Weekend reading: perspectives on money, French shirts and compost


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Love to read

Can We Change Our Childhood Perspectives on Money? This is such an important read for couples with differing approaches to money. The relationship Meg describes with her husband is pretty spot on for my partner and me. Ask yourself: If you found R1,000 would you spend it or save it? And what would your partner do? (You should also read 7 Tips for a More Equal Household.)

Authenticity Online. I’ve followed Jolie Ankrom for a little over a year now on Instagram (you can find her at @becomingjoile). I love her style, her approach to motherhood and her thrifting skills. She also introduced to me Whole30! But lately I have been touched by her insights into marriage and relationships. This piece she wrote is wonderful. You should read it if you’re in a long term relationship. I’ve read it a few times now and every time all I can think is “me too”. It’s a reminder that we’re not alone in our struggles.

How a Darth Vader selfie showed the worst side of social media. A reminder not to post your suspicions on social media. This poor guy had his picture shared over 20,000 times on Facebook after a stranger labeled him a creep and a possible sexual offender.

“What a horrible mother:” How a call from a “good samaritan” derailed these mothers’ lives. I remember staying in the car while my parents did the shopping – it was more fun than being dragged around the shops. Recently mothers in America have been charged with child endangered for doing the same thing.

Save Tax Free Investment Calculator. I thought this was a pretty useful tool for South Africans trying to figure out what tax free investment suits their needs.

French Speakers Hilariously Discuss What French T-Shirts Actually Say. “This is not even French. Putting “le” in front of a random foreign-sounding word doesn’t make it French.”

The 20 Most Beautiful Countries In The World. South Africa bags the top spot!

The Urban Death Project. If you don’t want to be buried or cremated you can be turned into compost. Sign me up!

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Weekend reading: Taylor Swift, freezing your eggs and Ebola


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Don’t Say Goodbye. Just ghost. I am a ghoster. I will say goodbye to the host if I can but I am not going to take 20 minutes to say goodbye to everyone at a party.

If All Disney Princesses Were Taylor Swift. The whole gang is here: Tayriel, Jaslor, Swift White, Mulor, Taylorella and Tay. It’s the only way you could make Disney princesses any better.

Facebook and Apple to pay for female employees to freeze their eggs. Facebook and Apple are trying to keep talented women in the workplace for longer.

These Cyclists Found an Awesome Way to Demonstrate Why Bikes Are Better Than Cars. Yes bikes take up less space than cars. But I think this is a good reminder of how much space drivers should give cyclists on the road.

Facebook introduces Safety Check. In the event of a disaster the Safety Check tool will help you let friends and family know you’re safe, check on others in the affected area and mark your friends as safe.

After terrorist threat, feminist video game critic Anita Sarkeesian cancels lecture at Utah university. A scary reminder of the threats and physical danger feminists have to deal with.

Relax. You’re not going to die of Ebola! Is the panic about Ebola more dangerous than the disease itself?

Diet Coke – Taylor Swift Kittens. Could there be anything better in the world right now than Taylor Swift drowning in kittens?

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Weekend reading: adulthood, blogging and meatballs


“Adulthood” Is a Myth. Fake it ’til you make it. Or something. A Practical Wedding has published the most wonderful essays on what it means to be a “grownup”. In this essay Hayley Cotter talks about waiting (sometimes desperately) for that “adulthood” feeling.

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Growing a minimalist wardrobe: step 1. Erin, from Reading My Tea Leaves, offers some useful advice to those wanting to slim down their wardrobe.

Smitten Kitchen: Lamb meatballs with feta and lemon. I made these for dinner this week and they are delicious! The lemon, mint and olives are a welcome change from a normal tomato sauce.  I served the meatballs with mini pita breads.

The Next Big Thing. Daniel, over at Manhattan Nest, has bought a new house! It’s tiny and hidden in a mini forest. I can’t wait to see what he does with it.

When Blogging Becomes a Slog. The New York Times takes a look at Young House Love‘s (temporary?) exit from the blogosphere.

Suzelle shows us how to peel a lot of potatoes. You will need a drill, toilet brush and bucket!

Midlands Thrifting Haul


There are three reasons I love shopping in second-hand stores:

  1. You find bargains. If you haven’t already noticed: I love a good bargain. Knowing that I am saving money on something gives me a little high.
  2. You meet interesting people. If you go to the same second-hand shops regularly you will get to know the people who work there. Those are the people who are going to keep an eye out for that antique drinks tray you’re searching for. They are also the people who are going to give you an additional discount on an already cheap, cheap price.
  3. You buy a little bit of history. The clothes, furniture and jewelry you buy have a history. Somebody loved it and now I get to love it.

I went second-hand shopping with my dad a couple of weeks ago. We were up in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands for the day and decided to pop into two SPCA shops. The first shop we went to was a bit sparse. There were lots of knickknacks and a toddler beside himself about an “Incwredibles” poster. My dad headed to the cooking book aisle. “Even if I only ever try one recipe from a book it’s a deal,” he told me.

I spotted a box of old patterns. My mum has lent me her sewing machine and I want to make a midi-skirt. I have been looking for one for ages but have battled to find one I like. They are either too expensive or I don’t like the fabric. I am hoping to be able to make my own, which will be cheaper than buying one (I told you I like a bargain!). I bought two skirt patterns and a pants pattern. I liked these joggers from Woolworths and I think the pattern will create something similar. The three patterns cost me R6.

At the second shop we had better luck. My dad once again disappeared to look at books. They had a shelf of books which they were selling for R1. He bought The Day of the Jackal. He rates it as one of his favourite books, along with Deliverance and Catch 22.

I started going through the clothing racks. This is a very divisive issue in the thrifting world: either you buy second-hand clothes or you don’t. I’m happy to buy them if they are pretty, they fit and are (relatively) clean . In the last rack I found an olive green bush shirt. It’s nothing spectacular but it is unusual to find a bush shirt in a ladies cut. My boyfriend and I are planning to go on a few camping trips and bush adventures in the coming months. Now we can wear matching bush shirts. The shirt cost R20.

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Just as I was about to pay for my shirt I spotted my last purchase. A rather worn box of A Question of Scruples was just sitting there waiting for me. This is an infamous game in my family. My mum banned my older siblings from playing it because it caused so many fights. The game requires players to predict how their opponents will respond to certain moral dilemmas. It’s a fun way to ruin friendships. It cost R15.

Have you been thrifting recently? Are you happy to buy second-hand clothes? Let me know in the comments.

Meg Jay: Why 30 is not the new 20


Meg Jay’s TED Talk made me look. She argues that “far from being an irrelevant downtime, our 20s are a developmental sweet spot that comes only once.” Her advice to 20-somethings? 

  1. Invest in identity capital. Start doing things that are going to make you the person you want to become. Want to become an actor? Join the local drama club. Want to become a journalist? Start a blog.
  2. Build a wide social network. New opportunities usually come from outside your small group of friends. You need to start thinking about what your friend’s friends could do for you.

2013: My year of feminist literature


Most years I set resolutions. They are of the same calibre every year: go to the gym three times a week, drink more water, eat less junk food, stay in touch with family and friends. Each year I achieve some but let most slip away. This year however I have decided to set only one resolution: read and write more. It may seem like two resolutions, but they are so intertwined that to split them is impossible. I am also going to refine this resolution – make it more narrow, tangible and hopefully achievable. I am going to spend this year reading and writing about feminism. I will read one feminist book a month from January 2013 to November 2013. I will save December 2013 for review and reflection.

Why now? I think it is because I am tired. I am tired of coming up against sexism and patriarchy. I am tired of meeting women who “don’t consider themselves feminists”. I am tired of hearing female politicians denounce feminism. I am tired of gaslighting and mansplaining. I think the solution to feeling tired is to find strength. I want to read about feminism so that I have a history to draw on when I am told that I am being “overly sensitive”, that I “must get over it” or that I “don’t have a sense of humour”. The women whose books I will read will give me both support and ammunition.

Which books? To prepare for the year ahead I Googled “top ten feminist books”. There were quite a few lists but none of them felt right. They listed books and women I had never heard of. I need to start somewhere familiar. I need a launching pad that I feel comfortable with. My mother has provided me with this. When I was growing up she was constantly reading feminist literature. As a teenager I would grab one of her books and open it randomly. It always felt quite illicit. I would read a few paragraphs about the word ‘slut’ then open another page and read about the history of contraceptive. So when it came time to choose my first four books for 2013 I went back to my mother’s collection. She helped me choose these books and helped me start this journey.

January – The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

February – The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedman

March – The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer

April – Promiscuities by Naomi Wolf

January, February, March and April.

Why only four books? I am sure that once I start the year I will discover books that I want to read. These four will just get the ball rolling. I also want to be open to suggestions throughout the year.

I am giving myself a head start on my first book, The Second Sex. Clocking in at over 700 pages I want to make sure that I finish it before the end of January. I will also be tweeting as I read. You can follow me at @kateomega.

Marshall Security ‘likes’ violent and racist comments


Last night while trawling Facebook I came across a post that had been shared by an acquaintance of mine. The picture showed a young black man, hand cuffed and lying on the floor. His lips were bloodied from a blow that must have been directed at his nose. He looked scared.

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I have edited the picture to obscure the man’s face.

I clicked on it out of curiosity. Who was this “Marshall Security” that was posting pictures of bloodied people on Facebook?  The description of the side of the picture offered some explanation.

“At 12:15 today one of our reaction officers noticed this suspect being chased down Margaret Maytom Avenue, our Reaction Officer and one of our Special Operations Team Members apprehended the suspect, it was then established that he had been trespassing on a residents property in Margaret Maytom Avenue and was seen attempting to break into a car that was parked on the property but was disturbed by the residents.

Well done to all involved, glad the residents were vigilant!”

A quick Google searched revealed that they are a private security company based in Durban North.

It appeared that Marshall Security had posted a picture of a man suspected of trespassing and suspected of attempting to break into a car. I think it is unacceptable that they would post a picture of a man in this condition and then label him a trespasser and a thief in a public platform. More worryingly it seems that while being apprehended he had sustained a bloody nose. He could have tripped and fallen while being chased but he also could have been assaulted by heavy-handed private security officers. I considered the latter more likely as I read the comments.

I spend a lot of time on the internet. In an attempt to keep myself sane and contain the rage I try to stay away from comment sections. This is usually because they allow people to post anonymously – I’m looking at you news24! People are often tempered on Facebook because their comments, pictures, shares and likes are so closely associated with their name and face. Usually I wouldn’t have read the comments on the picture because I know that they would upset me. But part of me wanted to see that other people thought what Marshall Security had done was wrong too. I wanted to see someone call them out. But as I scrolled down there wasn’t one comment that suggested that they shouldn’t have identified this person or taken a picture of him handcuffed. No one asked why he had a bloody nose. Instead the comments were a special kind of horrid. Here is a selection of comments I winced and cringed through.

Steve Evans noticed that the man had been hit in the face and encouraged Marshall Security to hit him again.

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Debbie Williams suggested that Marshall Security should have cut his hands off.

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Liz Van Goeverden suggested that they should drown this man.

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Yvette Cleugh fleshed out Liz’s plan to drown him but suggested (in what I imagine to be a racist black accent, Liz? Really?) that they should add some concrete to the bag before they tossed him in the sea.

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Adding to the plans to “bump” his nose into the pavement, cut his hands off and throw him in the sea (don’t forget the concrete, Liz!), Wesley Gates suggested that Marshall Security should break a few of his fingers.

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Wesley’s bone breaking suggestion was shortly followed up by Jn Rahm’s suggestion that he should be kicked in the head.

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I could go on. There were suggestions on every end of this graphic spectrum. You would imagine that the very least Marshall Security would be worried about its reputation and publicly discourage talk of vigilantism. They may even go as far as to delete some of the comments which incite violence. But not only does Marshall Security allow people to post comments of this nature, they go so far as to ‘like’ them. They liked all the posts I mentioned above and most of the violent, racist comments on other similar pictures.

They liked a post by Jeremy Hook on another picture of an apprehended man that simply said “Bang”.

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What does it mean to ‘like’ something on Facebook? What social action is connected to the fleeting moment when Marshall Security hovered over the like button and then clicked it? Are they condoning the comment, supporting it or agreeing with the statement? Do they think it is funny? When I ‘like’ something on Facebook those are the reasons I do it. I would never ‘like’ something that I disagree with. If I find a post repulsive or if it makes me angry I would never click the like button. I can only then assume the same for Marshall Security. This is deeply troubling.

By liking these posts Marshall Security has publicly supported sentiments which are unacceptable and in most cases disgusting. They should be held accountable for their actions.  They may not have written the comments but they agree with them.

I encourage you to go to Marshall Security’s profile and leave comments on the pictures. Tell them that you think this sort of behaviour is unacceptable. It worries me that the Marshall Security employee who clicks ‘like’ may be the same person bashing peoples’ noses. While you are there also have a go at the people who have left hateful and violent comments. I don’t think the little bubble of Facebook users who like the Marshall Security profile have often been exposed to differing view points. Let’s share ours with them.  Don’t expect many ‘likes’ though. I expect Marshall Security only likes it one way.

We need to expose companies like this that publicly encourage violence, vigilantism and racism. A company which has a public profile is subject to public scrutiny. If you have seen any other companies doing the same thing please let me know or send me a screen shot.