Product Review, Natural Hair

Hair blogger and beauty enthusiast, Paula Keta, creates beautiful curls in her 4c hair using the Girl Boss Mango & Marula range for natural hair, available at Game stores. Check out the step-by-step process in this video to see how these products worked for her.

This video is also availabe on Paula’s YouTube channel. 

The Fourways Farmers Market: Food Review

I love cooking. My most cherished memories are, when on public holidays or on cold winter Saturdays my mom would sit my sister and I down and teach us how to bake. My love for savory cooking started and I can’t believe this, when I mastered how to make stovetop popcorn at around age 9. I burnt it so many times, but I wouldn’t have the heart to throw it away so my sister, my childhood friend Ida and I would eat burnt popcorn. But you know what they say, the difference between the master and the student is that the master has failed more times than the student has even tried (Stephen McCrainie). Now at 24, I consider myself the Goddess of Popcorn. Anyone who knows me knows that I think it’s the actual manner from heaven that was said to rain down on Moses and the Israelites in their years of exodus. 

However, the vendors at the Fourways Farmers Market are on another level. The food there is downright delicious. Its cool that they have vendors from all over the world, if you want authentic Korean BBQ, Jamaican Jerk Chicken or Mexican food cooked by some mamacitas then the farmers market is the place for you.

It’s lovely that its outdoors and that they have live acoustic musicians on stage, playing guitar and singing their sweet songs with their beautiful voices. It’s such a good vibe. Actually, I had one of my best times there since moving to Johannesburg earlier this year. And, of course I had awesome company. 

I examined all that the market had to offer, from top to bottom and I picked my menu of choice. 

  • Jamaican Jerk Chicken (R45)
  • Korean BBQ (R85)
  • Sumting Fresh (R90) 
  • Sumting Fresh Berry Nice (R45)
  • Churros (R20 each)

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

This was honestly one of the most well-prepared chicken dishes I have tasted in my entire life. It blew my mind hole. I think it’s because its seasoning is a spice mix I had never encountered in my life. Although it is braaied and that gives it that familiar smoky flavor. When they served it to me, I was asked if I wanted it to be mild or hot, and me being me said, “I want it to be authentically Jamaican” so however it is normally served in Jamaica will be awesome. The sauce the jerk chicken was dressed in packed a mighty punch as Jamaicans like it hot. However, the parts that didn’t have the sauce, genuinely enjoyed. 

I also had an interesting conversation with Patrick, the Jamaican cook, which was sparked by me asking him if he had encountered Xenophobia from South Africans and unfortunately, he had. Which is a shame because Jamaican culture is beloved here and around the globe. Later, as a farewell, I dropped the corniest of pick-up lines to cheer him up. I asked, “Are you from Jamaica? Coz Jamakin’ me crazy”, we both smiled and waved goodbye. 

Korean BBQ

Now this was super tasty, the Koren Mama put her foot in it, as the African Americans say. In the kitchen, she’s the one. This woman had the sauce. 

Urban Dictionary Definition

The meal was ultra-crispy deep-fried chicken covered in some kind of ‘sweet chilli sauce’ (as we call it in South Africa) that was sprinkled with sesame seeds. There was also rice with a phenomenal soy-based sauce. The only reason I’m not saying it was ‘out of this world’ is because it was from another part of this world. I also liked how she had cling wrap so you can cover your food if you haven’t finished it in one sitting. It shows that she’s prepared and thinks about her customer’s needs. 

Sumting Fresh 

Now the service at Sumting Fresh was incredible. The staff had phrases they would say when you asked for extra cheese etc. The leader was a charismatic individual, I laughed at their banter while I was waiting for my freshly prepared food. I had the Italian Stallion menu option, which was two crumbed deep-fried chicken schnitzels, on a bagel, with a napolitana sauce, skinny fries and of course, in the sumthing fresh tradition, a generous serving of parmesan cheese. 

At my first bite I thought, is this really worth the instahype? But truth be told later that night I finished my swaggered up chicken burger and the chicken was still crispy. And I tasted that sometimes the familiar tastes recreated with the finest ingredients does offer sumting new. 

Berry Nice

You guessed it, the drink was berry nice. It was a berry flavoured ginger beer with some fresh fruit for garnish and over time the fruit infused with the liquids, increasing its virant flavour. Honestly, and you know your girl is honest, at first did think it was a bit overpriced (R45). However, with South Africa’s current rate of unemployment I was happy to see that the Sumting Fresh staff was about 20 plus. Also as a customer, you are also paying for good service and the Sumting Fresh stall gives you that in abundance. 

Churros Stall

If a donut is just a vetkoek that went to a private school, then a churro is the donuts Mexican exchange student. It’s all deep fried sweetened white dough, although churros are crunchy and have a sweet filling. At the stall they had the options of Nutella, caramel and melkkos which is milk tart filling. What is it about crispy deep-fried foods? Where did we as humans acquire this taste? Where did we go wrong? Is it because it’s just entertaining to eat? However, I didn’t feel guilty about the possibility of gaining weight, instead I found eating my churro entirely pleasurable. #NoGuiltyPleasures

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

Movie Review by Khanyisile Msebenzi 

Genre: Superhero Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain, Sophie Turner, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender

Girl Boss Rating: 6/10

The X-Men franchise has spanned 19 years and 12 movies! The latest installment opened recently with Sophie Turner playing Jean Gray. I must admit that missing Game of Thrones made me go see this movie after seeing ‘Sansa Stark’ would be playing lead.

I have watched a few X-Men movies, particularly the earlier movies but have missed a few, and I was worried I wouldn’t quite understand what was going on. Coupled with the negative reviews all over the internet about it being the worst-rated movie in the X-Men franchise, I went in with low expectations of enjoying the movie. 

But can a superhero movie with powerful female leads like Jessica Chastain, Sophie Turner, and Jennifer Lawrence really disappoint? As a feminist, I say a big NO. All young girls should watch this movie just for that.  

I quite enjoyed the movie BUT it is a movie that should have gone straight to TV and not the cinema. It just didn’t go deep enough. The main character in this movie is Jean Grey, played by Sophie Turner, has telepathic and telekinetic powers and gets hit by a powerful cosmic energy that she absorbs and she becomes the most powerful mutant (x-man). She doesn’t understand her power, and at first can’t control it. This script failed to go deep into the goings on in Jean Grey’s mind and did just ok in exploring some of her moral dilemmas. 

The movie also didn’t go deep into Jessica Chastain’s character as a villain, as a female villain they should have gone deeper.

My favourite line is when after a space mission, Raven, played by Jennifer Lawrence, says to Charles Xavier “we should really be called X-Women because it is always the female mutants saving the day and saving male mutants.” Boom!

Why you should see it: It’s enjoyable and you don’t feel the two hours, it goes too fast. 

Superhero movies are amongst the best medium to change the gender divide and bring gender equality because female superheros can be imagined to be as powerful as men, without betraying what makes them female. I can’t wait for a time in the world when men and women are seen as equal regardless of their differences, which is what the whole X-Men franchise is about. X-Men really is about the fact that we live in a world where people are different and we should accept all humans with their differences, none is better than the other. And that message was still very clear in this movie and that’s what made me give it’s rating a point extra. 

What I didn’t like:

It has no depth. It doesn’t explore any of the characters deep enough. For example, it had an opportunity to look into long time leader of the X-Men, Charles Xavier, and look at the role of his ego and moral issues around his encroaching on the free will of others etc, but it failed. 

Tattoos, Piercings and Boys

Tattoos, piercings and boys – I don’t even know how to get into this one but as far as I can see it, it all gels and works together nicely. But not according to Lihle, my friend. We were in conversation about journeying together to her sister’s graduation in the UK, when I excitedly shared my thoughts on potentially getting another tattoo done there. She shook her head, hardly turned to look at me and with a firm voice and only catching a glimpse of me from the corner of her left eye, said, “Billz, men don’t want this thing’. “This thing” of course being tattoos and as she had alluded once, the piercings too. 

I considered that perhaps her conclusions about what men want (and don’t want) has a lot to do with her ‘plain-Jane’ self that she is yes, comfortable with, but also, that she is convinced is what men are all interested in . No make-up, dreadlocked, nails not done, only two piercings per ear, no tattoos and just good old clean. Which is not too different from me except of course, I have an additional three tattoos and a nose ring. Three clean nicely done tattoos and a tiny stud on my nose. Does this level of neatness even matter? Look, I reckon Lihle long concluded that a simple and natural look leans more towards what men want and therefore anything that suggests a worldly character decorated with tattoos and piercings is less desirable. That’s me. That’s us, so-called ‘likers of things’. And yet I thought we were just expressive hearts and lovers of art but alas, some of us are genuine ‘likers of things’.

Photo Credit: Prince Akachi

I guess I should be glad that as things stand, I’m still somewhat acceptable and stand a good chance of getting hitched. But anything more spells trouble. Thanks Lihle, noted. But also, whatever dude. It’s already problematic that one must entertain comments such as, “Men don’t want this thing”, and it’s also problematic that we must still entertain conversations on what women should and shouldn’t do in order to be any more attractive to men. But not now on those politics. What I do want to interrogate though, is why tattoos (and piercings) on women come across as unattractive to men and I guess generally to other people who are repelled by a woman clad in ink and piercings. Someone between my siblings (bloody agent) told my mother about my first tattoo before she could even see it. I remember she had sent me a very sharp and stern message expressing her disapproval of what I had done and alluded to Satan’s ways which I had fallen victim of. My poor mother’s heart. I didn’t respond to her message and spoke to her only two weeks after her message and when I eventually went home and had her see it, she displayed a level of calm that insinuated relief. Not an outrageous tattoo, I guess.

For some people, tattoos are fascinating and those who have them go further into loving the endorphin rush that comes with getting inked and placing permanence on significant moments in their lives. Some perceive tattoos on women as sexy but this also depends on where on the body they are placed. My brother, for instance, hates chest tattoos because “they’re too much”. I reckon though, that he imagines the tattoo artist in that ‘private’ space and doesn’t quite like the idea (or he just shudders at the level of pain in that area)… We won’t even talk about the thigh area… Then there are those who loath tattoos and disregard them as being any form of art and find them unattractive, basically. And then, interestingly, on the other hand, the same people who couldn’t care less about tattoos find them particularly beautiful, intricate and intriguing on women. Another friend of mine says that a tattoo does not make one any more interesting than the other and that it’s not everyone who feels the need to wear their stories and scars for the world to see. A bit of spice there, right?

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When it comes to dating, people of course have preferences and men have definitions of beauty and how they prefer the female body to be presented and represented. Numerous studies conducted on men’s perceptions of women with tattoos reveal that inked women are generally perceived in a negative light. And I can believe this just from my own experience. I’m generally surrounded by men who couldn’t care less about whether the female body is decorated in ink or not. But then of course, there’s always just that one or at least a handful of them that will throw stones and denigrate the woman and her decisions.

A good friend of mine, Thami, after spotting my latest tattoo, told me clearly that I wouldn’t be allowed in his home, that they’d probably keep me far out by the gate – not in their home with my tattoos. Never! I laughed at his outburst, even the way he had expressed himself, with all the seriousness he could master on his face. He praised my boyfriend for being a ‘nice guy’, what with not dumping me with my additional tattoos and piercing. And come to think of it, when I went for my first date with my him, I deliberately wore a long-sleeved shirt to cover up my tattoo. I gave up on covering my thick and long dreadlocks and so I let them hang. All this because I was aware of the stereotypes and judgement that I may fall prey to so thought to save myself. The plan was to just go on the date; no real plan for the aftermath, I mean, the tattoo would still be there. Then it happened. The tattoo showed itself as my one sleeve dropped down a bit from my wrist. He spotted it and immediately asked to see it. Game over! Well, not so much, he was chilled with it and chastised me for thinking he was that ‘backward’. Phew! 

Photo Credit: Dom Hill

Anyways, as I was saying, women with tattoos are more often than not perceived in a negative light. Common conclusions made about them are that they are less attractive, less honest, less religious, less intelligent and tragically and sadly, more promiscuous. I mean, can you believe it? This is so bizarre! How does one make so many conclusions because these are evidently only some of them? But then again, I consider how women have always been unfairly interpreted and judged based on the clothes they wear, the hairstyles they have, whether or not they wear make-up and on the lip colour they choose, their nail colour and nail length… it just doesn’t stop! We are all at risk as human beings, of being judged on what we decide to display for the world to see but in most cases, women are not only judged differently from men but more harshly. What is it with us glorious beings? 

But in response to Lihle, I don’t think it’s as simple as “Men don’t want this thing” because some men approach tattooed women purely because they conclude that they are more sexually receptive and even forward. I’m half giggling as I write this because why is life honestly this complicated, interesting and even unfair! These things vary I reckon, different strokes for different folk so whilst tattoos, piercings and boys gel for one, they might be the worst thing for another. 

So what’s your experience inked girl? What with your piercings too, tell us all about it.

Photo Credit: Jazmin Quaynor

Girls Trip To Parys

So this past weekend I, along with a friend, headed out to a small town called Parys, in the Free State province of South Africa. I can’t quite recall from whom I had heard of the place from, initially, but a couple of years ago, friends of mine went to hang-out there for a weekend. ‘Beautiful”, they had said it was.  I planned to one day head out that way and I sure did. 

Prior to going there I did a bit of research about this ‘vibrant’ little town situated on the banks of the Vaal River. I figured to find an acclaimed breakfast spot because I generally am a breakfast/morning person so I was more than happy to set out of Johannesburg as early as 08:30 am and make it for a nice 10:00 am breakfast do. That’s how long the journey Google Maps had estimated would take from my location, about an hour and thirty minutes. I know two people from the Vaal and sent both of them texts saying: “Hey, have you been to Parys? Know any places to give a try? Looking for great ambiance, seriously good food and perhaps a seat by the window?” I know, totally romantic set-up! I mean, if the name of the place is an Afrikaans translation of Paris then surely I wasn’t asking for too much. Both of these people, despite being from the Vaal itself, had never ventured into Parys and of course, recommended I Google and figure things out from there. I had been hoping for someone with a personal experience and the friends who’d spent a weekend there had very little collection of places to see but mentioned that they had heard that there were new spaces that were interesting to see. In conclusion, Google would be my saviour.  I discovered O’s restaurant which had stellar reviews and made a reservation. 

Anele, my friend, thought it ludicrous that we should drive as far out as Parys for breakfast and determined that there was nothing exciting to do there nor anything worthwhile to see. I negotiated, told her that it was about experiencing a new space, driving out of Johannesburg and settling somewhere far away, different and quiet. After rolling her eyes and offering a rather loud sign, she conceded. But instead of an early departure, we decided on brunch. I made the changes with O’s restaurant and at somewhere towards 10:00 am we set off onto the N1 and to Parys we went! It felt good to just drive out and whilst Anele bothered herself with my disappointing radio, I offered to have it completely off but the city girl’s eyes popped out at my crazy solution. Leaving her to solve what dilemma she had, my mind and eyes drifted to the tall buildings, cars and busy bodies we were leaving behind in Johannesburg. Thank you Father!

You will pass through only one tollgate on your way to Parys from Johannesburg which almost makes you feel as though you’re journeying far out into another country. You’ll pay R 20, if of course prices haven’t changed by the time you travel. Then you’re in for a long stretch that will eventually get you to the infamous Parys. As you may have already concluded, I’m awful at giving directions and explaining routes to places, just as I am bad at taking them. This should also tell you that I used the GPS to get us there and back but to be honest, it’s not a tough nor tricky route.

Photo Credit: Jana Sabeth Schultz

I got bored driving there, not because of the company I had but because of the landscape. No detail of mountains or even little hills, no rivers or streams and animals either flying or jumping about, the grass is no longer green but brown and burnt, everything just looked dry! I love the outdoors so it dampens my spirit when surroundings look lifeless but that’s just how life is, isn’t it? Seasonal. We eventually made it to Parys and finding O’s restaurant was simple enough. Now O’s restaurant is on the banks of the Vaal River and the tables are spread amongst the rather expansive garden and there is optional indoor seating. The beauty of this restaurant is the views it offers and the lovely atmosphere enhanced by jazz music coming through speakers securely perched on the trees. If you do a bit of a walkabout and into the indoor area, you will also realise that O’s restaurant is a house that was transformed into an eatery. 

From the moment we walked in, all eyes were on us from the seated customers. Following us and reading us, it was bizarre. We asked to change tables because we were placed underneath too many trees with very little sun to offer warmth. The eyes lifted us from our seats and transported us to our next location. Anele kept muttering underneath her breath but at this point, I wasn’t sure if I wanted her to repeat anything she was saying. We eventually sat down, thanked our waiter who quickly set off. No name introduction, nothing. I stood up for the bathroom and when I asked for directions at the reception area, I also inquired after our waiter whom I could only describe, and requested that he wipe our chairs. I was told a ‘Lebo’ was being assigned to us and would be with us shortly. I told Anele this when I made it back to our table and asked if she had observed that we were the only people of colour in the vicinity (apart from our dearest Lebo whom had been accordingly assigned to us)? She shrugged and said, “What did you expect in a predominantly white and Afrikaans town?” To tell you the truth, I was aware of this fact but did not consider that it was ‘this bad’. Where people of colour are still met with glares and are obviously ‘the other’ in restaurants, goodness!

Anyways, I was both hungry and irritable. The river below us brought a slight chill and Lebo being gone forever wasn’t helping much with my mood either. Eventually she showed face and we placed our orders. A plus that is worth mentioning, the menu does offer a variety of meals to choose from. I had determined the previous day what I would have to eat and so wasted no time. Pie of the day! Anele settled for a seafood pasta. It felt like forever before we had our food. But it came and we ate. My first bite was glorious but a quarter of my way in, I was over it. The food tasted like normal food from where we came from. My pie was massive with an onion and beef filling that wasn’t much to write home about. But we ate and filled our tummies and enjoyed the ambiance. We had dessert, malva pudding and ice-cream (the pudding itself was rather tough but alas), and left the restaurant to walk about the small town. 

We finally got some sun and the walk was lovely! Parys is not a loud town, at all, if anything I felt my laughter raised a few heads. Most of the Saturday activity is along Bree Street where most visitors and I suppose locals find a spot to hang out at. I recognised most shops from my Google search and some other detail. I didn’t feel lost at all and truly, Parys is pretty simple to figure out. My second option to O’s restaurant was Plum Tree and to satisfy Anele’s craving for pancakes, we sat down for coffee and ordered some. Inside Plum Tree you literally get a blast from the past! It’s a definite must-see. The exterior isn’t much too inviting but when you step in, you feel transported to your grandmother’s kitchen. It’s not modernised, no attempt at that, and I reckon that’s the beauty about it. Even their menu and their serving dishes feed into the ‘ancient’ and traditional South African ambiance. The one side of the restaurant is a sweet shop with homemade bakes so if you have a sweet tooth, this one is a great joint for you! We also spent some time at Matsimela Home Spa which sells home spa products made from local ingredients. We loved their scrubs and oils! We also discovered that this outlet is in other areas in Gauteng so perhaps our find isn’t exclusive to the country town but hey, that’s where we discovered the products. That’s something.

After spending half the day in Parys, we were nicely tired and ready to head back to the hustle and bustle of the big and bad city of Johannesburg. We so wished we could score a nap before journeying back but no such luck so off we went. Not long after the tollgate on the N1, we were back to activity, cars speeding past, buildings all about us and people of…Of all sorts! We were back in Johannesburg, back to the noise, back to crazy. Parys was good for us. 

Please share any places to escape to outside of Johannesburg and your experience of them. My girl and I are keen on more quick breaks from this noise.

Johannesburg, South Africa

The African Child

I don’t know about you but I certainly find it rather interesting that International Day of the African Child, Youth Day and Father’s Day all fall on the same day this year in South Africa. It’s like the phases of a person, don’t you think? A child, a youth then an adult (father). Maybe I’m stretching things a little too far here but besides just having a ‘packed’ June 16 where commemoration of certain events are concerned, this year certainly has me considering a different narrative – today is one of a kind!

International Day of the African Child has been celebrated on June 16 since 1991, initiated by the Organisation of African Unity. The day honours the 1976 Soweto Uprising participants and goes further into drawing attention to the education provided to African children and the need to improve it and fulfil the right for every African child to have access to education. For those who have more, they are encouraged to share their abundance with an African child.

Photo Credit: Bill Wegener

Youth Day is a public holiday in South Africa, celebrated on June 16 as well, also honouring those who shed their blood in 1976 for an improved education system that catered for South African children, equally. Thousands of school children marched on the streets of Soweto, demanding that their rights be honoured and be taught in their own language. Hundreds of school children were shot and injured and over a hundred killed in the protests that continued in the following few weeks. South Africa honours the students who dared to stand up against the apartheid government and suffered for it.

The Soweto Uprisings, in which school children stood up against the Apartheid Regime

And then there’s Father’s Day! Fatherhood, the influence of fathers in society and paternal bonds are celebrated. Father’s Day is recognised worldwide; it honours male parenting, fathers and father figures on the difference that they make in the lives of their children.

Photo credit: @kaysha

Today is a little more special for me and I’m happy to dub it ‘The Day of the African Child’. Here is how it all comes together for me and how today had me thinking and creating a narrative that these ‘days’ sparked: with International Day of the African Child you have, of course, the child who has a dream about ‘this Africa’, a pure and untainted vision of a beautiful and happy Africa. The hope for a better future, “our ancestors’ wildest dreams.”  The child with a dream speaks of hope but also draws us to a tragedy and sad reality because even though they have the dream, most of the time they don’t have the tools to achieve that dream. Then we talk about the June 16 1976 Uprising in which the youth died. The youth, who was once a child, grew up to face threats to their dream. So we find ourselves with a youth who decided to take matters into their own hands because the adults failed them and so took to the streets and blood was shed. And then we have Father’s Day and of course, the youth has now grown into parents themselves. And throughout these phases, there is still the sense of hope and tragedy weaved into the story of each individual; in this phase we have fathers who are present and contributing in the best of ways in the lives of their children and protecting their dreams. There’s a fantastic story to tell there about how responsible and present fathers make all the difference in a world where many more children are without fathers and thereby embodying a fatherless nation without a dream nor a future to be hopeful for. The absence of fathers and/or father figures is still a real issue in South Africa and in this narrative, the child’s dream remains a dream.

So today what we have, essentially, is a child who has a dream, the youth that died for the dream and the father who has to deliver the dream.

Happy International Day of the African Child, Happy Youth Day and Happy Father’s Day! And just in case it’s your birthday too, happy birthday!

Photo credit: Gift Habeshaw