You’re Not The Only One by Larissa Subira

You're Not The Only ONe
Photo Cred: Inspiration DE Online

 

Growing up, I had no real concept of what depression or any kind of mental disorder was. I began having some understanding when I started to have panic attacks when I was 18 and in my final year of high school. These episodes were periodic, mainly around exam time.

 

I would have episodes now and again but funnily enough they intensified in my honours year. By appearances I had ‘less stress’ – barely had any exams to write – was getting the best grades in my varsity career – going to church every week – getting along with my siblings. I struggled to understand my inability to get it together, to control my mind and reactions.

 
At 22 I realised something had to be done. My panic attacks were happening more and more often. It was debilitating. I’d lose time trying to recover. So I went to campus health and sought counselling. I think my friends wondered why because I seemed to be doing alright. Force of habit that – I wasn’t one to really express my emotions. I had however reached a point where I wanted to move on.

 

Take your wounds to Christ
Photo Cred: Pinterest

 

I had counselling for 3 months – 7 years later I haven’t experienced a panic attack at all. Funny thing is life has definitely gotten more stressful – #adulting and all.

 

Let me be clear – I am by no means comparing my panic attacks to depression. What I am hoping rather is to demonstrate that any sort of challenge such as anxiety isn’t a reflection of how mentally weak or strong you are.

 

This weekend’s story of a 19 year old student committing suicide took me back to my 19 year old self. It demonstrated that young people are facing desperate challenges. In South Africa suicide is one of the leading causes of deaths in the 15-24 age group.

 

We are all broken final
Photo Cred: Crush Cul De Sac

 

I am not sure what that says about our society but it may partly have to do with the fact that beyond getting good grades, not getting pregnant or being on drugs, there is no further indication of how well you’re doing which is needed or required. Who’s to blame for this? Oh I’m not sure. In my humble view at all sectors of society, a lot of challenges are being confronted. So perhaps we all need to join hands.

 
Let’s do away with viewing depression as a testament to one’s lack of faith as is sometimes seen in our faith-based communities. It is at times viewed as a clear black and white issue, cause and effect.  And even when your depression is acknowledged there is an assumed timeline as to how long YOU should take to ‘get over it’.

 

My prayer is that we be kind with another and ourselves, more especially that we care more that our loved ones get healing. That life be less about outward achievements but more about one’s wellbeing. Lastly – for anyone experiencing depression to know that there’s NOTHING wrong with you and most importantly, you can get help. Whatever form your mental health challenges comes in doesn’t matter as long as you heal.

 

He heals the wounds
Photo Cred: Pktfuel Online

 

God doesn’t make mistakes; David beautifully encapsulated it in Psalms 139:13-14 – “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

 

Love,

Larissa

Larissa

Larissa is a regular contributor to the blog and a young woman who is passionate about the betterment of women in today’s society. She holds a Masters in Development Studies and is also a daughter of the Most High God seeking to live a purposeful life for Him.


 

Before you go sis:

  • Thank you so much for reading today’s post! If you are facing some challenges in terms of your mental health, please don’t remain silent as hard as it is to speak up. There are people willing to listen and help. Feel free to drop me a message or if you would like a referral to a psychologist, psychiatrist or support group, please do call the South African And Depression Anxiety Group (SADAG) on 011 234 4837 or 0800 20 50 26 and a trained counselor will assist you. Alternatively, you can email Zane at zane1@medport.co.za. We’re in this together.
  • We have a phenomenal Ladies Gala Dinner coming up in November if you’re in the Johannesburg area!! Please do book your tickets here by 27 October to avoid disappointment. Me and the team have been working tirelessly to ensure that this is an evening to remember! Can’t wait to spend time with you all 🙂

Wishing you a fantastic week ahead and do know I’m praying for you.

With love,

Sonia Dee

 

 

 

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Guest Post: I Was Hijacked By Lupus by Nompumelelo Simango

Shattered Glass
Photo Cred: Bloglovin’ Online

 

Imagine driving down a quiet suburb, with beautiful scenery, on a Sunday afternoon and then suddenly you are confronted by a couple of assailants; they smash your window, demand that you get out of your car with a gun pointed in your direction. Can you imagine how you would feel? The fear, the confusion, the shock and suddenly the world seems so much more different to what you had believed it to be.

 

Well, that’s exactly how I felt when I received the diagnosis on the 28th of August, 2013. For years, prior to the diagnosis, I woke up each morning with aching joints and muscles. I wondered what could possibly be the cause of the pain. I would visit my family doctor hoping that she would tell me something different but she would conduct numerous blood tests and find nothing.

 

Draw near to God
Photo Cred: Prayer Note Online

 

For years I lived with an illness whose name I didn’t know until a random swelling in the eye prompted my GP to refer me to an Ophthalmologist. He tested for a completely different element but, even then, when the results came back he assumed it was either one of these obvious two, HIV or an STD.

 

Then, when the HIV/STD results come back clear, he spoke of an Autoimmune Disease. When he said that, I was thinking; what in the world is that? Like how you would probably think, as the assailant approaches your car, is this happening to me? Right here, right now?

 

I was referred to a specialist to determine which of the Auto-immune diseases I may possibly be living with and that’s my story, that’s how I found out my body was hijacked by a chronic illness called Systematic Lupus Erythematosus or better known as Lupus.

 

His yoke is easy
Photo Cred: Pinterest

 

Most people have never heard of it. I, myself, only heard of it when Toni Braxton disclosed to her family in their Reality TV Show. So naturally, I was afraid, confused and shocked but I don’t think I experienced all these emotions at a scale higher than that of my parents. I recall the moment I tried to explain what Lupus is; I laugh today as I think back to that moment.

 

Being an African child makes the experience of living with an illness like Lupus completely unique in that there is not much awareness around the condition or any of the auto-immune diseases. In light of that, I was bombarded with numerous theories of what could possibly be wrong with me.

 

I was told that there is no such thing as an immune-system that is harmful to the body, I must just accept my “calling” as a Sangoma. I think the most bizarre of all the theories, bizarre because it came from the Christian community, was that it was a demon and I just needed to be delivered.



I simply cannot imagine where I would be right now if it weren’t for the fact that I have my own unique and personal relationship with God. It has kept me grounded but also, it has given me the will power to continue living.

 

Strength and Power
Photo Cred: Imgfave Online

 

Paul writes “…In order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9)

 

And so, 4 years ago, I was given a thorn in my flesh to keep me from becoming conceited. The moment I accepted that the grace of God is sufficient I began living in the power of Christ. Not afraid of death, not afraid of pain anymore, I love God even more fiercely now and whenever I have a flare up I turn to my body and speak to this “thorn”:

 

“Lupus, you live in my body. Play nice because if I die, you die too.”

 

In the African context, living with Lupus is an everyday challenge. We are either considered lazy, bewitched or have some sort of calling. To all the beautiful bAw’s living with Lupus, you are stronger than what you believe and what you are suffering from has a medical explanation; but God is still in the business of healing. Even in the face of all the biological facts; have faith that defies logic.

 

Victory Found in Jesus
Photo Cred: Pinterest

 

Love,

Nompumelelo Simango

Mpumi Pic

Mpumi is a gorgeous young woman who is passionate about God and spirituality. She is a middle child with an older brother and younger sister. Mpumi holds a degree in Political Science and currently works as a PA. She enjoys reading, writing, singing and outdoor activity. You can find Mpumi on Facebook or Instagram to get a glimpse of some of the inspiration she shares.


 

Thank you Mpumi for your vulnerability and testimony. God truly has been good to you and may He continue to be your strength and joy.

Thank you sisters for reading. If you would like to share your story, please don’t hesitate to drop us an email at theblackafricanwoman@gmail.com. Your story can set someone free and bring them healing.

I’m still praying for you.

With love,

Sonia Dee

Guest Post: Why Your Life May Need To Fall Apart by Norma Mzizi

Light in Darkness
Photo Cred: From Up North Online

 

Becoming ‘Norma Natural‘ has been a difficult, lonely yet fulfilling process. I was exhausted one Sabbath evening and as I lay on my bed I tried to figure out what it was that had me so tired on a day I should be feeling rejuvenated. Didn’t the answer come pouring like an open tap…..I was busy – busy doing so much for everyone else around me.

 

I was coming from a toxic, abusive and stagnant relationship. In trying to find myself again I got lost in religion, not in Christ. I wanted to be the perfect friend, sister and maybe wife. I made sure I looked right and sounded right, tried to be politically correct, and held on! I healed from the abuse but opened up for serious corrosion spiritually.

 

I spent days perfecting a company that was not mine, feeling drained and unappreciated. Embraced so called friends who took my time, my clothes and even my sanity at times. Thank God I learnt just in time….

 

Come Fridays, I’d be preparing Sabbath lunch and working on whatever program I needed to present or planning this and that. Don’t get me wrong, my heart and mind where in it all, but I did not realise I was giving and not feeding myself in the process. I was not just seeing to everyone’s needs, I was giving them me. Giving them parts of myself that I could not carry on without. Like an oak tree my shade was large enough for everyone, but my roots were weak, tired, dying!

 

You have to die a few times
Photo Cred: Buzznick Online

 

Who are you Norma? Are you this friend that everyone is crying to? Are you “Mrs Girlfriend” but not wife? Are you a pillar without a foundation? What are you doing at church besides serving and keeping to rules and regulations? Who are you behind those perfect outfits and flawless makeup? Do you even like eating what you are told is right to eat? Guuuurl! Who art thou?

 

Unfortunately (or rather fortunately) it took a shattered, empty feeling to get me back on track. My life came to a screeching halt. Down and disappointed, alone and weak – my awakening began.  Now God could have His turn. Now I was ready for His will, His purpose, His blue print for me. No rules no religion, it was time to seek my true self and feed her right so I could genuinely be right to the next person.

 

I stopped doing church. Yes, doing. Because I was doing it and not growing in Christ. I was perfect to a standard that someone else set. A diet that someone else prescribed, a belief system that was do or die. For a few more weeks I held on, trying to figure out if I was losing my sanity or actually finding it.

 

God never allows pain
Photo Cred: Daily Scrolls Online

 

Eventually I cut my relaxed hair (a girl is about to change her life when she cuts her hair, come on somebody!). I remember the liberating feeling of standing in the shower with no fear of messing up a “hair do”. By the time I started putting on make-up I became rebellious. I had that “why should I?” moment. Anyway who says I’m not ravishing, drop dead gorgeous without it? This stuff stings and burns my eyes anyway! So much work and for what?! At that moment I realised I could go natural in every sense of the word.

 

I started researching on ways to get back to basics. I wanted to be true to me as an earth child and the spirit within. To listen to the reason why I loved walking bare feet on grass and listening to the sound of water; to feed that spirit that was so in touch with her nature but had strayed to foreign “truths”. Long story short, I found shea butter, coconut oil and black soap. Those were my first back to Eden cosmetics. Didn’t my skin and hair flourish!

 

I became so radical in my return to nature so much so that people asked me what I was on. I ate what I figured worked well with my blood type (Yes, I’m a meat eater y’all)! I devoured that fish and meat and got my sexy back either way. I learnt to listen to that inner voice, to listen to my body, to hear my inner being.

 

All the while many things were falling off: The need to impress was dying. I did what I could when I could. I even stopped going on unnecessary dates, where I knew these men were only interested in me making them look good. It was all but physical attraction.

 

They could not stomach that I was a single mother of two. I wasn’t good enough to take to Mum and Dad who expected him to bring home a virgin. What is sad is that these “godly” men are out here sleeping with us but they want to marry a virgin. Dating and relationships is a whole book on its own. Let me leave it right here.

God never uses anyone greatly until
Photo Cred: Lil Blue Boo Online

 

As I was saying, people became inquisitive of the new look and confident force driving me. I have a deep sense of connection now. I know who God says I am. I know I am a spirit having a human experience in a body of clay; this zulu girl, intombi yakoMzizi  umaJama kaZulu uMpinda kaVezi isalukazi esimabelebele esancelisa ingane ngaphesheya kolwandle! Umuzi ubiywa ngenhloko zamadoda, uzulu kalidumi libonakala ngezikhukhula zomfula, umphankomo enebele,  Jama kaNdaba, KaPhunga, kaMageba, kaNkosinkulu, kaZulu, kaNtombela, kaMalandela, kaLusulumane, kaGumede, kaMnguni waseMbo! Lilizela bo!!!

 

I started sharing my secret and giving products to people. When I realised I was getting a following I started selling the products and different remedies that I found. At times other people would bring their own things and ask me to blend them as they wanted that “Norma’s Touch” thing hence the birth of Norma’s touch organic treatments & lifestyle products! My motto today is “If you cannot eat it, then it should not be on your hair and skin.”

Your pain often reveals God's purpose
Photo Cred: i.pinimg.com

It took my hitting absolute rock bottom for God to get my attention and grow me into my purpose for being on this earth. We tend to feel as though God has forsaken us when we are faced with our darkest moments, and we forget that He creates best out of void and darkness (Genesis 1:2). If you’re going through a season of darkness, pain and uncertainty draw nearer to God. He is trying to birth something new in you.

Love and light,

Norma Mzizi

Norma

Norma is a young woman who is passionate about people living a natural and healthy lifestyle as God intended. She is full of humour and great compassion for her fellow man, and seeks to live authentically. You can find Norma and her amazing natural products on Facebook and Instagram.

 


 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and as if everything in your life is literally falling apart, it is most probably because God is seeking to transform your life for the better. He is seeking to expose the gold within you so that you can live for Him and be a blessing to those around you. Don’t give up sis.

With love,

Sonia Dee

Guest Post: How Going Natural Was A Journey Of Love by Paloma Ka-David Ncoco

 

Journey Of Love
Photo Cred: Ana Rosa Tumblr

 

Are you confident? Headstrong? Did you believe “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me?” So was I till the day I decided to do something different.

 

I was 17 going on 18 and I had been relaxing my hair for years. If it wasn’t relaxed it was always blow-dried and straightened. I would spend hours the night before frying my hair to bone straight perfection. That was what society deemed ‘acceptable’ so that was what I fed my mind until one day I decided to make a change. Little did I know that that change would come with hurt feelings and hiding a part of who I am once again.

 

Pain of Change
Photo Cred: i.pinimg.com

 

I had learnt how to put my hair in twists at night and let it out in the morning. This was one of my go-to tricks when I’d wear my natural hair (there were times I’d go up to 8 months without relaxing and only blow & straighten). One day I decided I’d wear my hair natural at school and so I did.

 

When I walked into my first class the white kids started to laugh at my hair asking, “What did you do?” “Where you electrocuted?” The black kids felt my hair and would ask why it’s not coarse or why it felt like cotton; “You’re not really black then”, they’d say to me. After that day I was so overwhelmed with emotions of hurt and I knew then I wouldn’t wear my natural hair for a very very long time.

 

Words kill or words give life - you choose
Photo Cred: Pktfuel Online

 

My big turnaround came towards the end of 2015. Mid-year I had bleached my hair and the ends were fried & dyed to death so I had to chop them off. My friend had been researching natural hair and I asked her to share with me tips on how to take care of my natural hair and I myself began to do my own research and I started buying the correct products and wearing my hair natural with the occasional straightening.

 

This time around I wasn’t in high school and over the years I had grown a thicker skin. The world around me had grown and was more socially aware and accepting of change so if there were negative comments I knew those words wouldn’t affect me as much as they had years before.

 

Give some love to yourself
Photo Cred: Walk The Talk Show

 

In 2016 after experimenting with different hair colours for months and bleaching more than I should, I went and did ‘the big chop’. I must admit I felt like “What did I do? Now I look like a boy.” But eventually I fell in love with my new look. My hair was growing at a steady pace and more importantly it was healthy and strong. This time around I was accepting of myself rather than accepting of what others expected.

 

My journey has been more than just switching lanes from chemical treatment to natural haircare. It’s been a journey of learning self-love; not letting the opinions of others affect me enough to change who I am and making sure I have beautiful strong hair to show for it.

 

Paloma Pic

Paloma ka-David Ncoco, is a 23 year old creative and designer who currently lives in Sandton, Johannesburg. Her passion in life is creating whilst using many different art forms to do so. She completed two courses in makeup and photography and is currently working as a photographer and makeup artist whilst making plans to complete her fashion degree. Paloma is a strong young woman who is determined to live life not bound by the opinions of others.

 

 

I’m so grateful to Paloma for sharing her personally painful but hopeful experience in seeking out her true identity. She has reminded us that your journey with your hair goes far deeper than the external. It is an expression of what is going on within you.

What has transitioning to natural hair meant for you personally? What challenges/obstacles have you faced in this journey? I would love to hear about your experiences too.

 

With love,

Sonia Dee

 

 

Things I Wish Black African Queens Would Realize – Open Letter From A Black African King

Journalling 2
Photo Cred: Pinterest

 

Dear black African Queen,

Do you get that many civilisations are born through you and because of you?

It may come to others as though I am being biased because I am black and have been raised by you, a black woman. If you look around, however, Nubian Queen, you’ll notice, many other races are raised by you too.

Resilience and Confidence
Photo Cred: Bippity Boppity Boo

 

Dear black African Queen,

Do you understand your value and how much you give back?

It’s said that when a woman has money, her society is always blessed. She will always sow seeds of development in her society because she naturally gives back. I have seen this in my own home. How my mother would take care of cousins and send them to school with our home’s collective incomes. We would move from country to country and she would bring someone from her home village to educate and care for.

You have changed lives Nubian Queen, because of your generosity, consideration and love for your people.

 

Seed
Photo Cred: Jew In Jail

 

Dear black African Queen,

Do you know how tough you are?

How resilient you have to be in the work place? How opportunities that land in your hands can sometimes be leftovers from those before you but somehow with little you make much.

You rise, dominate and sustain.

 

Still I Rise
Photo Cred: I Like Calligraphy

 

Dear black African Queen,

I bow in adoration of your resilience, selflessness and ability to raise nations.

More importantly, however, I hope you appreciate yourself just as much too.

Regards,

A Young Black African King

 

Nubian Queens
Photo Cred: Pinterest

 

What are your thoughts on this letter? Do you see yourself in this light bAw? What else would you add to this letter?

With love,

Sonia Dee

 

Before you go sis, here are a few things you may be interested in:

  1. We have a Hiking Event to celebrate you gorgeous bAw this Sunday the 27th of August at Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve in the South of Joburg. If you desire to get out, meet other bAw and hear inspiring stories about how to best reflect on your life and live it in a way that God desires for you, this get-together is for you. We will have a lovely picnic after our short hike and some uplifting words from our older sisters who have learnt the value of taking stock of their lives. Come and let’s Heal, Exhale and Reflect together.
  2. Would you like to be part of a community of women who are daily speaking and seeking healing for different aspects of their lives and returning to their true identity in Christ? Then join us on InstagramFacebook and Twitter to receive daily encouragements and connect with like-minded sisters!

 

Chat soon!

17 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Turned 21

21st Birthday
Photo Cred: Boho Weddings Online

 

Towards the end of last year, my aunt asked me to help her put together some advice/words of encouragement for a young lady who was turning 21 years old. She asked me to think about what I wish I had been told or what I wish I had known at the age of 21. As I did the list, I realized that there was so much that I was forced to learn from experience as I entered adulthood.

 

I think it is an assumption in our more modern black African community that you’ll figure things out as you go, especially because most of us are growing up away from home and from our elders. Granted that the best teacher is experience, but some guidance and counsel never hurt anyone.

 

Most of the words of wisdom we receive as we enter adulthood is to work hard, get a good job and get married – especially as black African women (bAw). As though that is the fullness of life. This got me thinking that there may be some young 21-year old who hasn’t had the opportunity to receive counsel on life and could benefit from reading up on a few key lessons that can help make their next stage in life more fulfilling. Or possibly, just a woman who needs to remember what is important in life.

 

And so here goes – 17 things I wish someone had told me as I turned 21:

 

  1. You are beautiful both inside and out. From this age onward, understand that society and your own doubts and fears will try to disagree with that statement. Begin now to choose to believe that you are beautiful and tell yourself that truth every day when you look in the mirror.

 

  1. You are more than worthy of love. You may find yourself seeking validation and worth in different places as you reach this stage of your life – in men, friendships, career, beautiful clothes or just looking good. In all instances, nothing and no-one will be able to validate you. Understand that your worth and value stems from your Creator God alone. This will serve you well in years to come.

 

  1. Be much kinder to yourself. You’re going to find yourself making some major mistakes in life because now you’re playing in the big leagues. There are enough people out there who will try to make you feel bad about this so don’t add yourself to that equation. Learn to be your number 1 fan by encouraging yourself when you fall.

 

  1. When it comes to people (associations, friends, family, romantic relationships etc) take those associations with an emotional maturity. Understand that not everything done to you deserves for you to take it too seriously. Most times, it’s not even about you.

 

Be Kind to Yourself
Photo Cred: WordPress.com

 

  1. Expect less. This is not about lowering your standards but about what you hope others will do for you. This gives you the opportunity to be taken by surprise in a good way in life. The less you expect from people, the better.

 

  1. Rejection and disappointment is not the end of the world. Now that you’re a little older, rejection and disappointment will hurt a little more than it did when you were younger. Try now to learn that it does not mean the end of everything. The sun will still rise tomorrow.

 

  1. People who were meant to shield, love and protect you the most may end up being the ones who hurt you the worst. Learn to discern the hearts and intentions of people early on so that you can gauge those you can lean on a little more. Remember that only God will never disappoint you.

 

  1. At all costs, avoid debt in your life. You will soon be on your own, making your own money and making your own financial decisions. There is such a pressure and a tendency to want to get all the wonderful things in life that you can’t afford just to keep up with others or to “show what you’re working for”. Try as much as possible to adjust this mind-set and attitude. Instead, pursue the freedom and peace of owning what is yours and living a lifestyle you can afford. This will allow you to sleep better at night.

 

Save Money - Don't Get Into Debt
Photo Cred: Frugal Farm Wife Online

 

  1. Make time for your family. Yes life is exciting and you’ve got so many amazing friends and adventures but remember where you have come from. Your family will always be there for you regardless of what you go through or how life changes. Remember to make time to appreciate and enjoy them.

 

  1. If you haven’t already found it, seek out your life’s purpose. This is usually closely linked to what you are passionate about or what you’re really good at and love doing. It’s the thing you would be willing to do without ever getting paid for doing it. Knowing your purpose makes life that much more of a joy to live. It gets you out of bed on a tough day. It warms your soul even though things are unbearable. It can also become your career. Find out what you’re on Earth for.

 

  1. Take your time and enjoy your season of singleness. Contrary to what social media/family/friends may say, singleness is a blessing. Seek to enjoy and bask in all the goodness that it holds for you – your own time; travelling; meeting new people; excelling in your career and purpose; making mistakes and getting back up amongst other things. You will never get this time back so get over being single and get into how amazing it is before it passes you by.

 

  1. Wait for a man of his word. You’re young and beautiful with so much life ahead of you and men will recognize and desire that. Try to keep a cool head when it comes to choosing the men you date. Be selective – be hard to get but easy to be with. Be a delight but set your boundaries early on. This will serve you well in protecting you from men who do not have your best interests at heart. Wait for a man who does what he said he will do and with whom you will have no questions about his intentions.

 

Be Selective 2
Photo Cred: Skinny Sticks Tumblr

 

 

  1. More likely than not, your heart will probably be broken despite all your efforts to wait on the right guy or to protect yourself. Don’t beat yourself up over that. Instead, learn from your experiences so that you are clear on what you deserve, which will make it easier for you to identify that in future.

 

  1. Understand that you will probably lose friends as you journey on in life. It’s not necessarily because you or they are bad people. As you grow, you evolve and so do those around you. You may not grow in the same direction and sometimes that may mean that you must part ways. It’s alright. People who are meant to be in your life will remain there to walk with you as you become your best self. The rest are for a season or a reason. Learn to differentiate who is who in your life.

 

  1. Find a mentor. Be on the lookout for a woman or women you admire in terms of how you desire to live your life and where you would like to end up. Women who uphold your principles in life. Seek to develop relationships with them. Life is not lived in isolation and as a young woman, you can learn much from your older sisters and mothers who have already walked the path you are embarking on – regardless of how “old school” you may think they are! Life and its principles never go out of fashion.

 

  1. Never make anything or anyone else more important than God – not even yourself. As long as you grasp this simple but powerful truth, you can have the best life ever and become all that you were meant to be.

 

  1. Have fun!!! You are young. You’re at the peak of your youth and the world literally is your oyster. Don’t rush to grow up because that comes with its challenges. Soak up every single year of your life because it will never be the same again. Have no regrets.

 

 

Have Fun
Photo Cred: Allure Online

 

 

And so there it is. Thanks to my colleague Tumelo Bosaka who also helped me out by sharing a few of the truths she wishes she had been told at 21. I hope this serves someone well as they enter into the next season of their life. Maybe you’re past 21 but you haven’t come across some of these. It’s never too late to learn and grow. Or you may have just needed a refresher. Let’s keep going ladies 😉

 

Let me know your thoughts on the list and please share any other lessons from your experiences. Maybe you had a completely different experience. I would like to learn from yours too.

 

With love,

Sonia Dee

image
Photo Cred: Noxolo Chalale

Before you go sis, just a few things you may be interested in:

  1. We have a Hiking Event to celebrate you gorgeous bAw on Sunday the 27th of August at Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve in the South of Joburg. If you desire to get out, meet other bAw and hear inspiring stories about how to best reflect on your life and live it in a way that God desires for you, this get-together is for you. We will have a lovely picnic after our short hike and some uplifting words from our older sisters who have learnt the value of taking stock of their lives. Come and let’s Heal, Exhale and Reflect together.
  2. Would you like to be part of a community of women who are daily speaking and seeking healing for different aspects of their lives and returning to their true identity in Christ? Then join us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to receive daily encouragements and connect with like-minded sisters!

 

Chat to you soon!

Secrets To Having The Natural Hair You Want

My baby sister and I rocking our natural hair at a wedding (Photo Cred: Rumbidzayi Dube)

So whenever my sister and I are roaming the Joburg streets with our natural hair out to play, we generally always get stopped to answer questions about our hair: How come it’s so soft? How come it’s so long? Why is our hair so healthy-looking? It’s almost as though we know something that other aspiring or new naturalista’s don’t.

This is something I have been reflecting on for a while now, and I would like for other black African women (bAw) to rock their own natural ‘fros with the same confidence and joy that I, and others, have come to enjoy. So here goes. Here are a few of the “secrets” I have come to understand that lead to you finally having the natural hair you’ve always wanted:

Decide To Focus On Your Own Fro: First things first – afro envy is real guys! Do not be fooled. You know that feeling of ‘fro “inadequacy” you get when you look at a sister with an afro that looks like Diana Ross’s while yours looks like the young Kunta Kinte’s teeny afro in Roots? Lol! Well, that’s normal! You’re not the only one who feels that way or has that experience. Just like braids or weaves come in all different lengths, shapes and sizes, so does natural hair.

Choose to let go of any preconceived notions you may have picked up that your ‘fro must turn out a certain way. Instead, begin to focus on and learn your own hair. How does it respond when you use certain products? What about when you’ve just washed it? And when you twist it out? Taking the time to learn your hair gives you insight into what brings the best out of it.

Remember too that your curl pattern will most probably not look like another bAw’s curl pattern. I had to accept this with my own sister. She has a looser curl pattern and her ‘fro stretches more easily whereas I have a tighter curl pattern that creates cute little curly styles that she can’t really get. It’s important to know that just because you have the same skin colour or even come from the same country or heck are even related does not mean your hair will look the same. Focus on understanding what your ‘fro does.

Take It Back To Basics: I am all about using 100% organic and natural products on my hair. The sad thing is that the world has bought into the “fake” life including the food we eat and the things we use on our bodies or hair. Shampoos and conditioners are filled with so many harmful chemicals that dry out the natural oils in your hair causing it to feel super dry and to look lifeless. No wonder why you feel like your ‘fro never looks lustrous and healthy. It may be what you’re putting into it.

Take the time to do your research. Read up on the natural oils and products that are best for natural hair. The first trick is to read the labels on shampoos – if they have a long ingredients list, you pretty much know that there is nothing good in there for your hair. More so if water does not form part of the ingredients. Better yet, go back to using products with no added ingredients such as bi-carb of soda as shampoo or apple cider vinegar as conditioner. Your hair will thank you later.

Trying a different look with my ‘fro

Be Patient: I can’t emphasize this enough!! We generally are a generation that has completely lost the meaning and value of patience because we get everything we need at the click of a button in most cases. So, you wake up and decide that you want to go natural and expect that by next month (you’re giving it a lot of time here!) you’ll have a soft, curly, lustrous afro just like Precious Kofi. I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but that probably won’t be the case. Your hair type may not even be like Precious’ plus you don’t know how long she’s grown it or how she styles it to look the way it does.

The natural hair journey can be compared to a running race. Each naturalista has their own lane (hair type). Has been training for different periods of time (time frame of having her afro). Has different training routines and methods that work best for them (products used on her afro). Has different inherent skills and developed talents when it comes to running (different hereditary curl patterns plus adjustments to her environment). What will lead to that racer coming first in their race is understanding these different elements and maximizing on them fully. This takes time and patience.

Remember that your hair has probably been put under much strain for majority of your life – relaxers, weaves, braids, wigs, heat, combing etc. It has not been out in its natural state and needs to adapt back to it. You can’t expect it to return from decades of manipulation in a few months. Allow it the freedom it needs to grow out all the unhealthy habits and chemicals that have hurt it over the years. Then one day, when you least expect it you will see your hair come out in a curl pattern or with a shine you have never seen on anyone else 🙂

Try Different Products For Long Periods Of Time: Following on from the above point, in your quest to have your best natural ‘fro, you will need to try different products to finally hone in on the ones that work best with your hair. What works for someone else may not work for you and vice versa. There are a number of different oils that do different great things for natural hair. Make sure to read up on them. Some act as moisturizing oils while others are sealants. Some are essential oils and others are carrier oils. Sometimes they must be mixed together for best results. I personally subscribe to Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Castor Oil and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I will write about this in future.

What tends to happen is that we hear about all these amazing oils we should use and so we get a bunch and just try them all almost at once. Maybe we use a few for a few days or weeks then switch because it doesn’t seem like they’re doing anything. But this doesn’t allow your hair to adjust to the components of that oil treatment so you can see if it’s working. At our last “My African Crown” Hair Event, hair guru Thandiwe told us that it is better to use the same products on your hair for 3 months to allow your hair to adapt to them and to let you see if they are working. I stuck to the three oils above for months despite it looking like nothing was happening and forgot about it until one day I noticed how rich and soft my ‘fro had become.

Natural Sisters 🙂

Be Gentle With Your ‘Fro: One of the greatest myths about natural hair is that it is tough and hard. Again, Thandiwe mentioned at our last Hair Event that black natural hair is probably the most sensitive hair type. That is why your reflex is to pull back when your hair is being combed or getting blow dried etc. God has blessed us with a ball of cotton wool on our heads but we’re treating it like steel wool instead. We yank at it with combs and try to straighten it with blow dryers or hot combs. Such force and unnatural heat only causes more damage and makes it tougher.

Instead of using a comb, detangle the knots in your hair with your fingers. It takes time but it is so good for your ‘fro. Refrain from putting any heat at all to your ‘fro as heat damages and dries your delicate hair. Instead, twist your hair straight after washing and moisturizing it and sleep with it like that. In the morning, you’ll wake up with soft, moisturized hair that you can style – again I will write about this in future.

Change Your Mindset About Natural Hair: This has got to be the most important secret for me. For all your life you have been fed the incorrect information about your hair and how to care for it. It is people who don’t even have the same hair as you who have sold you products and ideas about the best way to care of it. If you want the hair you were originally given, go back to the manufacturer of that hair – God. Pray for your hair and ask Him to show you how to best take care of it. It sounds silly but trust me – it opens you up to people, articles, and products etc that speak to what your hair really needs.

When you begin to see your hair correctly and why you were given it in the first place, you’ll begin to understand what you need to give it. You’ll begin to love it instead of wish it was another way. And your afro will love you right back.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this post. I hope it has enlightened you to the real secrets available to you so that you can rock that healthy and full head of hair you’ve always wanted. Maybe you already have the natural ‘fro you want. Please share some secrets you have learnt too. Maybe you just have some questions – please don’t hesitate to ask.

Let’s keep working to have the hair we have always had but forgot about!

With love,

Sonia Dee