Monday, June 13, 2016

Sights: Johannesburg, South Africa

As I mentioned in my previous post, I spent last week in the South African cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town. Even though I was there for work and saw more of my hotel than the actual surroundings, it was still pretty memorable.


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Catch-Up 11/06/16

I'm currently typing this somewhere above the Atlantic Ocean, between Europe and North America. 

My friend Mia of Miafarradaily has long since advocated trans-atlantic flights as the perfect period for introspection, writing and drinking lots of wine. My usual over 6 hour flight practice is eat, watch something, read, sleep....rinse and repeat. But today is a work day back home in Malabo and in between assuring clients I am not going to abandon them because I'm going on vacation and furiously responding to work e-mails that materialized overnight, I decided to blog as well.

Over the past week I have been in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Addis Ababa, Malabo, Frankfurt & Lagos (transit), and I am now headed to Los Angeles. That should give you an idea of why I'm currently wild-eyed, unable to sleep, watch another movie, or even read. I am so sleep deprived and running on pure adrenaline that I have turned into one of those crazy people who never switch off. I left Malabo yesterday at 8pm to arrive LA around 9pm today WAT, people at work must be wondering if I'm mad sending in-flight emails at 2pm instead of getting the rest I truly deserve.

I am well aware I haven't blogged in a month or so, as my regular Profashionals have come to understand, I take breaks from TWP periodically when certain aspects of my life become manic. As I work towards achieving a balance, slowly I come back to my little piece of internet real estate.

For the first month after I moved to EG, things were a bit slow, it was election period there and because I work primarily for the government not a lot was going on, so I kind of gradually eased into life there. Then at the beginning of May everything kind of exploded, work became CRAZY. I've been so used to in-house Counsel life and having just one un-demanding multinational client, that I'd completely forgotten what it was like to work for a law firm and have multiple clients expect you to ask "how high" when they tell you to jump. I literally wake up in the middle of the night to check if I have any emails because I am such a stickler for responding at the earliest possible convenience", which according to my boss means IMMEDIATELY!

The funny thing is, despite the ridiculously high stress levels, the lack of sleep, the staring at a screen constantly figuring out a way to solve someone's problems...I am happy.

I've never been one to shirk hard work but my current levels of discipline astound me. I can be terribly lazy and always ready to do tomorrow what I can do today, but working here has revealed something about me to myself that I certainly did not know. I've honestly become a workaholic and I was never one before. I took the pursuit of pleasure very seriously and sometimes I could get so involved in inconsequential nonsense DURING work hours that I'd neglect work, knowing I could catch up later, but not deeming it important enough to attend to just then.

But now I go DAYS without checking my social media because I have so much work to do I actually forget its there. I've never been the "checking up on friends" MVP but I have now deteriorated so badly that if I didn't have some of them in groups constantly talking amongst themselves I'd scarcely remember they existed. My poor mum has given up on trying to stay in touch with me and I recently forgot a very close friends birthday, which NEVER happens!

I even had to take a hiatus from Daks In The City because I just couldn't.

I'm not saying its a good thing, but I've never considered myself as one of those people who would prioritize work over personal relationships and its started to happen and its just SO WEIRD.

Now I just realized I've spent the past 7 paragraphs talking about work....FML.

Ok so besides work, what else has been happening?

Life in Malabo keeps going on at its unhurried pace. I've gathered a little tribe around me, and besides flashes of FOMO when I watch Lagos weekend snaps, I'm coping quite well.

I think my favourite thing about being out of Nigeria is that I haven't heard anything regarding marriage in over two months. In Nigeria, the pressure is ever present, all the "when are you calling us o", to "I can't wait to wear your aso-ebi", to "your womb don dey tey o" (lol, true story, someone said that to a friend of mine.)

Not a peep here.

Though I love my Lagos with a deep abiding passion, I will take peace of mind over the constant haranguing I get while I'm there, and stay away for as long as possible.

Like I mentioned earlier, I went to South Africa and left my heart there.The country is SO BEAUTIFUL, the people are SO LOVELY, everything is SO AFFORDABLE, the food is DIVINE, the wines are FANTASTIC. Honestly I am so washed by SA at this point. 

I've always had the slight Nigerian bias against SA, don't know why, I guess its a competition thing. Maybe I'm romanticizing it a bit, because I was only there for a week, for work, but visiting has completely changed my perspective and I'm fully prepared to pack up my 7 suitcases the day my boss says "go"!

Will blog more about it next week so you can see it through my eyes.

I also had to spend a night in Addis Ababa because Ethiopian Airlines don't care about no-one but themselves, and the contrast (for me), between the two cities was stark. I wanted to linger in South Africa but I couldn't wait to get out of Addis Ababa. I don't mean to offend anyone but the parts of the city I saw were so run-down, I couldn't believe it.

I only spent a day and a night there so I am aware I can't really make an informed assessment but I don't know how to explain it, it was just depressing. Right from the airport, all our spirits (my Team and I) sank, everywhere was just so dingy. Old Abyssinia has always been a romantic place for me, I've wanted to visit Ethiopia for ages. The history, the people, their stories, their leaders....its all been very fascinating for me, but seeing it in real life...not so much. Definitely not looking forward to going back.

Just basically checking in to say I'm alive, I'm well, I'm thriving and for the whole of next week while I'm in LA I will be kissing my ejima niece and nephew, eating loads, sleeping even more, catching up on my shows and hopefully....blogging.

Love and Light xx

p.s. Massive congrats to my egbon Noble and his gorgeous wife Chioma. Wish you guys a lifetime of friendship, happiness, children and prosperity.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Work Style

ASOS Dress

I've gotten a few requests asking to do a post on what I wear to work, I don't have time to take proper photos but I do have time for selfies :)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Re-post from Daks In The City: Women are from Venus, Men are from...I Don't Really Know Where - On Nigeria's Gender Equality Bill


I've never been more aware of the differences between men and women than in the past couple of years or so. Feminism, gender equality/inequality, women's rights, violence against women...and all such other clarion calls, have always been present in various forms throughout time but recently, propelled by social media have accelerated at an amazing velocity.

The battles being fought by women back when Emily Davison was killed by the Kings Horse at Derby in 1913, have transcended beyond the right to vote and receive an education to simply the right to be recognized as a human being.

Battle after battle being fought and the status quo never seems to change, sure every few years we'll be thrown some bone, a minor concession to make us seem like we're equal players, yet women in Saudi Arabia are still fighting for something as ridiculous as the right to drive a car, women in the West are requesting equal pay and the right to make a choice as to what they do with their bodies, women all over the world are being slut-shamed for being sexual beings, and here in Nigeria, the "Giant of Africa" a Gender Equality Bill is being opposed for a number of amazing reasons.

The Nigerian Gender Equality Bill seeks to undo years of patriarchy, mysogyny, discrimination and sexism by focusing on eliminating discrimination based on gender in the fields of politics, education and employment. It also prohibits violence, domestic and sexual, against women. It also hopes to achieve “the elimination of gender stereotyping, prejudices, and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes, or the roles for men and women.”

Now why, why for the love of God would any reasonable person not want that? Why would something that benefits over half of the population, at no cost whatsoever to the other half be rejected? What are you men so afraid of? What do you really think would happen if...God forbid... a woman had the backing of Law to do exactly what men have been able to do for centuries?

Well, let me tell you what some of our Nigerian men are afraid of.

One of the most ludicrous reasons being bandied about for opposing the Bill was that "it was in conflict with the Nigerian Constitution and negates the principles of the Sharia law, which the Constitution recognizes", this nonsense was spouted by Sani Yerima, a senator from Zamfara State who at the grand old age of 49 allegedly married a 13 year old girl. Yup, THIRTEEN. To put that in perspective, a girl who's in JSS2 or JSS3...a CHILD. This was not his first foray into the rarefied annals of paedophilia, our Nigerian Constitution and Sharia Law upholding Senator also previously married a 15 year old girl.

A key provision of this bill was to introduce 18 a the minimum legal age for marriage we get why our righteous lawmaker was antsy.

Now this conflict has been raging for a while, so you may wonder why I am just getting het up about it. I've been SEETHING for weeks, but the final straw was when someone called Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe representing Abia State, said...oh my God...somebody's son, husband, father...said that the Bill was rejected out of fear that it would turn women into prostitutes, lesbians and make them abdicate their responsibilities.

It boggles the mind that a human being born of a woman (#NoMacduff) would spout such drivel.

This opinion goes beyond the the walls of the Senate and extends its tentacles all over the world, there are several men, and women even, who truly believe women should have no say over their own bodies, lives or choices. Who believe that it is best a man makes all the important decisions for them. That we are lesser beings as a result of our gender. That we are incapable of thinking for ourselves. That we cannot handle freedom. That no amount of achievements, successes...anything, can make up for not being born a man.

Nigeria is pretty much THE most hypocritical society I have ever seen. People constantly seek to police other peoples bodies, choices, lives...while flagrantly engaged in similar or even worse acts. Is this Senator trying to say since men are considered superior and have all this freedom, they are also prostitutes and homosexuals just prancing around abdicating their responsibilities?

A man who grew up in a household watching his mother take care of the whole family, provide financially, deny herself pleasures to ensure her children are taken care of, turn a blind eye to her husbands infidelities and focus on her children, turn to God every day standing in the gap for her is unbelievable to see such a man truly believe he is superior because he's a man.

Not to say all women are model parents but more often than not, this is the case.

This issue may have been over flogged, but thankfully there are millions of women out there who are ready to beat this dead horse to life.

Women who stay ready to protest, to write, to talk to their women, talk to their ignorant sisters, to use whatever pedestal or advantage they have to push the issue of gender inequality. This fight is not only for ourselves, it is for our daughters, grand daughters because it is our mothers and grandmothers...all the amazing women who came before us who ensured that today we can get into a car and drive wherever we want, we can go to university, own businesses, own property, leave our houses without our fathers permission, marry who we want, live alone, travel alone.

The memory of the scores of women who literally gave their lives for our cause ensures that we stay strong and united and never stop fighting to be recognized as human beings in our own right.

The Gender Equality Bill was thrown out at the 2nd Reading but it will surface again. In preparation for when it does, we Nigerian women have to get in formation (yaaasss Bey).

We need to organize, break down the false information surrounding feminism and women's rights and show people that it is to a society's advantage that women are empowered. Engage young girls actively to ensure they understand the kind of world they're growing up in and arm them with the tools to survive. Raise your sons to know and do better. Shame your men into joining the struggle. Vote out enemies of progress like Senator Yerima and Senator Abaribe, so those that come after them will know their constituents are watching them. Become active ourselves and hopefully one day be elected to such positions from where we can influence decisions concerning women.

Your mothers, sisters, daughters, the ones that will come after you will thank you for putting yourselves on the line for them.

Remain vigilant, remain ready to fight. Complacency gets us killed, beaten, raped, abandoned.....

"Do not go gentle into that good night, rage against the dying of the light."

Love and Light x
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