I have had in my life, distance, work and I’ve lost a few people to death (thankfully only a few). Sometimes we have to learn when to let go and continue on our journey. It takes an incredible kind of courage, reflection and acceptance for one to see the need to move forward and know when to move forward. People come and go, but that one thing that they’re always sure to leave behind are memories. I’ve had those kinds of special people in my life. Some I have lost touch with; some I was used to seeing every day but cannot anymore; and some have passed on. Like many people out there I’ve had to adjust to all of these changes. Those [few] who’ve made that significant impact in my life:

Gogo and Mkhulu Mamba (Grandma and Grandpa Mamba) – If you read my first blog series where I introduced myself, particularly Part 3 of 4 of the series, you’ll have an idea that my grandparents meant a lot to me. They died when I was very young. I didn’t understand death very much at that time, but as I started growing up and noticing that they were gone forever, I felt a very deep void and missed them terribly almost every day. My parents used to take us to visit them on various weekends. I remember my grandmother’s smile as well as my grandfather’s smile and voice. I remember their laughs. I remember listening in on my grandmother’s phone conversation from the line by the entrance hall – I was fascinated by the whole thing. She shouted at me over the phone and I got a huge fright because I thought that she must have seen me somehow. I also remember the fireplace in the winters, and how Kenyata and Bush (the 2 sausage dogs) would sleep in front of the fire and fart while sleeping in comfort. My grandfather would get upset and chase the dogs to the kitchen. It was hilarious. I may not remember every single thing conversation or moment that we shared, but that is one relationship that I wish I still had in my life today.

Nolwazi Gumbi – I met Nolwazi in 1998 when we moved to Big Bend and I started attending school at Ubombo Primary School (UPS). She was this tall, smart, quiet girl who made me realise my potential. I remember seeing her collect a book prize in my first year at UPS in Grade 5, and I remember thinking that, “I want to be smart like her.” Our relationship didn’t solidify until we went to high school. We were in the same homeroom, so we found comfort in having each other’s familiar faces. We’d talk about anything and everything. If we couldn’t gossip in class, we always had our letters which we wrote to each other. Imagine, best friends in the same class, and yet, we just couldn’t get enough of each other and always chatting ☺. I don’t think that the young’uns of today do that. We would laugh together, even if our teachers sat us apart. We laughed at each other and other people and funny moments. We even created a code language and code names which we would use when we felt the stuff we wanted to discuss was too sensitive for other ears. I don’t remember us ever having an argument – and no, that doesn’t mean that we can’t have been friends. We spoke about a lot of heartfelt things and spoke the truth with one another. I really valued my friendship with Nolwazi and I still do. A friendship truly made in heaven.

Nomkhosi Dlamini – I also met Nomkhosi at UPS. We became good friends in Grade 6, and Mrs Barbour even called us twins. This wasn’t because we looked alike, but most probably because we spent a lot of time together and got on very well. Nomkhosi and I also exchanged letters constantly, even though we were good buddies. Then she went on a mission – to write the most letters to me and reach a target of a 100 letters. She made it – only because she started including the little notes she’d pass to me during class. I always enjoyed going to Nomkhosi’s place because of the sisterly love at her place – Nomkhosi has 4 sisters. Being at the Dlamini household made me want to have many siblings, more especially many sisters, so that I could also borrow their clothes and shoes every now and then. During most of our sporting Saturday afternoons at school, Nomkhosi’s mom would be there and provide support and I always appreciated her showing me some love too, mainly because my parents rarely ever made it. We’d dance at our school “bashes” (the word bash makes me cringe today) and just go crazy on the dance floor. Even as a non-talented dancer, with her around, it didn’t matter to me. Nomkhosi always made me happy and carefree.

Elisha Singh – Came into my life on my first day of college in February 2006 at the Midrand Graduate Institute. We met by the graphic design department notice board. At the end of the day, we sat together in the canteen, waiting for her sister to pick her up and getting to know one another. Elisha lived with her sister a few kilometres away from campus and I lived on campus at the res. She finally moved to the student apartments next door to the res the following year, so that was great. I enjoyed having her next door. We went through a lot together on campus – the good, the bad and the embarrassing. We were together almost all the time, and me not having a boyfriend throughout my campus life and being tom boyish, made some people think that we were an item or that we got up to some nasty stuff behind closed doors, including some of our lecturers. See, Elisha is gorgeous, so almost everyone wanted to be with her and most times, I was “in the way”. Sigh… When we left varsity and had to start working, it was very odd and not so nice being apart – but we adjusted. We weren’t able to meet as often as we’d hoped, but we still tried. Now, we’re oceans apart – I’m in SA and she’s in the US. That’s obviously meant DRASTIC changes. But one learns to grow and move on.

Zwakele Dlomo Zondo – My childhood friend and sister from another mother. I (somewhat) lived for our holiday visits to their home; running around in the house and getting up to mischief. Also, one of the highlights of visiting Zwakele was that I could finally be with a “girlfriend”, as we always had guys sleeping over at our place – I never got to have friends to sleepover and I never got to sleepover at friends’ houses. And when at Zwakele’s place, her friends would also come to visit during the day and for those moments, I’d finally have female interaction, which I felt really deprived of most of my childhood years. I remember one afternoon, Zwakele, the girls and I were walking Manini (one of Zwakele’s friends) to her house. Along the way, we heard music and kids laughing nearby. We went into the yard with this commotion and found that there was a kid’s party. We gate crashed. We did a little dance routine, I forgot to what song. We hadn’t rehearsed or anything, but we played it by ear and we killed it! Then we proceeded to get food and we ran back home as it was getting dark. Boy did we get into trouble. But we had tons of fun that day and many other days. At least Zwaki is still around as well and we still get to reach out every once in a while.

Phatsimo Mbhamali Tafa – My ride or die MGI comrade, my one and only awesome Swazi friend from college. I’ve never had much luck making Swazi friends, but Phatsi and I met once and hit it off. Whenever I felt like a piece of home while at campus, I knew who to run to. And whenever someone judged me for not having a man in my life (as if that’s ever been a problem), I knew Phatsi got me. My tennis buddy, my baking buddy. Every Wednesday we’d play a game of tennis together and every once in a while we’d bake some goodies and give each other a taste. I miss my campus days with Phatsi. She made living at Mda (our res block) a little more heavenly. Even tho we are two countries apart, working different fields and with other special people in our lives, I still treasure my Phatsimo.

I am very thankful for the people that I’ve met in my lifetime and mostly for those that I still have in my life. I’ve learnt that distance doesn`t matter in friendship – it’s all about great and constant communication, and constant could be as often as once a month ☺. It only makes the relationship stronger. As for the ones that left, I accepted that it was for them time to go and that I did the right thing letting them go because…

People come, people go.

Dove – Challenge Completed


, , , ,

I feel the difference! I feel good!

The Dove beauty bar leaves a girl feeling really f-resh.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I took the Dove challenge. What exactly did I do?

  • I bought myself 2 Dove beauty bars
  • I used Dove in the morning and evening everyday
  • I used it to wash my face (and my body after Day 2 *smiles*)
  • My brother took a picture of me after 7 days

Day 7 of my Dove challenge came at the right time, as I was attending a friend’s wedding. So that felt like the perfect time for me to go show off my face *smiles*

I have to be honest – I couldn’t spot much of a difference on my face, but there was a 7 day difference:

  • My face had a smoothness that wasn’t there during my pre-Dove life.
  • The area between my eyebrows was always so dry, even when I tried a certain exfoliation face wash. The Dove beauty bar seems to have been all that I needed.
  • My cheeks and jaw line on the other hand had a tendency of becoming very oily. Dove managed to provide oil control
  • My Sunshine even noticed a difference
    • He stared at me out in the courtyard while at the wedding, with a smile on his face and said, “Baby, you’re beautiful.”* Of course he says that almost every day. But it still counts, right?
    • He stroked my face and commented, “Wow, I’m jealous. Your face is so nice and smooth. How did you do that?”*

That was enough to put a smile on my face so I didn’t just leave the challenge on Day 7; I continued using it for 30 days and I’ve added the Dove bar to my toiletries shopping list.

Like I said: I feel the difference! I feel good!

Try it for yourself.

Cameras are not my best friends, but I did try to take pictures after the challenge.

Dove Photoshoot Post 7 Day Challenge

Dove Photoshoot the Post 7 Day Challenge

*Words taken from my Sunshine

Dove – The Seven Day Challenge


, , , , ,

Social Media, one of the worst and best things to have come into our lives – in our personal lives and for businesses big and small. This has become a key tool in brand marketing, launching of products and for brand awareness.

I’m a big fan of Twitter. Who would’ve thought? 5 years ago, I didn’t care about it and I only had great words for Facebook. Now, the tables have turned. Both mediums are no strangers to brand marketing and the likes. Everyday, there is a product, event or company being advertised. Some tempt you to click on them. Some don’t move you and have you scrolling on, carrying on with your life as it was. Then there’s just those ads that stare at you for days on end, the ads that just stay there for a day, weeks and sometimes even for months. The latest “in-my face” ad campaign to bless my sacred social pages is that of the “Dove Wants You”/ Dove 7 Day Challenge.

This has been on Twitter, Facebook and TV even. I really didn’t really care much about it. Everyday, I’d TRY not to pay attention to it. But the way that it keeps inviting itself into my life, I could swear the powers that be from Dove know that I’ve been ignoring them. I even thought that, maybe that’s why it’s all up in my face and refusing to leave. The ad just knows I haven’t looked at it like I am supposed to. Uncle Sam(antha) wants me to take notice of Dove.

So last week, I gave in and actually looked at it, read, took it all in. Hmmmm… So, Dove is looking for everyday SA women to partake in their next ad campaign by using the Dove Beauty Bar & moisturising cream for 7 days, taking a photograph of themselves after the 7 days and submitting it. That easy. I can’t say that I’d ever make it to TV, even just to be myself. But I like a challenge, so I thought I’d also give it a shot.

I have never ever used Dove in my entire life. In fact, I’ve been a loyal user of another product and it’s been good to me. Even though I have my “unique” facial identifiers, my face is still in pretty good condition I believe. I don’t use make-up, except for the occasional mascara, eye-liner and lip gloss. And if I’m feeling just a little adventurous, a bit of eye shadow – once or twice a year.

So, this is me taking you on Dove. Let’s see if you can make an impact on my face. I’ll report back after 7 days with comments and feedback from myself and my other half, as well as photographs from my 7 day challenge.

Before the Dove 7 Day Challenge

Before the Dove 7 Day Challenge

Interview With Myself – Part 4 of 4


, , ,

This is the final piece of my four part series about me. I know that these don’t cover every single aspect about me, but by now, you should have a general idea of who I am. If you haven’t seen the other posts, you can start with the very first part of this series: Interview With Myself – Part 1 of 4

1. What is your definition of “happiness”?
• Being able to do the things that you love every day, being in a place that you love with the people that you love.
2. What was your worst injury?
• Between my knee and ankle injury, I don’t know which injury was the worst. While in high school, Grade 11, I injured my knee terribly and I had to stop playing my vigorous sports like basketball and tennis. That didn’t make me happy. I eventually had to go for surgery and during my healing time, I was only allowed to swim. Had to go for physiotherapy every once in a while and get fluids drained from my knee every other week. It was a terrible time and getting around was very difficult. As for my ankle injury, I think I learnt my lesson about wearing the proper shoes whenever I’m playing tennis. I didn’t need any fluids to be drained, but it was a long lasting pain nonetheless. I didn’t need any surgery but having to walk almost everywhere delayed my healing process.
3. What celebrity would you most want to meet?
• I’m not the most celebrity crazy person, so I don’t know about this one. But, if I had to pick one, it would have to be our very own Joe Mafela.
4. What is your most memorable travel experience
• A month ago I was in Stockholm, Sweden for about a week and I fell in love with the city and the country. It’s the kind of place that I would love to live at full-time.
5. What’s the farthest from home you’ve ever been?
• Sweden
6. What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you?
• I don’t know. Can’t think of anything right now.
7. What was your most rebellious moment?
• In June 2006, I was in London with my college mates and we went out to a club near our B&B. One, it was my first time ever, going to a club. Secondly, I always had to get permission from my dad to go anywhere. It was rebellious enough for me
8. If you had to choose, what is the one thing you regret about the way in which you’ve lived your life?
• Allowing my fear of the public, strangers and crowds to control the way that I lived, thus making me afraid to do all of the things that I really wanted to do when in college and once I started working. Things like going out to the theatre, going for poetry sessions, attending concerts in parks, joining sporting clubs. Not having any reliable transport didn’t make this any easier. It’s a constant battle.
9. What is your happiest memory?
• My graduation (I never thought it was a big deal until that evening when I walked onto the stage to collect my “Paper”); my first visit to Cape Town and holidaying with my mom and my brother, Sam; & our picnic outing in Hartbeespoort with Itumeleng and his mini proposal with our special, engraved rings.
10. Your saddest?
• When I received my matric results and saw that I got a D for Mathematics. I was torn. Also, when I failed a class for the first time in my life, in my 2nd year of college. I failed my Graphic Design Studio 2 module. I wanted to dropout as I was in total shock and had never failed anything in my entire life. And other heartbreaking moments.
11. What accomplishment are you most proud of?
• I don’t know. I have to think about that one. I think I am still yet to have a big accomplishment that I’m proud of.
12. If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?
• I would do a lot differently. I’d make different choices. I would’ve lived somewhere else and tried to do everything that makes me happy
13. How do you hope to be remembered?
• As somebody who’s made a positive difference in the lives of many people. Even if many people is just a handful.
14. Who is your biggest fan?
• I don’t know. They haven’t told me yet.
15. Whose biggest fan are you?
• If Audi was a human being, I’d say I’m her biggest fan.
16. What do you like to do in your spare time?
• I like to read, watch TV, plot up ways to save the world and visit the SPCA
17. When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
• None.
18. What is your most embarrassing moment?
• Can’t think of any right now. The day that I remember a moment a two, I’ll write an entire post about it.
19. If you could possess one super-human power, what would it be?
• It would have to be the ability to teleport at any time, to any place, as many times as I want to, with anybody. Airlines would hate me. I’d be a REAL globe trotter.
20. What is your greatest fear?
• Having the people I love die before me
21. What is your greatest hope?
• For good to totally conquer evil one day. For everyone to wake up to a lovely meal and go to bed with a full stomach; for everyone to have a roof over their heads; for the end of greed and corruption; for the eradication of all drug lords, criminals, paedophiles and rapists. Generally, all of those good things. It’s not just a hope, it’s a dream – I know.
22. What are you really bad at that you’d love to be great at?
• I would love to be a great piano player. Right now, my fingers just don’t do what my mind wants them to do.
23. What place does religion have in your life?
• I wouldn’t say that I place religion first, but rather, I try to put God first. I’m a Christian and every day I learn how much God loves me and I just want to put Him first in my life. Every day, I want God’s love to be priority. That comes with its own challenges, but I do try.
24. If you were to be an animal, what would you want to be?
• I’m not sure. Somewhere between the undermined octopus, the majestic bald eagle and the mysterious black panther.
25. What are the main lessons you’ve learned in life?
• This should also be a post on its own. These would have to be, in no particular order: Money isn’t everything; always follow your gut; spending some time alone every once in a while is healthy and doesn’t mean that you’re lonely; friendships need care; good friends are like family; kindness matters; it’s good to listen, it’s better to understand; living to impress people doesn’t always impress them; a mistake done more than once is no longer a mistake; We all have choices.

Interview With Myself – Part 3 of 4


, , , , ,

In part 3 of “Interview with Myself”, I delve in to family, relationships and love. I found myself getting carried away answering some of the questions, so you may find yourself with a lot of reading in some sections. I hope this will also be a good read. After this, there will only be one more part remaining. Enjoy.

1. What does the word “family” mean to you?
• Family is God’s gift to us in the form of parents, siblings, children, friends, great colleagues and/ or pets. To me, family is not just about flesh and blood. To me, family is those individuals who CHOOSE to be in your life because they love something about you, they love and care for you and want to be there for you no matter what, especially to make you smile and be the reason that you smile and are happy.
2. In what ways have your parents influenced you the most?
• My parents have always influenced me to work hard for what I want; to be the best that I can be; to never forget: who I am, where I come from, my Creator and to always be thankful for what I have. These are life lessons worth living.
3. Do you wish you had been raised differently? How so?
• No, I don’t. I think I turned out okay. Even though there were moments when I thought I knew what was best for me and wanted my parents to be different and set different rules for us/ me, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Well, I’d minus the few times that I was given a smacking for misbehaviour. That was never fun.
4. What is your relationship with your parents like today?
• My relationship with my parents today is better than it was in the past. With my brother Sam being my mother’s last born child, he was a mommy’s boy, so I always believed that my mom loved my brother and didn’t care about me. And my father gaining a son meant different rules for him and I, which always got me upset. I was never a fan of unfair treatment. Then we had a lot of family drama which made me detach myself from my parents, especially my father, because I was too angry. All of that is now water under the bridge and I have good relationship with my parents and I wouldn’t replace them for anything.
5. What role do you play in your family?
• I am the realist, the planner, the stressor, the comforter and the occasional negotiator.
6. Do you have siblings? How many, are they older or younger, and what are their sexes?
• I have an older sister Zoe, and 2 younger brothers, Sam and Spha.
7. How are your relationships with your siblings?
• I have a close relationship with Sam and Zoe, and Sam and I have a tighter bond probably because we grew up together.
8. Would you change anything about your relationships with them?
• Not a thing. I just wish that Zoe lived closer to me so that we could spend more time together.
9. Who are you closest to in your family?
• That would have to be Sam.
10. Who do you admire most in your family and why?
• Between my mother and Sam – I can’t pick one. My mother has shown me strength, endurance, humility and patience. And from my brother, I have admired true dedication, determination and talent beyond measure. Both of them have displayed admirable attributes which I always wish to possess.
11. Have you lost any family members to death?
• Yes, I have.
12. If so, what was your relationship to them and how did their death affect you?
• My very young cousin Nokwanda, my uncle Muzi, and my grandparents. Nokwanda was a bright young girl who left us too soon. She was like my little sister and I felt very helpless when she died. I even wished that we could switch places, just so that she could have a chance to grow up and for her parents to have a chance to be happy and proud of her. Even though I was young when my uncle Muzi died, it left a hole in my heart because him, Sam and I had a special greeting, “Wola Mpintj (Howzit dude)”, and I was always looking forward to seeing him. The loss of my grandparents had a delayed effect on me. They also died when I was very young. My grandma died first and I remember telling my grandpa and my mom that I missed my grandma. My mother told me that grandma would be back (I’m guessing in the Christian context). Sadly, I waited. I still miss my grandparents because I feel that they have missed out on a lot and I would’ve loved for them to witness a lot of these events and I know that we would have been even closer than when I was still a child.
13. Pets?
• I don’t have any pets at the moment. If it wasn’t for the fact that I lived in a non-pet friendly apartment, I’d probably have two dogs. But I’m planning on getting myself a pet rabbit soon. It’ll be very new for me but I’ve done my research and I believe that I’m ready. I’m also looking forward to it.
14. Who was your first love?
• My current love Itumeleng, is actually my first love. The one or two times when I thought I was in love when I was younger, it definitely wasn’t love. I think I was just blinded by naivety.
15. Have you had your heart broken?
• Yes, I have.
16. Have you broken any hearts?
• I don’t believe I have.
17. Describe your first date.
• Itumeleng called me one evening when I was at a friend’s place toask if I liked Indian cuisine. I replied, yes. He then asked if we could go out for dinner that week, to an Indian restaurant in Pretoria. I was excited. The evening of the date came and we drove out to the lovely Indian cuisine restaurant all the way in Pretoria East after work that night. Me being me, I offered to help with the bill and he refused. He chose to handle it and of course I thought, “What a gentleman.” We had a beautiful night and I remember not wanting the evening to end.
18. How did you and your spouse first meet?
• I had an ankle injury and he gave me a lift to my flat because I was limping in my aircast from the gate and it was about to rain. We lived in the same estate but in different complexes within the estate.
19. How did he propose?
• We were out river rafting with friends. We reached an area where the water was still, he got in the water and proposed. Please bear in mind that he doesn’t know how to swim. So while he was trying to propose. I was panicking and screaming at him to get back into the boat. I eventually heard, let it sink in and I said yes.
20. Describe your wedding/honeymoon.
• We are currently planning our wedding. Considered going in front of the reverend or magistrate and just signing – less hassle, cheaper and gets the job done. But Itu would like to give me and the both of us a big day to remember. Also planning a honeymoon of course.
21. Do you believe in love at first sight?
• In movies, yes, I do.
22. Who was your biggest crush?
• First there was Morris Chestnut, and then there was Channing Tatum and Michael Ealy. Oooooooo…
23. Do you have any regrets regarding your love life?
• I wouldn’t say that I have regrets but I would have loved to approach certain things differently.
24. What was the most special way you’ve shown someone that you loved them?
• Itumeleng’s surprise 30th birthday celebration! I planned everything to the T and I thought that was special and a big gesture. I even invited his mother. I enjoyed every bit of the planning.
25. What was the most special way you’ve been shown you’re loved?
• Itumeleng bought matching promise rings for us and had them engraved with our names. The rings are really special and I didn’t even want a different ring for my engagement ring. I was happy just wearing my special ring.

Interview With Myself – Part 2 of 4


, , , , ,

I hope that you enjoyed Part 1 of “Interview with Myself” and that you gained an insight into my childhood and teenage years. Part 2 focuses more on my college life and early work life. This chapter also consists of 25 questions and answers. Enjoy.

1. Did you attend college? If so, which one? If not, why?
• Yes, I did attend college. I went to the Midrand Graduate Institute (MGI) in Johannesburg, South Africa.
2. How were you able to attend college? Did you put yourself through school, or were you supported by your parents?
• I applied for and was awarded a scholarship by Tibiyo TakaNgwane, a business entity in Swaziland formed by His Majesty Sobhuza II to complement the Swaziland Government’s national development efforts. My parents then supported me with pocket money every month.
3. Did you live in a dorm?
• I didn’t live in a dorm, but I did live in a self-catering apartment in the college’s residential complex, Umbhali Place. “Umbhali” means “writer”, so all of the res blocks were named after prominent South African writers. My block was called Mda House and I was in unit #8. Each apartment unit could house 3 students, each with his/ her own room, sharing a kitchen and bathroom. I met lots of wonderful people, made friends and great memories.
4. Who was your most memorable housemate?
• My most memorable housemate would have to be my bestie, Lindelani Mbambale. We met at MGI when we became housemates and a great friendship bloomed from there. I was fortunate enough to get on well with all of my housemates. Other memorable housemates would have to be, undoubtedly, Dawn and Kate. Loved them to bits.
5. Are you in touch with any?
• I am still in touch with Lindelani and Dawn. We also still see each other whenever possible. I unfortunately lost touch with Kate but last I checked she was doing well.
6. Why did you decide to attend college?
• I had an idea of what I wanted to do and I couldn’t bear the idea of taking a gap year and just rotting away at home, wasting time.
7. What subject(s) did you study and why?
• I took all he classes for my Graphic Design course, which were all compulsory. Unfortunately, we were never offered any optional courses. I did however get to take Psychology and Business Management classes, which were helpful and the former was something that I was also highly interested in. The design subjects included Storyboards; Graphic Design Studio; Digital Design; Broadcast Design; 3D Animation; Drawing; History of Graphic Design and more. In my 3rd year, I chose to specialise in Multimedia, with the intention of becoming a 3D maestro at Pixar or an animation queen.
8. Did you get a degree? In what?
• Yes, I did. A Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design
9. Was your family supportive of your decision to attend college? How so?
• Yes, they were. My dad actually wanted me to study abroad, in London to be precise. He kept bringing me prospectuses from London art & design colleges. Studying design in London would’ve been a dream for me but I knew we couldn’t afford that. Hence me seeking scholarship assistance. In the end, it was a financial burden off my parents’ shoulders. My mom was also thrilled, trying to make sure that I had everything in order – that my clothes were decent, that I had everything I needed and that I had my Bible.
10. How did your college experience prepare you for your later years?
• My college experience somewhat helped me prepare for my later years and it also didn’t help me very much. Things like time management and handing in quality work were important lessons that I took away from my course. Some things I wasn’t ready for and didn’t have a clue about, things like pricing a product for a client and other design matters.
11. If you could do it again, would you take a different academic path, or are you satisfied with the route you followed?
• I would most probably take the same path but just do things a little differently – learning from mistakes. I’d work harder and also try to slot in a bit of a social life.
12. What on-campus activities did you participate in?
• I didn’t really participate in as many activities as I did in high school. We had so much work most of the time that I usually used my spare time to breathe and catch up on some (very little) sleep. But I did make time to play tennis with another good varsity friend of mine, Phatsi. I also partook in the MGI Choir and attended the Focus Group on some Tuesdays, a youth, student ministry formed by Christ Church Midrand. My first time there (Focus) was to get free supper, because that’s just what (almost) everyone associated it with. Please rest assured tho that after that first day, it wasn’t just about the food *smiles*
13. What was your first job?
• My first job was at Eskom as a Content Developer and Graphic Designer. I started as a Graduate In Training, right after I finished writing my 3rd year History of Graphic Design exam in November 2008.
14. What was your best job?
• My current job is my best job ever. I’m an Elearning Developer at a training organisation based in Johannesburg.
15. What was your worst job?
• I wouldn’t say I’ve had a worst job. But I’ve had some unpleasant moments in previous positions.
16. What is the longest amount of time you have ever stayed with one company? What was your position there?
• The longest time was 3 years with Eskom, my first place of work.
17. Do small problems at work upset you?
• Only big problems upset me at work.
18. Can you describe your relationship with your manager?
• I believe that I have a great relationship with my manager. Anyone can have a great relationship with their manager if they meet their requirements, and perform at a level beyond what is expected of them. And the fact that I can speak to her about practically anything helps.
19. In addition to being paid money, how else has your career created value in your life?
• I’ve met a lot of great people who have supported me and helped me get to where I am now and my career has also helped me find what it is that I need to do in life. I now have an idea as to where I, as a puzzle piece of the whole humanity puzzle, fit in.
20. Do you have any regrets regarding your career path?
• No, I do not. All of my career experiences – good and bad – have brought me where I am today. And I’m in a happy place right now.
21. What is your most significant accomplishment as a professional?
• My current job and making a mark in the Elearning industry.
22. Were you ever fired for unjust reasons?
• Never.
23. What do you consider to be the best possible work environment?
• A place that offers a safe environment for open communication; a training and development-focused organisation; recognition for hard work; a strong work-life balance; & healthy air circulation (very important).
24. Who was the biggest influence in your career?
• Marlon Maistry, my first boss ever, when I was working at Eskom.
25. What would be your ideal job?
• I love what I do, fusing design, technology and learning methods. But my ideal job would have to be doing philanthropic work full-time and doing my full-time job part-time. I currently do this vice versa and I feel that it’s not enough.

Interview With Myself – Part 1 of 4


, , , , ,

It’s always good to get to know somebody before you begin a relationship. I thought I’d share bits of myself before I begin anything. This “Interview with Myself” will be broken down into 4 parts, with each part containing 25 questions which I will answer as honestly as possible, otherwise then, why bother doing this, right? I hope these will give you a little picture of who I am.

Biography interview questions were taken from:
Happy reading.
  1. When and where were you born?
    • I was born on Friday, 17 April 1987 at the Manzini Nazarene Hospital in Swaziland.
  2. What is your earliest memory?
    • Our uncle Bheki came to pay us a visit one evening to see my father. Upon entering the lounge, I was happy to see him as always and he was greeting me, and he asked where my dad was. I responded innocently, “He’s in the toilet,” which was true of course. As it is to be expected, he laughed. My father was upset with me, and told me you don’t go around advertising that a person is in the bathroom. I learnt my lesson that day. Thankfully, no-one’s butt (mine) got a whooping.
  3. Who was the most influential person to you as a child?
    • My family members were the main influential people in my life as a child. My aunt Beat for her great personality and ability to interact with all kinds of people; my uncle Cliff spoke very well and I wanted to sound like him (minus the baritone); my mom for her passion to help others all the time; and a couple more.
  4. How would your parents describe you as a child? Why?
    • Well-behaved, talkative, inquisitive, smart, loved laughing, easy to get along with, no matter who you were and where you came from, and enjoyed being with my friends. Why? Because that’s just how it was.
  5. Did you have any pets as a child? What kind?
    • Yes, I did. I only ever had dogs as pets. They were Lela (our one-eyed dog) and Thatcher. And as I grew up, I also got Trixy, Pumbaa and Buddy.
  6. What was your favourite game?
    • Our Prince of Persia and Supaplex computer games. These were obviously very old school with the typical 8-bit graphics of the early 90s, played on our old MS-Dos computer. They were lots of fun and kept me well-entertained. I never ever finished Supaplex, but I did finish the Prince of Persia. I felt like such a hero. I still love those old school graphics.
  7. Who was your first best friend?
    • My first best friend was Flora Malein. She came to Swaziland from Australia and we made an awesome duo. Our birth dates were 2 days apart, which was always great when it came to having birthday parties because that meant extra celebrations for us.
  8. What were you most afraid of as a child?
    • I remember being very afraid of Shaka Zulu as a child. We used to have a Shaka Zulu TV series and it gave me the heebie jeebies whenever “he”, Shaka, came on screen. So maybe I should say, I was afraid of the guy who acted as Shaka Zulu, and maybe also afraid of the idea of Shaka.
  9. Do you recall any interesting stories related to you by any of your elder relatives that you have never forgotten and you think are worth telling?
    • This happened when I was between 4 and 5 years old. As told by my father…One Saturday afternoon, my father and I drove from the small town of Simunye to Manzini – an approximately 60km trip. Along the way, we saw a lady from our church, waiting for a bus on the roadside. My father stopped and offered her a lift. She got inside the car and sat in the passenger seat – I was in the back seat, leaning my two little arms on the 2 front seats. As we drove on, my father and the lady were chatting and I was fuming. After a while, I couldn’t keep it in any longer. I whipped out my hand and slapped the woman across her face, or whatever part of her face that I could reach. What was my reason? I gave it to her:
      “You’re sitting on my mother’s seat! Get off!”
      I honestly do not remember any part of that story, but my father always laughs when he tells it to us.
  10. Describe your parents.
    • My parents are lovely. We may have our squabbles and they may have their not so rainbowwy sides, but I love them and would never trade them for any other parent out there. My father is very success driven. If I would come home with a B, he’d ask what happened to the A. If I’d come home with a 95% he’d ask what happened to the other 100%.  That would (and still can) get a bit too much. We’ve had a chat about it though. He’s a very fun-loving person. Taught us every little magic trick we know and we were always playing together. From computer games, to Xbox, to games outside in the garden. My father is very competitive, another trait which tends to get a bit too much sometimes. I think he may have passed bits of that to me.  He’s very proactive, a little temperamental and doesn’t like to when people don’t take instruction or do their job correctly. My mother on the other hand is Christ-driven. A Proverbs 31 woman. My mom also lives for her children, would do just about anything for her kids. And you NEVER mess with my mom’s kids with her around. If you’ve ever seen a mother hen defend her own, that’s my mom – times 10. A very gentle soul. Quiet from far but has enough comments and comebacks to shock you out of your skull. She just needs to be in a familiar environment. Will laugh at just about anything. She demonstrates the true definition of LOLROF. A true fighter at heart, patient and loving. Yes, I could go on.
  11. Describe your grandparents.
    • I had 3 sets of grandparents in my life. 2 sets from my mother’s side and 1 set from my father’s side. My father’s parents are still alive, but I’ve never had the opportunity to bond with them and go to school with stories to share about my grandparents like my friends did. I grew up in Swaziland and they were based in South Africa, and we didn’t visit them very often and if we did, we wouldn’t stay over. My 2nd set of grandparents, Gogo Dinah and mkhulu, my mother’s parents, have both passed on and I also never had a chance to bond with them. They also lived very far, but at least were in Swaziland. My 3rd set of grandparents, “gogo na mkhulu waseMbabane” (grandma and grandpa from Mbabane) as we used to refer to them, have also passed on. We were very close with them. We used to go and visit them for weekend and over our school holidays, so often that I barely have memories of weekends spent at home during my childhood. Not that I have many memories of my childhood. I’m glad we had a chance to know them and bond with them before they left this Earth. The main things I remember about them: they loved one another; my grandma had a beautiful smile; she loved her grandkids; she would shout if you were naughty; my grandpa never wanted us to go hungry; he loved watching the news and they were a Christian unit. I miss them terribly almost every day.
  12. Where did you attend high school?
    • Sisekelo High School in Big Bend, Swaziland
  13. Who was your best friend? Are you still in touch with them?
    • Nolwazi Gumbi, Nomkhosi Dlamini and Nontobeko Tshabalala were very good friends of mine in high school. With our lives leading to different roads, we’ve all grown and grown out of that “tight” friendship. I’m still very close with Nolwazi and we do keep in touch. We’re just trying to stop relying on email and texting and also trying to grow out of calling one another only on birthdays. So, so terrible. We still have the best conversations when we chat. Also still keep in touch with Nomkhosi, who was my best friend in primary school (Ubombo Primary School) when I moved to Big Bend from Simunye. Nomkhosi’s family always made me wish that I had many siblings and sisters too.
  14. What was your favourite subject to study?
    • Art
  15. Did you play on any sports teams?
    • Basketball, Tennis, Swimming and Netball
  16. What was your favourite sport?
    • Basketball
  17. Were you involved in any school clubs?
    • Does games’ club count? We would just relax and play board games during this period. On a much bigger scale though, I was a part of the school choir and drama class. The one year we did a lovely rendition of the “Oklahoma” stage play. That was lots of fun and I had the honour of playing the lead character, Miss Laurey Williams. We took choir and drama class with Mrs Williams, another one of our musical and artistic greats, a brilliant pianist and musician in our small town of Big Bend.
  18. Is there a teacher that you remember having been particularly influential?
    • Mrs De Holley. It tore my heart apart when she left Sisekelo High School before my matric. But, she had to go and live her dreams like a real artist should. I was happy for her though, taking a step like that after years of teaching and sharing her knowledge and talent.
  19. How would you describe yourself as a student, both socially and academically?
    • I’m not sure that I can. Socially, I got on very well with those that I could safely call my friends; I was able to make (some) friends in lower and higher grades than I was. Academically, I did okay. I couldn’t bear the thought of ever being a failure so I always did the best I could to succeed. Failing was never an option. Not just because of pressure from my father, but mainly from myself.
  20. What did you like most about school? Least?
    • I liked the things which are mentioned on the last point (no. 25). What I liked the least: the gossiping; the outrageous stories told about people; people who would dislike you for no apparent reason.
  21. What sort of extracurricular activities did you participate in as a teen?
    • Sport, Drama and Choir.
  22. Did you earn any honours or were you recognised for any achievements?
    • I received the odd academic honours award in school. And I was Deputy Head Girl in 2005.
  23. What was your favourite music/band/dance in high school?
    • (Almost) everybody I know knows the answer to this. And I say it with traces of embarrassment. Westlife. I bought all of their albums and collected all of their posters and pictures from magazines. I was just short of attending their concert and meeting them.
  24. What would people you know find surprising about you as a teen?
    • I REAAAALLY wanted to go to boarding school. This was mainly so that I could get away from household chores, cooking and all of that lousy home stuff. And I just wanted to have a decent hot plate of food every night, a meal not prepared by me. We didn’t have any help at home and my mom lived an hour away from us. So I had to do the cleaning, cooking, washing, ironing, etc. My mom would come and see us over the weekends and do what she could. I barely managed during the week, especially with homework and exhaustion from sport practice on some days.
  25. What do you miss the most about high school?
    • The relationships forged during that period; the structure; the chance to be more active on the sports field (minus my knee injury); and Mr Obeng Manu’s homeroom.