Tag Archives: black culture

06Sep/18

Black Girls Rock Shows-off This Sunday

Fate allowed me to attend the taping of the 2018 Black Girls Rock awards show, which took place at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark this past Sunday. This year, awards are given to Dancer & Choreographer Judith Jamison, Queen Mother Janet Jackson, Writer Lena Waithe, and Queen of R&B Mary J. Blige, to name a few. Believe you me, the stars presenting the awards are of the same fan-moment inspiring caliber as the honorees. The likes of the incomparable Phylicia Rashad, Ava DuVernay, Ciara, and Misty Copeland are far more superior than anything else likely to grace your screen. Yes, ever.

Photo Credits: FashionSizzle.com

I refuse to ruin anything for you dear reader, especially regarding the opening, but I definitely suggest that you prop yourself up before the show begins. I pretty much keeled over in my seat watching it live. You have been warned. With the door having been immediately blown off its hinges, you will soon realize that it was just to make way. Behold, the mogul MC and Black royalty, Host Queen Latifah. Black Girls Rock and we get to rock with the Queen for the entire evening. Stunning and attention demanding, suited in an almost tangible coolness, the Queen commands the stage just as you would expect.

With praiseworthy performances (plural, yes) from Yolanda Adams, a goose-bump raising ballad full of swagger soul by H.E.R., and the dipped-in-honey vocals of none other than Tamia, the announced performers will give you the show you are expecting. The soul-stirring performances will leave you with more to say than ‘Great gowns– beautiful gowns’. Okurrr? But what you’re NOT expecting though? The sheer force of the performances that WEREN’T announced. While there are no spoilers here, the good news is that you don’t have to wait long in order to experience it for yourself. ‘ Black Girls Rock ‘ premieres on BET this Sunday, September 9th, at 8pm ET/PT. Check your local listings.

05Sep/18

Roses In Words to My Salvation, My Mom

My brother on the left, Aaron. My mother Amanda Smith, middle. Me on the RIght

It may be difficult for some men to be vulnerable, to openly express heartfelt words of appreciation, but I have no shame in doing so. In fact, in this case, it is needed. The appreciation and love I have for my mother far exceed words. She has been the salvation for me since birth and more of a protector of my dreams than I have been myself.

My mother, Amanda Smith, is something of a beautiful phenomenon. Enduring years of racial prejudice as a teenager, putting her life at risk to give birth to my brother, displaying great work ethic, beating breast cancer, and taking care of multiple people while holding a job. The time she spent juggling a hectic work schedule while taking care of my little brother and my niece was inhuman. My brother and niece were in a terrible car crash, they both were in and out of the hospital from injuries yet she put on her cape and pressed on. She showed even more strength becoming the guardian of my niece after my brother passed. The strength she has is comparable to Superman and Samson (from the Bible) combined.

Even when she siphons her strength to others when they need, her endurance seems infinite. I am guilty of this at times because most times she is my salvation. There are times when I try to reciprocate but it never seems to be enough, yet still, she smiles.

When it comes to my goals and dreams, she has been a great supporter, no matter how big they may be. Just recently I have explored the world of writing and had some success. This had prompted me to take a break from medicine and go after a bigger goal – becoming a screenwriter/producer. Some have questioned my decision because the medical field is a more stable job market, but my mother has encouraged me to go forth in my pursuit with no hesitation. I have done so and have been blessed with opportunity after opportunity because of her support.

I value her, she is truly an amazing human being. Any given opportunity, I speak and display genuine love. I thank God every day for the angel my mom has been to me while I have been on this earth. She is royalty, strength, and savior. She is… a queen.

These are my roses in words to my mother.

My mother, Amanda Smith

03Aug/18

‘Nappily Ever After’ FINALLY Has A Trailer — It’s Amazing.

This is a bigger reveal than when Sanaa first posted pictures of her #Baldie Cut. We had the title for a while, but yesterday Netflix released the Official Trailer for Nappily Ever After. Ms. Lathan will be starring in the Netflix film based on the Best-Selling book from Author Trisha R. Thomas. Alongside the likes of Halle Berry, Lynn Whitfield, Ernie Hudson, and Ricky Whittle, this is stacked to be a good one.

Nappily Ever After follows Sanaa as Violet Jones, a Woman who is obsessed with Perfection. Not limited to her hair, if it isn’t perfect Violet wants nothing to do with it. But as we all know, it’s not always about what you want, but what wants you. Out of respect for not giving the ENTIRE story away, let’s just say that the gods giveth and they taketh away. Violet’s hair is simply the straw that breaks the Camel’s back. After cutting her hair in a (seemingly intoxicated) act of furious desperation, she is left to face the truth (and the mirror): She doesn’t know who she is without it all. Mix in external pressure and disapproval and you have a story that reeks of resonance. I have a feeling that, Bald or otherwise, most of us Women can relate and even tell a similar story or two. While Women also cut their hair as an act of joy, celebration, and rebellious freedom, this story is one of inevitable truth.

“My Hair was like a second job… Now I’m forced to focus on Myself.”

Coincidentally enough, Sanaa released the pictures of her fresh cut alongside the growing momentum of the #BaldCut and the Black Panther film (btw: Wakanda Forever and ever). There were already ongoing conversations concerning the beauty of Black Women, our hair, femininity, identity, and our imminent liberation from the stereotypes and limitations placed on all of that. Director on the bill is Haaifa Al-Mansour, the first woman Saudi Director and controversial legend of her own country. Being even slightly aware, there are interesting ties to hair and femininity in Saudi Arabia as well. So, with my disappointment at her not being of the Diaspora aside, I am interested to see how she weaves such truths together. In Nappily Ever After, we will get to watch as Violet struggles to recalibrate her entire life and embrace who she is without her preconceived notions of perfection. I have a feeling that it will be just that in the end: Perfect.

Film premieres Sept. 21 on Netflix.

 

01Aug/18

ChopBarDC : Dine Diaspora Digs In

Host Jessica and Chef Hiyaw | Photo credit: Chynna Keys (@MadeNChynna)

I love D.C. something serious. This past Sunday, I found my way to Ivy City’s ‘Big Chief’ venue for Dine Diaspora’s ChopBarDC event, featuring cuisine by Chef Hiyaw. Hosted by Travelista and fellow #Baldie Jessica Nabongo, it immediately felt like we were all friends of a mutual friend and had convened to eat good food (and look good while doing so). Afrobeat going, drinks flowing, Afros fro’ing… The vibe was so real. Jessica’s hilariously down to earth commentary lead us through intros, the many ChopBarDC giveaways and a dance-off for best-dressed. Yes, I said dance-off. I’m not sure how much more Diaspora-spirited it could’ve gotten than that. The Winners received pieces that had just been live painted by Dunnie The Artist. I’da danced for that too.

Is it cheesy to say that DJ EarthKwak was trying his hardest to shake things up? Oh well. He definitely succeeded at that. He took our food happy and drink buzzed bodies from West Africa through the Caribbean and then back to the Dirty South. We Gawra Gawra’d, Swag Surf’d, Palance’d and hit mean Slides (the electric variety of course). Yawl. We had a blast.

So. Although everyone clearly came to party, it was really about the food. From my understanding, Chef Hiyaw managed to achieve the impossible task of combining West African and East African flavors. Highlights of the party truly were the ever-flowing, belly-joy inducing chops that I couldn’t stuff my vegetarian face with. I thought SO hard on my dietary standings each time someone serving passed by with a tray. Temptation was everywhere. However, just when I thought I’d cave: Veggies and Injera. Oh my soul. Salvation. Sweet, savory, tangy, delicious salvation.

I had sweat quite a bit by then thanks to the crowd and the DJ, but I still needed a little something to soak up all the…

Chef Hiyaw’s ‘Gorsha’, A Spicy Red Lentil Injera. Photo Credit: Chynna Keys (@MadeNChynna)

Dranks! Photo Credit: Chynna Keys (@MadeNChynna)

First of all, you get a drink ticket upon entrance. Now, I knew it was a part of the ticket price, but that didn’t make them putting it into my hand any less magical. Then I got to the bar and actually SAW the themed drink menu. Straight up Gryffindor level work. I went straight for the African Sunrise and stayed there for the following… however many I ended up buying. I’ve never been a fan of Tequila but… ChopBarDC did it for me.

Can’t forget about the marketplace! Vendors like JoonAfrica with their beautiful selected home goods alongside Neek & Nan’s flavor-packed hand-made spices. They lay in wait on the rooftop, glittering in the Sun, beckoning my wallet. ChopBarDC definitely tried to set me up! Little did I know that each had gifted an item to the GARGANTUAN giveaway bags. One of which I’m sure I totally almost won. Next time, aye? Dine Diaspora even gave away a case of selected African spirits. Big name sponsors like Bai beverages gave out their drinks and hand fans while Ethiopian Airlines gave away a flight. All of us at ChopBarDC were kept super cool and super fly.

DineDiaspora clearly wants all of us to #LevelUp. See you at the next event!

Subscribe to their mailing list and stay up-to-date.

“The Best Adventure You Can Live is the Life of Your Dreams”

Host Jessica and Dunnie The Artist
Photo credit: Chynna Keys (@MadeNChynna)

Best-dressed Contest Winners
Photo Credit: Chynna Keys (@MadeNChynna)

Partay Peepo!
Photo Credit: Chynna Keys (@MadeNChynna)

Partay Peepo!
Photo Credit: Chynna Keys (@MadeNChynna)

Chef Hiyaw’s ‘Gold Coast’ Berbere Grilled Prawns.
Photo Credit: Chynna Keys (@MadeNChynna)

Chef Hiyaw’s ‘Eh Eh’ Chicken Suya.
Photo Credit: Chynna Keys (@MadeNChynna)

Chef Hiyaw’s ‘Got Beef’, 48 hr marinated Short-Rib.
Photo Credit: Chynna Keys (@MadeNChynna)

Dranks!
Photo Credit: Chynna Keys (@MadeNChynna)

 

Bai came to party! Photo Credit: Chynna Keys (@MadeNChynna)

21Feb/18

The Love of Hip Hop With DJ Dummy

DJ Dummy

DJ Dummy with Common (Left), Pharrell (Middle).

Black history month is a celebration of Black culture for centuries and one of the biggest links to Black culture is Hip Hop. Hip Hop has given artists the ability to express themselves or use Hip Hop as a commentary on social issues in the form of art. If Hip Hop is a canvas, DJ’s are like brushes that blend the colors of sound and voice to create beautiful portraits. DJ Dummy is one of those artists that brings an eclectic flair to his work; he is talented enough to masterfully capture the essence of a Henry Ossawa Tanner painting and recreate the artistic imaginings of a Faith Ringgold in his works of art. He is able to adapt and create in the world of Hip Hop sounds that are both palatable to ear and enriching to the soul. Taji Mag had the chance to interview the ageless, musical virtuoso to discuss his journey and his love of Hip Hop.

What influenced you to become a DJ?

DJ Dummy: “I was surrounded by DJ’s. My father is a DJ, my brother (DJ LS1) is a DJ. I also had uncles and three cousin’s that were also DJ’s. Going back to the 80’s, I used to go the park and DJ’s would have their equipment out and I am watching these guys, seeing that they were doing things that my father wasn’t doing. All my father did was mix two records together to continuously keep the beat going and now I’m seeing these guys in the park, they are scratching, making the record double. I was like, ‘this is something different!’ So that’s what made me want to get into it. I was 8 years old at the time and I knew I was going to DJ.”

You’ve performed at the White House, almost all of the late night shows, NBA All-Star games, and Dave Chappelle’s Block Party. You cover pretty much everything! How are getting all of these nice gigs?

DJ Dummy: I’ve been with the right people and I can honestly say that. I’ve been with Common for the last 17 years and I can’t take anything away from that man. He has put me in such amazing places. I get to shine [and] walk away with people knowing my name. I owe a lot of those experiences to Common. Because of him, I have performed at the White House three times!

What are your top three favorite gigs?

DJ Dummy in action.

DJ Dummy: I change the order of them all the time but… When I got to perform at the White House it was out of this world. First of all, it was President Barack Obama’s first party at the White House, this was the biggest thing ever. The fact that the President and the First Lady were partying with us was great! Secret Service was there but they weren’t crowding them. Barrack was in the middle of the dance floor partying with his guests. You have to think, this was our first Black president, we didn’t think we would ever have a Black president. That’s what was going through our minds as guests as we partied with him.

 

The next big gig was the Dave Chappelle Block Party. I tell people that you may have seen the DVD but you weren’t there! It was amazing and so great! First of all, to be in Brooklyn and to have all those artists on one stage with artist like Kanye, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Common, The Roots, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, and the Fugees was awesome! I tell people that you don’t know what that meant for Hip Hop that night! There were so many other artists that jumped on stage that they didn’t put in the movie. It started at 10 am and didn’t end until midnight. It was like our Hip Hop Woodstock! It rained all day and we still rocked! I really, really loved that night! There were no fights or anything it was all about the music.

My next big event was the first time I performed at Madison Square Garden. That was a big moment for me. I never thought I would be performing there. Here I am, in my hometown, where I was born and raised. but there I was on the stage performing. I was doing the opening set with Common. During the set, I had a 5-minute solo and after I was done, the crowd went bananas and if I would’ve blinked I would’ve cried. It got no better than that!

Tell me about a few other famous artists that you have worked with?

DJ Dummy: Queen Latifah, every time she calls me I am always available. I love working with her. She is such an amazing person and she has a great personality. I respect her more than I respect Oprah, no discredit to Oprah because she isn’t my Hip Hop era. Latifah came straight out of Jersey and to be the woman that she is in Hollywood, you have to be proud of her.

DJ Dummy with Queen Latifah

J.Cole taught me about putting out great work, like whole albums and not just singles. Each of his albums are full stories. Like the album J.Cole: Sideline Story was about him trying to break into the music industry or his album Born Sinner which was about him making it big but making so many mistakes. His approach to music is if the radio picks it up as a single, OK, but if he is in the studio he is not trying to make a single because that is not what he is about.

With Alicia Keys, I felt like I was working with God’s angels. I just kept thinking, ‘Is this person really this nice?’ I had to keep asking myself because she is so amazing. As soon as she walks in a room, the whole room lights up. She just brings that energy with her. If you are in the studio and you make a mistake, she would look at you with an amazing smile and say ‘Oh it’s ok, let’s just do it again.’ She is just an amazing person.

Why do you love Hip Hop?

DJ Dummy: I grew up in Brooklyn, NY in the late 70’s and early 80’s. All I heard was disco music played by my parents. Like Motown from that era, I loved music from there. Then when I heard somebody rapping these words over one of my fathers’ old records, I was like ‘Hey that’s Good Times but they are actually doing some raps over it!’ It grabbed me like holy cow! I was thinking this is was something we could relate to. It wasn’t about shaking your booty or love, this rap was about how we were talking growing up in the streets. It was just something we could relate to. Not saying we couldn’t relate to disco, disco was just there at the time. Once I heard groups like Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash, and the Cold Crush Brothers rapping over my fathers’ old records, it was the best of both worlds. Then there used to be jams outside of the park where the DJ would bring out the big bottom bass speakers and he would have control of the crowd that consisted of break dancers and other people dancing. That was Hip Hop. The music wasn’t Hip Hop, the whole environment was Hip Hop. That is when and why I fell in love with Hip Hop.

When it comes to Hip Hop, DJ Dummy truly exemplifies the quote, “To find joy in work, is to discover the fountain of youth.”

Make sure to look check out DJ Dummy’s tour schedule for performances near you and pick up his collaborative hit album “Vintage Babies” with Maimouna Youssef.

17Jan/18
Black Lightning

Black Lightning Lights Up DC in DC 2018

This past weekend Warner Brothers hosted DC Comics in D.C. highlighting the upcoming tv show Black Lightning. It featured four different panels and premiered the first episode of Black Lightning. All of the panels were great and featured a lot of great talent and artists, but the panel that was most representative of the MLK weekend was the panel titled “The Many Shades of Heroism: DC Heroes Through the African American Lens”. This panel explained the creation of many of the popular Black characters of the DC television series world. The panel consisted of the show’s producers, Salim and Mara Akil, as well as actors Cress Williams (Black Lightning), Candice Patton (The Flash), Chris Chalk (Gotham), David Harewood (Supergirl), comic artist and producer Denys Cowan, writer John Ridley, and author and songwriter Alice Randall.

Black Characters on DC TV Series

Candice Patton portrays Iris West on the popular show The Flash. She discussed the importance of portraying an outstanding version of the character on television and how doing so has influenced creators to change the race of the character in the comics. Originally Iris West is portrayed as a white woman in DC comics. “I feel extremely honored first of all to be put in this position,” Patton explained.

“I am happy that a black woman is carrying the torch so generations after this will remember that Iris West was a black woman .” – Candice Patton on portraying Iris West.

Chris Chalk plays the intelligent and brilliant minded Lucius Fox on the show, Gotham. The show is based on a young Commissioner Gordon fighting crime against many of the developing iconic villains in the city of Gotham from the Batman series. “This character is great! I went to this STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) program for Black youths and the kids would tell me they knew how I solved a problem on the show and I was like well tell me, ’cause I don’t know…” He emphasized the joy in playing a character that breaks racial stereotypes in television, saying “It is cool to have a Black character that is the smartest person in the series and he doesn’t fight.”

David Harewood plays Martian Manhunter on the show Supergirl. Being a native of London, he explained how important it is to have a Black lead character on a television show because, where he is from, there aren’t really any characters that look like him. He smiled as he proudly displayed his Black Lightning t-shirt. Harewood also discussed how happy he was to represent a person in of color in the media, making the audience aware that there are opportunities for all races and backgrounds to be represented.

Black Lightning: The Series For The Time

Black Lightning takes place in an urban, poverty and violence-stricken community where our hero, Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams), lives as a high school principal and family man. He has hung up the mantle of Black Lighting for 15 years because of the stress it was placing on his family but is forced to return to crime fighting when the local gang, The One Hundred, starts wreaking havoc on the neighborhood.

“It is a dream come true! After I put on the costume I was ready to run into the wall! I was ready to fight!” – Cress Williams on portraying Black Lighting

The show is produced by the power couple Salim and Mara Akil. They both have a successful history of producing great shows like the Soul Food TV series, Girlfriends, and Being Mary Jane. When asked about Black Lightning, they expressed the importance of the project and how great of a story it can tell about love, family, and community. “We are led by a vision and clearly this is Salim’s,” Mara explained about choosing the project to bring to life in television form. She explained the importance of giving people the perspective of a Black man that is positive, stating “July 2016, two Black men were killed after the long list of other Black men and we were in that moment of what was happening in our communities. When you look on television there were no Black men in the center of a television show, speaking on the issues that were about his life.” Salim Akil explored his vision of the project in-depth when quoting:

“We use that authenticity when it comes to other cultures but really we are talking about the nuance and Black folks are an integral part of American culture. What we will see with Black Lightning is that yes, we are getting culturally specific nuances of what it is going to be like being an African American man in the United States, but you will also see a man that loves his family and his community and wants what is best for his community. You can take the African American off that (character) and you have just a man that wants the best for his family. I hope everybody can identify wanting the best for their families and their community.”

DC Comics is continuing to evolve its characters that people from different backgrounds can relate to. Black Lightning debuted tonight, January 16th at 9pm, how’d you like it?

28Jul/17
richard sherman

Richard Sherman Comments on His Locs at the ESPYs *Video*

richard shermanWhat is a great way to grab the attention of a NFL star on the red carpet at the ESPYs? Just take time to compliment them. That is what happened when Taji Mag stopped Richard Sherman to ask him about his locs. When asked how he keeps his locs well conditioned against the strenuous conditions of football he simply relies on lifestyle as mentioned in the video below.

Sherman showed much humility engaging with many around him and sporting an equality pin on his fashionable jacket for the ESPYs, expressing that he believes in allowing people to be themselves and not conform to what society thinks. He has spoken out against the NFL about taking away the individuality and the freedom of players, ultimately affecting the play of the players and the ratings of the NFL.

Richard Sherman is always a class act and a true display of being a positive Black man. Not only is he a pro bowl cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks, but he is also a graduate from Stanford. His education and charismatic personality have helped him dispel any negativity placed on his character from the media. Most notably is the situation with Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady, where he was called a “thug” after passionately asking Tom Brady “Are You Mad Bro?”. He let the media know how offended he was being labeled a thug and eloquently explained how it is comparable to the N-word.

There are other times that Sherman has been vilified but he finds ways to defy them and he also shows compassion with his acts of kindness. During a #BlackLoveConvo twitter chat, we discussed how he recently paid the tuition of a Virginia high school student. He met her at a charity dinner in Richmond, VA and made an agreement with her that if she was able to bring up her grades her senior, he would pay her tuition.

Hopefully Richard Sherman will continue to inspire and contribute to society, allowing for the Black community to have yet another positive role model.

Link to video

16Jul/17
Woman Gods, NayMarie Photography

Woman Gods They Don’t Want You to Know About

They do not mind telling you of Santa and the Easter Bunny and Kwanzaa…
The fables of angry and jealous gods.
They erased all of our power from the books.
This is a list of Woman Gods that I have been compiling. It is BIZARRE how many names are on this list that are never mentioned as a source of POWER, Relief or Hope in our day to day musings.
Why are women whores or helpers or the failure of man in the Bible?
Where did our stories go?
We were GODS and respected as such. Now we are Queens and Princesses and bad bitches … so on
It’s like mourning a death I never knew happened.

________________________________________

Woman Gods (Africa)

woman gods

Photo by Joey “Islandboi” Rosado

Abuk – In Sudanese Dinka mythology, she is the first woman. She is the patron goddess of women and gardens, and her emblem is a small snake.

Aja – This forest goddess is honored by the Yoruba of Nigeria. She instructs her followers in the use of medicinal herbs found in the African forests.

Aje – A Nigerian Yoruba goddess of wealth.

Akonadi – An oracular goddess of Ghana.

Akwaba – This goddess symbolizes welcome and is always placed above the door. Maidens receive her image from an elder mentor as they come of age, welcoming them into their motherhood role in the tribe. In Togo, a giant Akwaba always precedes the chief in tribal procession, signifying that the Mother and reverence for Nature are the foremost communal values.

Ala -She is the earth and fertility goddess of the Ibo people of Nigeria, as well as a goddess of the underworld. She is the daughter of the great god Chuku and is considered to be the mother of all things. In the beginning she gives birth, and at the end she welcomes the dead back to her womb. In Nigeria, where she is still worshipped, she has temples situated in the center of the villages, where she has a statue surrounded by the images of other gods and animals.

Agwe – Mother of the sea in Benin. She is affectionate and nurturing to humans who honor her.

Aha Njoku – This popular goddess is worshipped by the Ibo people of Nigeria. She is responsible for yams, a central ingredient in the Ibo diet, and the women who care for them.

Aida Wedo – In Benin and Haiti she is the snake companion to Damballah-Wedo, the most popular god, who is also in snake form.

Aje – Yoruba goddess of wealth in all its forms.

Akonandi – (Ghana) An oracular goddess of justice.

Amirini – An early goddess of the Yoruba of West Africa.

Anansi -The spider goddess of Ghana, she is considered the creator’s chief official, and a hero of many tales.

Asase Ya (Asase Yaa) Ashanti earth goddess. Ghanian creator of humanity, and wife of Nyame. She was also the mother of the gods.

Ashiakle – Goddess of wealth of the Gan people of Ghana.

woman gods

Photo by NayMarie Photography

Atete – Fertility goddess of the Kafa people of Ethiopia.

Ayabba  – Hearth goddess of the Fon people of Benin.

Azeman – A name given to a female vampire or werewolf in Surinam folk belief. At night, she transforms from human to animal form and travels around drinking human blood. According to belief, the best way to stop her is by sprinkling grains or seeds about, so she will be compelled to stop and pick them up. Another way of stopping her is by propping a broom, which she won’t cross, against a door.

Aziri – The goddess of possessions.

Bayanni- (Yoruba) Sister of Shango. She was sacrificed to make her younger brother, Shango, a stronger god.

Bele Alua -(Ghana) Tree goddesss

Bomo Rambi – A moon Goddess of Zimbabwe.

Bosumabla – A sea goddess of Ghana, one of the minor deities.

Buk (Sudan-Nuer) She is the goddess of rivers and streams and the source of life. Her children are Deng, Candit and Nyaliep.

Bunzi – A rain goddess of Zaire, depicted as a rainbow-colored snake. She took over her mother’s duties as rain goddess when her mother was killed.

Buruku – She is a creator goddess of Ghana, associated with the moon and sometimes considered male.

Candit -The goddess of streams in Sudan.

Dewi Nawang Sasih – In Sudanese myth, a celestial nymph who taught people how to cook rice. The myth says she gave the women a simple recipe; place one grain of rice in a pot, boil, and wait until it sub-divides again and again until the pot is full. Her one restriction was that no man ever touch a woman’s cooking utensils. The people feasted fully, and easily, following her instructions until one king who felt above all others deliberately touched a cooking implement. The goddess in disgust departed the earth, and since that time it takes a whole bunch of rice to fill a pot, because although the grains swell up, they no longer divide and reproduce.

Dziva -The generally benevolent creatrix goddess of the Shona people of Zimbabwe. There is, however, an awful aspect to her nature.

Edinkira – An African tree goddess.

Egungun-Oya  – Another form of the Yoruba goddess of divination.

Eka Abassi – The creator of life. Her son and consort was Obumo (god of thunder and rain)

Enekpe – Goddess of the family and guardian of destiny. One story relates that when she saw that her tribe was losing a battle, she offered herself as a sacrifice to save her people, and was buried alive on the battlefield; her tribe was saved.

Eseasar – An earth goddess married to the sky god, Ebore.

Fatouma – She was born in a village near a lake in Mali that was inhabited by a virgin-devouring dragon who each year claimed a village virgin as payment for the use of the lake’s waters. The day came when Fatouma was the only eligible virgin remaining so she was left on the shore for the dragon to eat. Along came a hero named Hammadi who slew the dragon, married Fatouma, and lived happily ever after with her.

Gbadu- The daughter of Mawu. She is the goddess of fate of the Fon or Dahomey people of Benin, and she is saddened by the fighting among her mother’s mortal children.

Gleti- The moon goddess of Benin. She is the mother of all the stars (Gletivi). An eclipse is said to be caused by the shadow of the her husband when he comes to “visit”.

Gonzuole -The first woman of Liberia. Without a mate she gave birth to many beautiful daughters; they lived together in a village without men for many years. Eventually some men nearby trapped them all and Gonzuole, fearing for her daughters’ safety, agreed to give them in marriage to the men.

Hyrax -The wife of the creator god I Kaggen (praying mantis) revered by men of the western bush.

Ilankaka – The sun goddess of the Nkundo of Zaire was trapped by a man who was hunting during the night. She begged to be released and promised him much wealth for doing so, but the only wealth he wanted was her, so she agreed to marry him. Soon pregnant, she refused to eat anything but forest rats. Because it was known that a man had to provide for any whim of a pregnant woman, the man was kept very busy trapping for her. One night, however, she awakened to realize she was no longer pregnant. Shocked, she discovered the baby had slipped out of the womb and was already eating meat. He grew up to be the hero Itonde, who captured the heart of the Elephant Girl Mbombe.

Inkosazana – A female spirit of the Zulus who makes the maize grow. The deity of agriculture, she is venerated in springtime.

Lissa – The Dahomey mother goddess. Mother of the Sun god Maou and the Moon god Gou. Her totem was the chameleon.

Mami Wata – A water-spirit, sometimes described as a mermaid figure, who can found throughout the western coastal regions and into central Africa. Mami Wata is described as having long dark hair, very fair skin and compelling eyes. Although she may appear in dreams and visions to her devotees as a beautiful mermaid, she is also said to walk the streets of modern African cities in the guise of a gorgeous but elusive woman. She is interested in all things contemporary: some of her favorite offerings include sweet, imported perfumes, sunglasses and Coca-Cola. Nonetheless, the spirit appears to be related to other water spirits (known in Igbo, a language of southeastern Nigeria, as ‘ndi mmili) who have a much longer history on the continent. Mami Wata’s colors are red and white. Those she afflicts with visions and temptations, and who experience her as an obsession or an illness, may wear the red of sickness and dangerous heat. Others who have a more positive orientation towards the spirit may show their blessings by wearing white. Most devotees wear a combination of red and white clothing. Mami Wata is also said to have a number of avatars on earth- mortal women who have the same look as the deity and who act as her “daughters.” Mami Wata may give wealth to her devotees, her “daughters” or to her (male) spouses, but she is never known to give fertility. Some Igbo stories suggest that the fish under the waters are her children, and that she uses them as firewood. Mami Wata is sometimes seen as a metaphor for modern African conditions — having the knowledge of global wealth and the desire for large-scale consumption, but lacking the actual wealth or access to the world’s wealth that would enable Africans to participate in that system.

Mamlambo – The Zulu goddess of rivers.

Marwe – A Chaga folktale heroine.

Massassi – The maiden created for Mwuetsi, in the mythology of the Makoni tribe of Zimbabwe. She bore to her husband grasses, bushes and trees.

Mawu – Mawu is the Creator/Moon Goddess known among the people from the Dahomey region of West Africa, the female aspect of the divinity Mawu-Lisa. She is associated with the moon, night, fertility, motherhood, gentleness, forgiveness, rest and joy. The cosmology of the Fon has the Earth as floating on the water, while above circle the heavenly bodies on the inner surface of a gourd. The son of Mawu-Lisa, Da (Danh) the cosmic serpent, helps in ordering the universe; he had 3500 coils above the earth, and the same number below. Together these coils support Mawu-Lisa’s creation. After creating the earth and all life and everything else on it, she became concerned that it might be too heavy, so she asked the primeval serpent, Aido Hwedo, to curl up beneath the earth and hold it up in the sky. When she asked Awe, a monkey she had also created, to help out and make some more animals out of clay, he boasted to the other animals and challenged Mawu. Gbadu, the first woman Mawu had created, saw all the chaos on earth and told her children to go out among the people and remind them that only Mawu can give Sekpoli – the breath of life. Gbadu instructed her daughter, Minona, to go out among the people and teach them about the use of palm kernels as omens from Mawu. When Awe, the arrogant monkey climbed up to the heavens to try to show Mawu that he too could give life, he failed miserably. Mawu made him a bowl of porridge with the seed of death in it and reminded him that only she could give life and that she could also take it away.

Mbaba Mwana Waresa – A beloved goddess of the Zulu people of Southern Africa, primarily because she gave them the gift of beer. She is the goddess of the rainbow, rain, harvest, and agriculture. The story of her search for a husband is well known, and recently appeared in a beautifully illustrated children’s book.

Mboze – Mother of the Woyo people of Zaire, and mother of Bunzi. When her husband found out he was not the father of Bunzi, he killed Mboze.

Mebeli – In Congo, she is the mother of the race of man (given life by Massim Biambe) with god Phebele.

Moombi  – She is the creator goddess of the Kikuyu who mothered nine daughters by Gikuyu.

Mujaji – The rain queen of the Lovedu people of the Transvaal.

Musso Koroni – The goddess of disorder among the Bambara of Africa and the first woman to be created. She is the daughter of the Voice of the Void, and wife of Pemba. She planted Pemba in the soil, but disliked his thorns and so forswore the god. Now she wanders the earth, causing sadness and disorder among mankind.

Nambi – (Buganda) The first woman.

Nana-Bouclou  – (Benin) Primal god of the Ewe people of the Dahomey, both male and female, who created the twins from whom all the Voodoo gods descended.

Nana Buluku – (Nana, Nan Nan, Nana Baruku, Na Na Baraclou, Boucalou) As Nana Buluku she is the primordial creator goddess of the Fon Nation of Benin (Dahomey). As Nana Buruku she is first Grandmother to all the Divinities and first human woman in the religion of the Yorubas. It was of Nana that the Cosmic Twins Mawu and Lisa were born. From Mawu and Lisa came the Cosmic Egg, and the Cosmic Seed that germinated the Egg. This egg was formed about the center of Ashe, the realm of Ikode Orun. From this egg hatched the Great Irunmole. So Nana Baruku is the Womb of Olodumare, Mawu is the Cosmic Egg, and Lisa is Olodumare’s Seed. Once set into motion, they are the creation of all that is, was and ever will be.  When the Orisha called Obatala formed the first human head upon the face of the earth, it was Olodumare who came down from the great Adobe of the Spiritual Realm, and breathed life into it. It was through the mysteries of the breath of Olodumare that Nana Baruku first came forth and took up residence within a clay figure, becoming the first living soul. Thus Nana Baruku was both Great Divinity, first of all ancestors, the great Grandmother of the Divinities, but also the Ancient Grandmother and progenitor of the human race. In human form Nana Buruku was known by the name Ayizan. Ayizan, (Nanan) is envisioned as an ancient black grandmother, her face covered with palm fronds in honor of the palm trees which she used to create shelter upon earth. In her arms Ayizan carries a woven basket containing bark, roots, and herbs. Ayizan was the first human herbalist, sacred to her is the mandrake root, which resembles a human form and is a symbol of her human husband Osanyin. With her vast knowledge of herbs she attracted the attention of the Orisha Osanyin, whom took form and became known as Loco. In life Ayizan lived in a marshy swamp, she was a powerful ancestor who was unsurpassed in the knowledge of herbs and root magic. Sacred to her is quicksand, which surrounded her home and protected her from wild animals.

Oboto – The goddesses of serenity.

Oduduwa – A creator deity and earth goddess of the Yoruba.

Oshun  – (Osun) The Orisa of Love and Sensuality. The Yoruba peoples of Nigeria brought Oshun to the New World via Brazil and Cuba. She is depicted as an old wise woman sad at the loss of her beauty. Alternately she may be shown as tall, light brown-skinned and with the sensuality of a prostitute. She is patroness of rivers and the bloodstream, and wears seven brass bracelets. She wears a mirror at her belt to admire herself, is companioned by the primping peacock and cricket, and carries river water in her pot. Powerful spells are worked through this lady of opposites. Love and sensuality are the domains of Oshun. Tall and brown-skinned, she is patroness of rivers and the bloodstream, always carrying her mirror. Powerful love spells are worked through this Lady. Oshun, the Yoruba Goddess of Love and Life-Sustaining Rivers, is the Goddess of all the arts, but especially dance. Beauty belongs to Oshun and represents the human ability to create beauty for its own sake, to create beyond need. It is also said that she is the knitter of civilization, since great cities have been founded, for the most part, along rivers in order to supply water to their populations.

Oya -The Yoruba warrior goddess of the wind, the primeval mother of chaos, the mother of nine children (the nine tributaries of the Niger River). She creates change of fortune, and her power is associated with lightning, tornadoes, earthquakes and other storms, cemeteries and death. Her motherly strength inspires us to embrace change and learn from it. Using her machete, or sword of truth, she cuts through stagnation and clears the way for new growth. She does what needs to be done. She is the wild woman, the force of change; also the queen of the marketplace and a shrewd businesswoman who is adept with horses. As the wind, she is the first breath and the last, the one who carries the spirits of the dead to the other world, which is why she is associated with cemeteries. Oya is tall, stately, and fierce in battle. She is the orisa of creative power and action. They say every breath we take is the gift of Oya. The other two Ancient Mothers are Osun and Yemaja.

Pamba – The creator and sustainer of life in Ovambo mythology. The Ovambo, a matrilineal people, declare that ‘the mother of pots is a hole in the ground; the mother of people is god.’

Yemayah –  (Yemaja, Yemoja) She is one of the great goddesses of the Nigerian Yoruba. The Orisha of the Ocean and Motherhood, Yemayah was brought to the New World by the Yoruba people of Nigeria via Brazil and Cuba, where she has been venerated for centuries as Protectress during the middle passage of slavery. She was the sister and wife of Aganju, the soil god, and mother by him of Orungan, god of the noonday sun. She was said to be the daughter of the sea into whose waters she empties.  She is also an avatar of Mama Wata, the mother of waters. Even as she slept, she would create new springs, which gushed forth each time she turned over. The first time she walked on earth, fountains that later became rivers sprang up wherever she set foot. Sea shells, through which the priestesses and priests could hear the voice of the universe, were among her first gifts to the people. She is known by different names in many localities; As Yemoja (Yemayah) she is the power (orisa) of the ocean and motherhood. She is long-breasted, the goddess of fishes, and wears an insignia of alternating crystal and blue beads. She has a strong, nurturing, life-giving yet furiously destructive nature. She is considered the Great Witch, the ultimate manifestation of female power.  As Yemanja (Imanje) in Brazil she is ocean goddess of the crescent moon, as Ymoa in West Africa she is the river goddess who grants fertility to women. In Cuba she is known as Yemaya (Yemaya Ataramagwa, wealthy queen of the sea; Yemaya Achabba, the stern goddess; Yemaya Oqqutte, the violent goddess; or Yemaya Olokun, the dream goddess). She is known as Agwe in Haiti. She is also referred to as Yamoja, which is a contraction of the the sentence “Iyamo eja”, meaning “our mother” or “my mother of fishes”. Among the Brazilian Umbandists, Yemaja is the goddess of the sea and patroness of shipwrecked persons. In Santeria, Yemaja (Yemaya) is the equivalent of the Catholic saint Our Lady of Regla. The river Ogun is associated with her, because the water of this river is considered to be a remedy for infertility.

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Woman Gods (Various Regions)

Aphrodite (Greek) – The beautiful Goddess of love and fertility. No man could resist Aphrodite when she wore her magic girdle.  Her name means foam born or raised from foam as she was birthed from the churning sea.

Arianrhod (Celtic) – Goddess of fertility, rebirth and the weaving of cosmic time and fate.  The last aspect of her nature is contained within her name which means “silver wheel” or “round wheel,” suggesting her importance in the cycles of life.  Other common spellings of her name are Aranhod and Arianrod.

Artemis (Greek) – An independent spirit, she is Goddess is of the hunt, nature and birth. There are several different theories about the origin of her name, one school of thought says it comes from an ancient word for “safe” and another argues that it means “strong limbed.”   Either way the suggestion is that this maiden Goddess has the strength and ability to protect herself from any unwanted attention.

Athena (Greek) – Goddess of war and wisdom and domestic crafts. Plato believed her name meant “mind of God” whilst others suggest it comes an ancient word meaning “sharp.”  Both these words point to Athena’s great intellectual ability to see the true nature of a situation and to develop successful strategies.

Bast (Egyptian) – The famous cat Goddess, she protected pregnant woman and children. Bast was a very sensual Goddess who enjoyed music, dance and perfume.  Her name comes from the bas jars used to store perfumes and ointments.  Other versions of this Goddess names include: Bastet, Baset, Ubasti and Pasht.

Ceres (Roman) – This Goddess of agriculture and grains name comes from the Indo European word root, ker meaning “to grow.”  In turn her name has become the origin of our modern word cereal.

Cerridwen (Celtic) – Goddess of moon, magic, agriculture, nature, poetry language, music, art, science and astrology. She was also keeper of the cauldron.  Her name means “chiding love.” Ceridwen, Caridwen, Kerritwen, Keridwen, Kyrridwen are other variations of her name.

Demeter (Greek) – Goddess of the harvest who possessed great knowledge of the best way to grow, preserve and harvest grain.  She was also the devoted mother of Persephone.  Her name reflects her nurturing personality as it means “earth mother” in Greek.

Diana (Roman) – Goddess of the hunt and wild animals.  She later took over from Luna as the Roman Goddess of the moon, responsible for fertility and childbirth. Her name means  “heavenly divine,” reflecting her celestial role.

Eirene (Greek) – This Greek Goddess name means peace in her native language, expressing her diplomatic nature.  Her name also often appears as Irene.

Eos (Greek) – A sunny natured Goddess whose name means dawn.

Epona (Celtic) – Protector of horses, donkeys, and mules.  She was also an ancient fertility Goddess.  Epona’s Goddess name comes from the Gaulish word epos meaning “great mare.”

Ereshkigal (Sumerian) – Goddess of Attalu, the land of the dead and ancestral memories. Her name translates as “great lady under the earth.”  Irkalla is an alternative name by which this Goddess is identified.

Freya (Nordic) – Goddess of love, beauty, fertility, war, wealth, divination and magic. Her name comes from the ancient Norse word for lady or mistress.  There are several variations of the spellings of this Goddess name including: Freyja, Freyr and Freyja.

Frigg (Nordic) – Goddess of marriage, childbirth, motherhood, wisdom, household management and weaving and spinning. Her name means “beloved” in ancient Norse and is derived from fri “to love.”  She is also known as Frige, Friia, Frija and Frea.

Gaia (Greek) – Goddess of the Earth and prophecy. She is the primordial mother and a personification of Mother Earth. She gave birth to the Titans. Her name is also spelt Gaeo.

Hathor (Egyptian) – This heavenly cow’s areas of influence included music, dancing, joy and fertility. Her name translates as “house of Horus”.  Alternative names for this Goddess are Het-Hert, Hetheru, Mehturt, Mehurt, Mehet-Weret, and Mehet-uret,

Hebe (Greek) – Hebe’s name literally means youth or in the prime of life. She was one of the daughters of Zeus and Hera.  Her role was to serve the nectar and ambrosia to the Gods and Goddesses that prevented them from aging.

Hekate (Greek) – Goddess of the wild places, childbirth and the crossroads. She is closely associated with magic and witchcraft.  Her name is said to be derived from the Greek word hekas meaning “far off” describing her unworldly, shamanic nature.  Also known as Hecate.

Hella (Nordic) – The fearsome Goddess of the Nordic realm of the dead.  Her name is derived from the word kel, meaning “to conceal.”  There are numerous spellings of her name including Halje Hell, Hel, Helle, Hela and Holle.

Hera (Greek) – Queen of the Olympians and Goddess of marriage and birth.  The meaning of her Goddess name has been lost.  One historian claims her name could be connected to the Greek word for seasons “hora,” suggesting she is ripe for marriage.

Hestia (Greek) – The domestic Goddess of the Greek Pantheon, she rules over the hearth and home.  Her name comes from the Greek word estia meaning “she that dwells or tarries.”  This reflects the importance of the role that the ancient Greeks attributed to this Goddess in sacrificing her position as an Olympian to guard the fire and maintain a happy home.

Inanna (Sumerian) – Goddess of love, war, and fertility. Inanna was the personification of the morning and evening star.  Her beautiful name means “lady of the sky.” This Goddess is closely linked to Ishtar and Nin-anna.

Indunn (Nordic) – Goddess of youth and springtime.  Her name means she who renews and has several alternative spellings including Indun, Iduna and Idhunna.

Iris (Greek) – Goddess of the rainbow and messenger to the Gods. Her name means rainbow in her native language.

woman gods

Photo by NayMarie Photography

Isis (Egyptian) – This famous Goddess has so many different aspects, her most important roles are as Goddess of life and magic. Isis’s name comes from the Egyptian word aset and means “she of throne” in other words the Queen of the Goddesses.

Juno (Roman) – Goddess of marriage, pregnancy and childbirth.  She protected the finances of the citizens of Rome. Her name is mystery, it speaks of a contradictory role for this Goddess, before her alignment to the matronly, Greek Goddess, Hera. This is because her name is derived from the root yeu meaning “vital force” indicating a more youthful, maiden Goddess.

Lakshmi (Hindu)- Goddess of abundance of material and spiritual wealth.  Her name is derived from the Sanskrit word “laksya” meaning aim or goal

Maat (Egyptian) – Goddess of truth, justice and balance.  She prevented the creation from reverting to chaos and judged the deeds of the dead with her feather.  This Goddess name stems from the word Mayet meaning “straight.” This reflects her unbending nature in upholding what is right and just.

Minerva (Roman) – Goddess of wisdom, medicine and crafts.  Her name is linked to the Latin word mens which means “intellect,” suggesting the intelligence and inventiveness of this ancient Goddess.

Morrigan (Celtic) – The terrifying crow Goddess associated with war and death on the battlefield.  She was queen of phantoms, demons, shape-shifters and patroness of priestesses and Witches.  Her name means “great queen” in the old Irish language. Morrigan was also known as Morgane, Morrígu, Morríghan, Mor-Ríoghain and Morrígna.

Nephthys (Egyptian) – Goddess of death, decay and the unseen.  Her name speaks of her priestess role as it means “lady of the temple enclosure.” Other variations of her title include Nebet-het and Nebt-het.

Nike (Greek) – This Greek Goddess name means victory, she represented success especially in the sporting arena which is why her name was chosen for a famous brand of sportswear.

Ostara (Germanic) – The spring Goddess whose name is linked to the East and the dawn. The early Christians took her fertility symbols of eggs and hares and incorporated them into the Easter celebrations.

Parvarti (Hindu) – Goddess of love and devotion, her name means “she of the mountain.”

Persephone (Greek) – Daughter of Demeter and Queen of the Underworld.  She was also none as Kore reflecting the Maiden aspect of this Goddess.  Other variations of her name include Persephoneia, Persephassa, Persephatta and Pherepapha

Pomona (Roman) –Protected fruiting trees and gardens.  Her name is derived from the Latin word pomus, meaning “fruit tree.”

Rhea (Greek) – The ancient Titan Earth Goddess, responsible for the fertility of the soil and women.  The name is most likely a form of the word era meaning “earth”, although it has also been linked to ‘rheos’ the Greek term for “stream.”

Selene (Greek) – Selene was the Titan personification of the moon, unsurprising then that her name means moon in Greek.

Seshat (Egyptian) – The great scribe and librarian Goddess who was responsible for accounting, architecture, astronomy, historical records and mathematics.  Her Goddess name means “she who scibes.”  It is also appears as Safkhet, Sashet, Seshata, Sesat, Sesheta and Sheshat.

Themis (Greek) – Goddess of divine justice, order and customs.  She also had the gift of prophecy. Her name simply means “law of nature” or “divine nature.”

Venus (Roman) – Goddess and love and beauty.  Her Goddess name has become synonymous with her role as the woman who all men desire.

Vesta (Roman) – Guardian of the sacred Flame.  Vesta’s name and function is derived from the Greek Goddess Hesti

Chela Noldon | Twitter & Instagram  : @hollysaucy

Featured photo courtesy of NayMarie Photography

 

10Sep/16
Fifty Shades of Duku

“Fifty Shades of Duku” is a Must Have for Headwrap Lovers

Ofentse “Princess Ofee” Maluleke is the CEO of Taji Holdings and author of Fifty Shades of Duku. Taji is a Swahili word for CROWN. The company is focused on manufacturing and distributing natural hair and skin products while teaching Queens how to take care of their crowns. She also has a relentless love affair with head wraps and began teaching others how to wrap in 2013 on her Youtube channel.

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Ofee was born and raised in Empangeni  (Kwa-Zulu Natal), South Africa, ensuring that she got an all-round South African experience and that she could speak at least 5 languages. Her love for entrepreneurship began in high school where she was nicknamed “the popcorn lady” as she sold popcorn during break times for pocket money. She continued to sell other items such as beaded jewelery and muffins all the way through to university.

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The way that African women wear their duku’s is significantly different to the way other ethnicities wear theirs.  Instead of tying the fabric below the chin or at the nape of the neck African women tie it on the crown of the head or on the sides and tuck in the fabric in the wrap leaving the face and neck exposed. This ensures the head is puled upwards and the features of the face  are highlighted. In other words, an African woman wears her duku as she would a crown.

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“My life purpose is to inspire, heal and help African Queens to look and feel beautiful and be their authentic selves for God’s glory through my products, seminars, blogging and vlogging online.”

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In this book, Ofee will showcase 50 different ways to tie a Duku step-by-step.

Headwraps (Duku) hold a significant role in the history of African women all over the continent and the diaspora. The tradition has been passed through the generations and has never gone out of fashion. Duku’s have been historically worn by both men and women of all races but, in recent times it has become associated almost solely with women of African decent.

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Among other incredible works, she also sells locally produced organic body, lip and hair products.

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Many thanks to:

 @FlashingLitesPhotography

@TajiShop

@Marabouess

@papi9525

09Sep/16
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Lindi Roaming the Streets in Celebration of Our “Imbokodos”

In this edition of Lindi Roaming the Streets, Lindi celebrates our “Imbokodos” (Rocks/Women)!                                                                   

“Take a girl to the dance Campaign”

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Because every girl is a princess, they deserve that one night to celebrate their hard earned work. Rapunzel is a bit more relatable than the other princesses, especially because she doesn’t even know that she’s a princess until the very end. I like to think of her as the bohemian princess, as she’s barefoot and living in a tower. She paints and reads… She’s a Renaissance woman.

We are earnestly persuading all of our loving Queens out there to donate their matric dresses, and make someone’s prom night one they never imagined. This initiative gives education a meaning in rural and underprivileged communities, as they can only dream of nights like this.

This campaign runs from  01 August 2016 to 01 August 2017, in honour of all the hard working princesses that never gave up despite the obstacles that barred them from all angles, for they are our future QUEENS.

Imbokodos

                                                                  “Let’s take a girl to the dance, shall we?”

Please contact details below for more details and assistance.

Your donations are highly appreciated, and many thanks in advance.

IG:@muhlez

FB: Lindiwe Lee Tshitlho

Email: [email protected]