Storytelling is a common thread that runs through African cultures. Storytelling binds us together and carries our history. It connects us with our people, heritages, cultures, and traditions. Through it, we are able to connect and understand each other regardless of background differences and circumstances. Storytelling is a tool that brings comfort in distressing situations and an escape that brings safety to those in need. It is the experience of a honeybee seeing the world in colours that are invisible to the human eye (Nooijer & Sol Cueva, 2022). A feminist approach considers storytelling a unique practice for women to use their voices and express themselves uninterruptedly (Nooijer & Sol Cueva, 2022). This storytelling approach reminds me of my late grandmother and how she used storytelling to educate us about life and our history as Africans. Many black women relied on and continue to use oral literature to narrate stories (Ngcobo, 1987).
Talking about sex in the context of HIV-positive status
Recently, I was scrolling on social media when I saw an interesting post by an activist who is living positively with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). In the post, she talks about the work that needs to be done to fight the spread of HIV and how young people are still getting infected with the virus at an alarming rate. She goes on to say that even though the government has done the work of providing medication and treatment to control the spread of the virus, and assist those living with the virus, there are still new cases. She specifically talks about the substantial number of children who were born with HIV through mother-to-child transmission through breastfeeding, pregnancy, and delivery. This often happened when antiretrovirals (ARVs) were not freely available in South Africa and before programmes to prevent vertical transmission was implemented.
Hunger persists as a serious concern or pregnancy experiences and outcomes
Many South Africans live in extreme poverty and experience hunger. Statistics show that as of 2020, 16.31 million South Africans lived in extreme poverty. The Food Poverty Line (FPL) is now at R624 per capita per month (Statistics South Africa, 2021) while child support grant currently stands at R460 and the SRD grant at R350, there is a 15.1% and 28.1% difference respectively between the social grants offered to people and the current FPL. Recently, many countries have experienced an ongoing crisis of inflation in food prices due to various factors, including the ongoing war in Ukraine. Inflation in South Africa resulted in food price inflation up to 6.7% in February of this year, higher than overall inflation in the country, which was at 5.7%. In summary, unemployment is rising, inflation is increasing the cost of essential goods and services, and social grants remain lower than the food poverty line (child support grant at R460 and emergency SRD at R350 per month). What this all means is that the poor are barely affording a living, and food poverty is worsening. The ones who face the brunt of the general increase in the cost of living, especially food poverty, that this article
The Damaging Confluence of Deficiencies in Data, Treatment, and Training in LGBTQ+ Substance Use Disorder Treatment
There is robust evidence internationally (Glynn & van den Berg, 2017; Newcomb et al., 2019) to suggest that LGBTQ+ people bear a disproportionate burden of substance use disorders (SUD). This heightened prevalence of SUD results from a complex intermingling of factors including minority stress, increased poverty, and experiences of violence to name a few. The resultant mental health and material stressors invoked by these factors leaves LGBTQ+ people vulnerable to unhealthy coping mechanisms, including substance use. When substance use escalates to harmful levels, it is ordinary to seek treatment. Unfortunately, seeking treatment for substance use is a manifestly more difficult task for LGBTQ+ people due to a range of interlocking barriers that I will describe below.
Law as discourse – The Case of Martin Charo v Republic
The case of Martin Charo v Republic decided by Judge Chitembwe of the High Court of Kenya in 2016 generated a great deal of international attention. It was awarded the Gold Bludgeon for being the worst judgment negatively affecting girls and women.
Personally, I wanted to pursue Sexology when I started my journey in Psychology. I never saw myself as a mental health professional that would only discuss topics around everyday life struggles. Instead I was always excited to delve into the nitty gritty experiences of people. I wanted to talk about SEX. The good stuff, the bad stuff and even the ugly stuff. I wanted to talk about the subjects that no one wanted to talk about. The kind of topic that might seem "unladylike". The stuff that makes you cover your eyes, but also tempts you to peak through your fingers. I wanted to speak about the most intrinsic part of being human.
A need for inclusion of gender neutral restrooms
Although the South African Constitution is one of the most progressive in the world, it does not provide practical ways for transgender individuals to participate in society. Consequently, transgender individuals in their everyday lives are faced with the dilemma of being mis-gendered by having to use either men's or women's restrooms.
Insights, as a researcher and psychologist, from the online course Abortion: Law and Ethics
My doctoral research relates to developing a training course for nurses in Abortion Counselling. In order to expand on my legal insight into this topic, I am currently participating in an online course held by Stellenbosch University called Abortion: Law and Ethics.
Under the shadow of the Baobab Tree
They sit under the big shadow of a baobab tree with their legs wide open. The chief circumciser, a respected man in the village, moves upside down singing inconceivable chants as if to scare them.
Grieving for miscarriages in the shadows
Working for an insurance company straight after university, I was placed in a trainee management position.
The Cleansing Ritual
There is an African saying, “You have to mutter a word before entering someone’s household” (Ubodumzela xa ungena komny’umzi)
Terms and conditions of unconditional love
Every parent declares that they love their child/children unconditionally. This was the same for me, I was raised in a very Christian house, where anything but the very best you could give was not accepted. I was told I was a manifestation of my mother’s faith and my father’s sacrifices. Unknowingly, this put a significant amount of pressure on my life to be nothing but the best at everything I attempted. It also had the effect of making near impossible for me to allow myself failure. It translated further than just my academics. It coloured how I interacted with people, my growth and my anxiety.
The Turing Affect, an Enigma
Writing this blog after the month of June, which is pride month around the world, has made me contemplate how far the queer community has come, but also about how much further we have to go. I am writing from my personal computer in my quarantined home during a global pandemic. During this incredibly difficult time, it has been an enormous help that most people have some form of access to the internet using a computer, laptop, tablet, or cell phone. This is all thanks to one individual. This person is credited with saving millions of lives during the Second World War due to the invention of the first reprogrammable machine. He is the founder of computer science and artificial intelligence. His name is Alan Turing. Most people do not know his name as quickly as say, Steve Jobs, arguably because of his sexuality. He was a gay man in 1940s Britain.
Improving students’ mental health during COVID-1
Have you ever felt like you are hopeless, worthless and as if everything around you is weighing you down? These are some of the everyday stressors or rather emotions that most researchers or university students’ experience. With the rise of COVID-19, this has meant the everyday stressors get worse day by the day. Students are left feeling overwhelmed, lost and some even break down in distress.
Conversations about pregnancy
It is with no surprise that women, both young and old, have become more vocal about their readiness for parenthood. I have stayed in a university residence for five years. This has given me an opportunity to interact with a vast group of people from different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds and with different future goals regarding marriage, relationships and having children.
Pregnant girls are now allowed to continue with their education in Zimbabwe
Can it be said just because l have fallen pregnant as a high school going girl then my dreams of obtaining education are scuppered? Am l am not going to be that Lawyer; Medical Doctor; Professor? Is it the end……? Does it mean all my aspirations and dreams have been crushed because l am now pregnant? But doesn’t pregnancy only show my fertility as a woman? In their quest for answers, many young women have shown signs of no hope and felt very defeated with life once they fell pregnant in school.