Archive for the ‘Motswana Woman’ Category

Nomalanga: How Black Men and Black Women can be Heroes

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

Having been born and raised in another country (Botswana), I often have a different perspective of my life as a Black woman living in America. I grew up in a society that is almost the polar opposite of American society. I grew up in a country where the most loved, respected and respectable person in society was the Black man. This gives me a very unique perspective in that I am able to see how a community of Black people can function when the women and children and even the men are not bombarded with images, news and “statistics” that all emphatically state that the Black man is the greatest threat to their lives. Let me be clear, I am not saying that Botswana is somehow “better” than America or that I , a Motswana (a person from Botswana), am somehow “better”, than an American Black man or woman. I am just offering a different perspective.

Having lived in America for about a decade and a half, I have grown to understand how important it is to always think for myself and to seek understanding in matters that are heavily overlaid with confusion, manipulation and ulterior motives. There is only one outcome in a community that does not hold their men in high regard: it will fall apart and it will devastate every member of its community.

I just listened to a speech by Louis Farrakhan in which he talked about The Willie Lynch letter/theory-The Making Of a Slave. In my first exposure to Farrakhan, years ago, I dismissed him as being a “radical” and an “instigator”. Sadly, I am now becoming increasingly aware that my judgment was made hastily and made because of a lack of knowledge and understanding of the complexity of being Black in America.

I still don’t entirely agree with everything Farrakhan says, but sadly, I don’t believe that he is wrong when he says that we can still see the devastation of Willie Lynch’s work in our communities today. All you have to do is interview Black women and find out what they think of Black men and then ask Black men what they think about Black women. They will all say a variety of things, but what I have observed is a thread of mistrust, contempt, judgments, frustration, suspicion, paranoia and so on. Of course, not ALL black women or ALL Black men feel the same way about each other and some may speak in direct contradiction to what I am saying. That being said, even if they said that everybody loved everybody else and everything was perfect, we can still look at the state of Black communities across the country. There are more little Black boys and girls growing up in homes without both parents than there are those who have the safety and security of both of their parents. Even among those who have both of their parents, there are many who are still exposed to unhealthy and dysfunctional ways of living. The devastation can be seen in so many ways; just take a trip to your local jail house and tell me what you see. Take a trip to an “urban” public school and tell me what you see. I could go on, but I think you see where this is going.

The only way that this unfortunate set of circumstances, to put it mildly, will begin to change is when we, Black women and black men begin to show up as Heroes. Our heroes are not the next President or the next policy or even the next pastor. It is each and every one of us.

A hero is a man or woman who can see his community’s restoration even before it happens-that is called Vision. Heroes are visionaries.

A hero is a man or woman who is willing to set aside their “happiness”(an ambiguous and false state that can elude a person for the rest of their life) for the sake of their husband or wife and children and community.

A hero is a man or woman who is selfless in their conduct because he or she knows that in serving his or her spouse, children and members of the community, s/he cannot go without. That is a basic law of the universe-what you sow, you will reap.

Let’s stop pointing fingers, even when we have just cause, but instead step up and be responsible and accountable-that is heroism. Let’s start with loving our children, even before they are conceived, by behaving responsibly so that when they are conceived, they have a better chance at a normal, healthy and functional family life.

This is not about me sitting on my high horse and wagging a finger at others; it is actually quite the opposite. Every day, I have to make a conscious decision to do the right thing because it is so much easier to just do what I feel is right for ME. How easy it would be to not have to “work” at building a marriage. How easy it would be to blame anyone or anything for my lack of action or lack of accomplishment of my goals. I believe that there are systems in place that do not serve “us” and I believe in doing my part to effect change. I do not, however, believe that I can afford the luxury of just talking about all the “odds” that are stacked against me and then use that as a reason to give up. I don’t believe that I should behave irresponsibly and then wash my sins away with “the blood of Jesus”.

Please. Let’s start being the heroes. Let’s start the process of restoration. Let’s be accountable and responsible. Let’s start holding each other accountable-not just blaming and judging. Let’s start showing more compassion for each other without enabling each other. Let’s start challenging the systems that do not serve “us”. Please.

Check out Nomalanga’s e-book:
Seven Life Changing Habits; How I Changed My Life from Mediocre to Magnificent & How You Can Too!

Nomalanga: Why he doesn’t respect you

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

A lot of times when we hear people describing the differences between men and women, we hear “men need to be respected” and “women need security”. While I can’t argue with the descriptions, I think what tends to happen is that we talk about men needing to be respected so much that we forget that women need t be respected as well and they also need to respect themselves.

In the area of respect, women fall into three basic categories:
1. She is respected and commands respect
A woman who is respected is a woman who has a healthy level of confidence and self respect. This woman earns respect and therefore commands it. She is a woman of substance and she demonstrates this through her words and deeds.

2. She is not respected but demands respect
This is a woman who secretly loathes herself and does not respect herself. This woman hopes that no one will figure out her dirty little secret and she usually complains about not being respected and constantly has to demand respect.

3. She is not respected and she does not expect to be
This woman is a woman who has such a low level of confidence and self esteem that she has no expectation that anyone will respect her. She allows people to talk to her and treat her badly and sadly, she believes that she deserves that bad treatment.

Of course there are instances when a self respecting and respectable woman will be disrespected by a person who has no regard for the appropriate way to treat another human being. Also, as women, we deal with issues such as sexism, where no matter how respectable you are, some man is going to think that his male “parts” somehow qualify him for some superior status in life. Another common issue is racism, where some non-black or non-minority person will not respect a woman of color because he or she believes that the color or tone of their skin entitles them to some “special” status that no black or minority person can ever attain.

With all the exceptions aside, any woman who complains that her man or anyone does not respect her has to do a self analysis and see which of the three types of women she is. In the two cases of the women who do not respect themselves, usually because of their low level of self esteem and lack of confidence, there is a simple answer: Invest in your personal development and become a woman of substance.

In the next post of the Personal Development Series, I will share tips on how to become a woman of substance.

Nomalanga: Three Questions to ask yourself before Divorce

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

By Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses

Less than a year into marriage, I experienced what I now call the “reality” phase. Anyone who has been married for a while knows exactly what I’m talking about. The “Reality” phase of marriage is when you start to come down off of the honeymoon phase of the relationship and start to really see your partner for who they are rather than the fantasy that you were projecting onto them.

Just as I was processing this rather confusing phase, I had a conversation with one of my “sisters” who, at the time, had been married for about eight years. What she shared were three major things that tend to affect marriages either negatively or positively. In other words, if you pay attention to these three “things”, you can sustain a happy marriage but if you neglect these things, trouble is inevitably around the corner.

I am generally an advocate of marriage; partially because I was born and raised within the confines of one. (Side note: My parents have been married for almost 40 years).

That being said, if you have neglected any of the three “things” I feel that it is possible to give each one attention and restore your marriage, rather than head to Divorce court.
Here are the questions you need to ask yourself:
1. Are we Communicating well?
Many times what couples think are major problems, are actually small problems buried in a series of miscommunications or no communication at all. Unless you have developed the skill of effective communication and are able to resolve conflicts and problems through effective communication, you have not earned your way out of the marriage. Rather than head to divorce court, explore ways to build your communication skills.

2. Are our finances in order?
My husband and I love to joke that we need to make sure that we get our finances in order because “broke people fight”. Now, I’m not sure where the saying “broke people fight” comes from but like most jokes, it has an element of truth in it. When finances are in order, there is a level of security that can quickly disappear if they are mismanaged. If you get to a point where your finances are a mess, rather than head to divorce court, put your heads together and explore strategies to restore the financial well-being of your family.

3. When was the last time we were “intimate”?
“Intimacy” is a topic that many of us shy away from because it is uncomfortable for some people to discuss. That being said, if you are not being “intimate” with your spouse, you’re trying to glue two pieces of paper together and omitting the glue. Before you head off to Divorce court, get creative about “rocking his world” (or hers). One thing that I would add to this is that many women ask, “what if I just don’t feel like it?” Well, I’ll tell you like I heard it jokingly said, “Sometimes you just have to take one for the team”.

As I approach our 8th anniversary in marriage and reflect back on my own marriage and those of the people around me, I can honestly say that what my ‘sister” told me all those years ago was marriage saving advice. That being said, none of the three “things” apply if you’re dealing with a partner who is abusive, is dealing with an addiction or is chronically unfaithful. Even these serious issues are not cause to end your marriage but they are certainly issues that need addressing though professional or spiritual intervention.

At the end of the day, a problem in marriage is no longer just your problem; it is the possibility of your children growing up without Both their parents or the shattering of a community that was partially bound by your marriage or another case of giving up on your own personal development journey which your marriage was facilitating. Make a decision, today, whether you are already married or not yet married, to ask yourself these questions so that you can stay married. Don’t let yourself down. Don’t let your spouse down. Don’t let your children down. Don’t let your family and your community down. Stay married.

Nomalanga: Miss World announces contestants list-what about the judges?

Friday, April 20th, 2012

It is being reported that a list of 50 winners of national beauty pageants around the world was made public. These 50 are the first of what is expected to be a total of 120 women all vying for the Miss World 2012 title. What I find interesting is that we always know so much about the contestants but so little about the judges.

It makes sense that in order to protect the integrity of the judging process, the international beauty pageants would not disclose the names of the judges but I also think it is reasonable to expect that after the pageants, there should be full disclosure. If there is no transparency in the judging process, we can never be certain that the winner was chosen fairly.

My experience at Mrs World 2011
led me to write a letter to the Mrs World Pageant owners, specifically because the pageant lacked both transparency in the judging process and there was a lack of diversity in the selection of the judges as well. Of the nearly 60 women that entered the Mrs World pageant, there were no less that 12 women who were either African or identified themselves as being of African decent and yet, not one single one made it into the top 14. Of the women that the judges selected to go into the top 14, only Mrs Vietnam (a gorgeous and phenomenal woman) made it in. The problem with this is that the only non-white judge on the judging panel was a Vietnamese woman who is also a former Mrs Vietnam.

I’m saying all this to make one basic point, we need BOTH transparency and diversity in judging international pageants. If pageants are going to define beauty by narrow, euro-centric standards, then it may be best for those that do not fit into those narrow stands to forgo entering the pageants all together. Although pageants are about more than how the women look, it is next to impossible to deny that how the women look is certainly a critical factor in deciding who walks away with the title.

The main reason why I wrote the letter to the owners of the Mrs World pageant is because I believe that the Mrs World did not select a diverse pool of judges and in so doing, they opened most of the Mrs World contestants to an unfair pageant experience.

One thing that I absolutely love about the Miss World (not MRS) pageant system is that their judging system is such that they always have a finalist from every continent or region of the world. That being said, in their history, they have only, to my knowledge, ever had two Black women win the title. Statistically, that is not high enough and I hope that in the coming years, we will see an improvement. Being a finalist and or runner up is great, but black women deserve to wear the crown as well.

If you want a “good” man…be a “good” woman, first!

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

I just read the article below and immediately wanted to go and hug the writer, Dr. Corey Guyton. This man has managed to pin point one of the major reasons why black people’s relationships and marriages fail so often:Women stopped understanding their value and the men followed right along and stopped appreciating the women’s value. When things don’t work out, women tend to blame the men; black men. What we might want to start doing is looking at ourselves and let that be our starting point. I’m not saying that women are Always to blame and men are Never to blame. What I am saying is that “change comes from within”. Start within and I bet what you see “without” will also begin to change.

From a Brother to the Sisters: Why You Should Demand to Be Properly Courted!
By Dr. Corey Guyton
The bible states that “whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing”. In today’s society, it seems that this bible verse has been reversed to “whoso findeth a husband findeth a good thing”. This reversal of roles is the result of women believing that there are not many good men left, causing them to take the role of the pursuer and not the pursued. The truth is that when women begin aggressively pursuing men, it puts them at a disadvantage. If a woman chases a man, he has the ability to control the situation because her pursuit of him lets him know that she likes him, which gives him the opportunity to make her work for him. In these situations men do not have to take the time to get to know a woman internally because there would be no incentive to do so. At this point, men can push the envelope and try to be physical with a woman because if it does not work out, he will not have lost anything because he was not pursuing her in the first place.

Beautiful queens, you are royalty. You deserved to be chased and you deserve to be wine and dined. In my opinion, going “dutch” or you paying for a date is unacceptable. While you are being pursued, a guy should pay for everything and there are multiple reasons why.

1. If a guy pays for your dates, it shows that he sees enough value in you to invest in you financially.

2. If a guy takes the lead and pays for you, it shows that he has the potential to be a provider when he has a family. This does not mean that women cannot provide, but it suggest that he would be willing to do whatever it took to support his family.

3. If a guy pays for your dates without trying to get anything from you (sex, money, etc), it shows that he is pursuing you for you and not for what you can do for him.

A real man (good man) will always take the lead on paying for you while pursuing you. When I first met my beautiful queen, I would not let her pay for anything. I wanted her to see that I valued her and that I was willing to do whatever it took to prove that I was fully invested in her and really wanted to be with her. My goal was to make her feel like a queen and allow her to feel wanted. By no means am I telling you to milk a guy for his money, but allow him to treat you as the queen you are.

From my experience, I have noticed that women love to feel wanted and appreciated. If this is true for you, why settle for a guy you have to chase? You deserve to be courted, chased, pursued, wanted, appreciated, and feel special. Do not settle for less beautiful queens, because real men understand that their role is to pursue you. If you want the key to a guy’s heart, please make sure that he pursues and works for you.

About the Writers
Dr. Corey Guyton is a dynamic speaker, blogger, author, and husband who is on a mission to bring back the essence of healthy relationships. Alongside his wife, Dr. Chutney Guyton, their movement has gained momentum and they have been sought out by many colleges, conferences, churches, and organizations for their powerful keynotes, workshops, books, and personal consulting. For more information, visit www.ybelove.com.
Source

From Gratitude to Praise

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

By guest blogger: Unami Mulale
I spent the majority of my 3 years of Pediatric Critical Care training angry and bitter. I did not understand. I never understood why children had to suffer and sometimes die, especially in some of the most heart wrenching situations. If I had not felt that this was my calling, I would have quit long ago; in my head, I quit several times. But I could not walk away from what I feel is where God would have me be. I have always hated suffering, and have always let God know so. We have had many a conversation about this, God and I. I never thought I would be immersed in the field as part of my daily life, hoping to alleviate pain as much as possible. I pray daily to be the Master’s great tool, that I may be used to remove as much pain as possible. I used to think of myself as a healer, but then I realized that is not what Jesus had placed me here for. I am here to care, no matter the outcome, I am here to care for those whose paths will cross with mine. If the outcome is healing, God be praised all the more! But if the outcome is not healing, those that remain on earth need to know that someone had cared. I care with my whole heart. I am not the keeper of days, only He knows our appointed times. In the last of those days for my patients, I will be there to show concern, and bring comfort. Should God add to their days, I will be grateful in knowing that I had somehow impacted that situation.

At the start of last year (2010), I accepted that I had changed. The constant anger from the assault that combating critical disease was to my soul had changed me. I would like to say that I was an unbendable Christian and I was strong, but I would be lying. I was hurt and stained from all the tears of 3 years of intervening as children tried to die. And so a few days after the year began, I decided to choose gratitude instead of anger. I was grateful that God would award me the undeserved honor and privilege of taking care of children, often changing the course of their lives from death to life. I was grateful that I actually had the ability and opportunity to study at the top most level of Pediatrics. I was grateful that I had a dream, and life had carved a path for me to walk towards that dream of making children better.

Little did I know that I would be in the presence of my own mother as she died. We were in an ICU in Botswana that lacked the bare essentials of what I considered to be standard of care. It did not matter that I was trained in Critical Care, this was my mother laying here. As I listened to the joy of heaven as they welcomed her, I felt deeply inadequate. Sad. Alone. Cheated. Broken. But once again, it was time to choose. Like I had done when the year started, I chose gratitude. Grateful that I was at her side. Grateful that she is in a better place. Grateful for the exemplary mother she was. Grateful for the love that she bestowed upon us. Grateful that she had invested so much in me, and my siblings. Grateful that she had shared my life, even coming to New York in the summer. Grateful for all the lives she had touched and changed. Grateful. I chose gratitude.

When I think about her, I choose gratitude over sorrow. It is deliberate and at times near impossible, but I choose gratitude. At the start of this year, I will still choose gratitude, and I will also choose to praise God. I will praise Him for deeming me worthy of my mother for almost 34 years. I will praise Him for allowing me to wake up in the morning and live out her legacy. I will praise Him for the hands that He has given me to do His work. I will praise Him for the heart that He has placed in me to beat for others, to see their lives made whole. I will praise Him.

Happy New Year all! It is going to be sensational, exceptional and full of wonder!

HOW I WON AT MRS WORLD 2011

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

1. I became a pioneer for my country as the first ever Mrs Botswana
In the history of Botswana, no married woman has ever taken the courageous and bold step to enter the Mrs World pageant and represent the beautiful married women of Botswana. I am proud and honored to have opened this door and it is my hope and desire that we will continue in this new and unique way of recognizing the hard work, accomplishments and beauty of the married women of Botswana.

2. I achieved a lifelong dream of representing my country at an international pageant
In 1997, I entered the Miss Botswana (World) pageant and was honored to attain second place and be crowned the first princess of Miss Botswana 1997. Mpule Kwelagobe won that year and a couple of years later she was the first ever contestant from Botswana to enter the Miss Universe pageant. Mpule went on to make history as the first ever Black African woman to win the Miss Universe pageant. Mpule’s win brought all us Batswana a great deal of joy and pride and I believe she represented us exceptionally but my desire to compete at an international pageant never left. By competing in the Mrs World 2011 pageant, I finally fulfilled one of my big dreams.

3. I raised awareness and brought attention to issues that I’m passionate about.
Those that know me know that I recently designed, piloted and taught a college level course designed for young black women and other women of color. I believe that personal development is the bridge that takes us from where we are to where we were born to be and my passion and purpose is to instill this one principle in as many young women as I can. Mentorship and good roles models affect us in such positive ways and the more women of substance that stand up and lead by example, the more of a positive impact we can make in our families, our communities and society as a whole.

4. I reclaimed my health, beauty and vigor.
When I decided to enter the Mrs World pageant, I decided to be the best that I can be. I walked in looking my best and feeling my best. It was about being the most beautiful, healthy, fit and positive ME that I could be and going after this goal injected some passion back into my life and I channeled it into doing better with my eating and exercise habits!

5. I made lifetime friends.
I was loved, affirmed, validated, encouraged and understood and it did not just stop there, I met women who I instantly loved and appreciated and I poured into them in the same way that they poured into me. I laughed and cried and connected with such phenomenal women and my life is forever changed by that beautiful experience.

6. I brought “Noma” to the Mrs World pageant
One of the things that I heard most consistently before and during the pageant was “just be yourself” and that is exactly what I did. Some people loved it, some liked it and some…not so much :-). The victory here is that I accept myself as I am and that opens the door for others to do the same and that is one of the most powerful lessons that I have learned in my adult life.

7. I took my very first “solo” and much needed vacation ever since I got married and subsequently had children.
Since I got married and had children, I have never been away from all of them and my job all at the same time. What this experience has done for me is that it gave me time and space to reflect on my life and my life choices. It gave me a new sense of appreciation for my wonderful husband and my beautiful children.

8. I carried myself with grace and dignity.
The low moment in this pageant experience was the announcement of the top 14 the judges selected and sadly, there was not a single African woman or black woman or a woman of African heritage or descent amongst them-not a single one. At a point during the final night, there was talk of the all black women boycotting the pageant and just walking off. I was instrumental in negotiating with those that felt strongly enough to do it and asked them to maintain their grace and dignity even in the moment of such blatant disrespect and disregard. We all walked back on the stage and supported the winner, Mrs America; a beautiful woman with such a big heart that I felt the crown was in its rightful place.

9. I realized just how much my friends and family love, admire and support me.
During the week leading up to the pageant, I got so many messages of love, encouragement and motivation from friends and family from all around the world and I am forever grateful for that. I am so humbled by the amount of faith that “my people” had in [God] and what he could do through me.

10. I failed to get the crown but every failure takes me one step closer to my ultimate success.
At the end of the day, I did not walk home with the crown and that is okay because as I said, every failure (even though this was ultimately not a failure) leads to my ultimate success and my success is that of my husband, Ezra Moses, my children, my parents and family, my community and my country, the diamond of Africa-Botswana.

Ke a leboga bagaetsho. (translation: Thank you my brethren /my countrymen)

Mindful Mornings: Happy and Grateful

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

If you find yourself feeling down, sad and sorry for yourself, you have probably shifted your focus from what you DO have to what you DON’T have. Sometimes “happiness” is just about shifting your focus. Just be mindful of what you’re focused on and you’ll be amazed at how often you have to SHIFT. If you get in the habit of shifting your focus from what you DON’T have to what you DO have, you’ll be amazed at the results! This is how you begin to live a life of GRATITUDE.

Grateful people are “happy” people and ungrateful people are unhappy people. It really is that simple. What do you choose-gratitude and happiness or complaining and unhappiness?

I choose Gratitude.