South Africa Is Breaking My Heart, I Cry For My Beloved Country {Warning: Graphic Pictures}

I don’t usually post negative things on my blog – I generally try keep things around here as positive as possible and seeing as I am a very opinionated person I try my best to never write about politics. That being said, this blog is my personal outlet and this is something that has been resting heavy on my heart. Before I start, please know that I am not trying to insult anyone, I hate racism, I love my country.

I live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Cape Town takes my breath away and fills me with awe. I grew up somewhere even more beautiful… a gorgeous farm in Kanoneiland situated in between Upington and Keimoes in the Northern Cape – also known as the ‘Groen/Green Kalahari’. As beautiful as the landscapes and sunsets are, this place is filled with just as much ugly… and I am scared. It is like an abusive relationship – every time it gets bad I threaten to leave, but love and hope keeps me from following through… It will be better tomorrow, it’s not really that bad.

South Africa Is Breaking My Heart, I Cry For My Beloved Country - White Privilidge Racism Rhodes Must Fall Xenophobia Kanoneiland Sunset in africa

Last night I was lying in bed and instead of drifting off to a peaceful sleep I was figuring out my ‘game plan’ for when shit hits the fan – grab Knox, run to Mikayla’s room, grab her, climb out the window, sneak to the car, get in and speed off. I was playing out different scenarios in my head, what to do if this or that happened… should I pack an emergency getaway bag and keep it in the car? Should I get passports ready for the kids? Should I get a gun? Should I rather start homeschooling the kids? Should we just leave before it is too late? Will it ever get to that point? Continue reading

An Open Letter to Anti-Vaccine Parents

I’m going to lose some friends over this.

Like you, I looked into the scientific evidence surrounding vaccinations with an open mind. I came to the same conclusion as my overprotective mother, my homeopathic-nature-is-best holistic mother-in-law and my skeptic husband – I would go through any lengths to vaccinate my children. This should not really come as ground breaking news, there is nothing edgy about siding with most parents, nearly all the world’s governments, the WHO and the vast majority of medical researchers, scientists and practitioners.

Both my children are vaccinated/being vaccinated, I just cannot justify taking the slightest risk with their lives, can you?  If you’re surprised by the Measles and Mumps outbreaks that have recently struck South Africa, The United States (California and Ohio being the most severe), New Zealand, the Phillipines, and the United Kingdom amongst many others – you underestimated the costs of your choice, which you’d be smart to reverse as soon as possible.

I understand that you think that you are doing the best for your child, but you are not. Here is why…

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ARGUMENT NO.1 –THE MEASLES-MUMPS-RUBELLA (MMR) VACCINE ABSOLUTELY, SCIENTIFICALLY DOES NOT CAUSE AUTISM. 

That’s a solid fact and has been proven in study, after study, after study, after study. Science has repeatedly disproven a link between vaccines and autism. Go read about Andrew Wakefield, the asshole that started this crap and how his paper that claimed a link between the MMR vaccine and autism has been withdrawn, and his medical license revoked. Here’s another thing that drives me mad -. Autism and neurodiversity are far from the worst things that could happen to you as a parent or your child, but don’t take my word for it – take Sarah’s. Do you know who else has Autism? Daryl Hannah, Temple Grandin, Courtney Love (I Know, not the best example), Dan Akroyd, Adam Young,  Susan Boyle and Matt Savage – amongst many other successful and ridiculously intelligent people.

An Open Letter to Anti-Vaccine Parents Continue reading

My Boobs Are My Business…

It seems that no matter where I go, who I’m with or what I am doing – there is one question I just cannot get away from. Are you breastfeeding? – this is probably one of the most delicate, loaded questions one mom could ever ask another and I am taken aback every time. Why do I need to answer that question? And when did private decisions become a public curiosity? (Yes, I get the irony of me addressing this issue on my very public blog).

It did not bother me so much in the first few weeks when I could still give yes as an answer – but after my second child and second failed attempt at breastfeeding and having to answer no – only to be met by judgmental stares and be given a whole lecture on how it is impossible not to be able to breastfeed, that I am robbing my child of a healthy life and how selfish I am being – it’s become a soul crushing guilt trip.

My Boobs Are My Business... Continue reading

My Life – Living With Bipolar Disorder – Growing Up, Pregnancy and Motherhood

It has taken me a long time to write this post. It is something so deeply personal, but I can’t tell you how good it feels to let it all out. This is my clean slate… my fresh start to 2015. Sometimes the baggage gets too heavy to carry in your mind.

My Life - Living With Bipolar Disorder - Growing Up, Pregnancy and Motherhood

Up until a few years ago, most of my thoughts consisted out of wanting my life to end. There was no real reason – I just didn’t, and sometimes still don’t, want to be here any more. It has taken me years to understand my disorder. I know I will never be cured, but after years of juggling medication, therapy and building a support base I know I can manage it. I am no healthcare professional, I believe there are as many ways people develop to cope (or not cope) as there are people suffering with depression and Bipolar. I am simply telling my story. Continue reading

Animal Testing – Does The Cost To The Animal Justify The Research? Make An Informed Decision.

The next time you are applying your make-up or washing your baby’s hair, take a moment to consider whether or not you can do so with a clear conscience. I have never understood the need for companies to test on animals, and I never will. I think it takes a very evil kind of person to subject these little creatures to the kind of pain and torture they endure. I know that we are all busy, and change is not always easy, but are you comfortable with the fact that the animals being used in these tests suffer and ultimately die, all in order to ensure that we can improve our appearances? Are humans morally more important than all animals? Is there a sliding scale with humans at the top and the simplest animals at the bottom? Or are humans and animals morally equal?

“Right now, millions of mice, rats, rabbits, primates, cats, dogs, and other animals are locked inside cold, barren cages in laboratories across the country. They languish in pain, ache with loneliness, and long to roam free and use their minds. Instead, all they can do is sit and wait in fear of the next terrifying and painful procedure that will be performed on them.” – PETA

I have done extensive research over the past couple of weeks in order to provide everyone reading this article with the correct information, and to compile a list of companies that do and companies that do not test on animals. My list focuses on beauty brands, baby and kids brands and household products.

Animal Testing - Does The Cost To The Animal Justify The Research? Make An Informed Decision.

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My Issues with Maternity Leave in South Africa

I have one month left at work until I have to go on maternity leave, I say have to because apparently I do not have a choice in the matter. Let me explain – like most of the companies in the fashion industry the company I work for has a shut-down period from 19 December 2014 until about 14 January 2015 in which we all have to take our annual leave that we have built up throughout the year, my plan was to work up until the last day when we would all break up (I would be 38 weeks pregnant). To me this meant more time with my baby after birth. I was however informed that, by law, I have to go on maternity leave at 36 weeks, that’s an entire month before my due date and means that I have only three months maternity leave left after my baby is born.

The maternity leave issue has been bugging me for a while now. According to the Basic Employment Act, mothers are entitled to four consecutive months of maternity leave – first off, even if your maternity leave only kicks in after the birth of your baby, four months is not nearly enough time to bond with a newborn (you can read my article on bonding with my first child here). Secondly, I am one of the many unlucky women who will not be receiving a salary from my company during this time. Luckily our baby was planned and we have been fortunate enough to make provisions, but it is still going to be a major financial setback for us. Many women cannot afford to not receive a salary for that amount of time and are thus forced to go back to work earlier. You can claim from UIF, but the amount you receive is nothing short of a joke… at least it is better than nothing I suppose. I have asked the opinions of a couple of South Africans through various social media network platforms as well as forums – most of the feedback is pretty much on par with how I feel, but some of the comments just blew my f*#@! mind.

According to Economist Dawie Roodt – longer maternity leave is not an option for South Africa. “The current duration is far too much already. When the politicians start to force the employer to keep a position open for a longer period for an employee, they are essentially penalizing and taxing the employer,” –  I wonder if Mr Roodt has children, or how long his wife took maternity leave (if she works at all). He then went on to make the following statement – “When UIF is being paid out for a longer period, it means someone else is paying for you to be on maternity leave.” Okay, I understand, but I am paying for some asshole in Pollsmoore Prison to receive a meal and a bed every night for killing/raping/murdering/stealing or whatever. I am also paying for my president to build lavish homes (Nklandla) and for his wives to go on insane designer shopping sprees. I am paying towards a government that is crumbling and that has become a source of comic relief to us. Surely, paying me UIF is a small price to pay compared to all the money we fork out that seems to disappear into thin air.

My Issues with Maternity Leave in South Africa

A senior policy consultant at the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Pietman Roos, said if maternity leave was extended, employing women would be seen as a risk to companies. “It’s a cost factor. It would ultimately affect the chances of getting a job for all women,” he said. I’m sorry, does that not constitute as discrimination?? Why are we being punished for having babies?

Many women referred to the Pick n Pay model which allows eleven months of maternity leave, nine of which are paid. The retailer gives fathers eight days’ paternity leave, even though labour legislation does not make specific allowance for leave for new fathers. If the mother and father both work at Pick n Pay, they can share the maternity leave. That is amazing – why did I not go work for them?? Makro is not far behind, offering employers nine months paid maternity leave.

South Africa abides by the ILO Convention 183, which states that a woman is entitled to maternity leave of no less than 14 weeks, but the country has not taken up a recommendation to extend maternity leave to at least 18 weeks.

Sweden is the most generous when it comes to parental leave – mothers and fathers can share 16 months at home with their baby.

At least we are not in Tunisia, which offers the shortest maternity leave of just one month.

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