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Monday, November 07, 2016

Dipsaus!


Very proud of the brand new podcast Dipsaus by Anousha Nzume, Ebissé Rouw and Mariam El Maslouhi - all women of colour living in The Netherlands and using this platform to discuss issues pertaining to society, politics and culture in the multicultural Dutch context with a dash of humour and crankiness!

Anousha is of Russian-Cameroonian parentage and is a writer, actress and an activist for media inclusivity. Ebissé is one of my favourite people on the planet (!!!) she is Ethiopian and moved to The Netherlands in her early teens. She is a commissioning editor of non-fiction books at Amsterdam University Press. Mariam is Moroccan-Dutch and is passionate about ending racism and bullying at schools. Almost a high school drop out, she is now a certified psychologist.

Dipsaus, presented in Dutch (with snippets in English), is a bi-weekly podcast by and for women of colour interested in another sound. Interested? Check it out!




Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Vignettes


The child’s mother was careless. It was like that in some other families too. She’d seen it before; how young mothers, educated, loving even, left their youngest children in the care of even younger, less educated and careless household helpers. Yes, mother’s helpers, that’s what they were calling them. But honestly, the child was emotionally neglected. Pretty. Clean. But scolded, ordered not to do this or touch that and, “Oh, now look at what you’ve done!” She took out her phone and swiped through her feed. She already knew she’d be seeing something that would upset her. But it was morning and still too early for regret.

He looked good. Freshly shaven, skin gleaming from the application of the optimal amount of Vaseline, ironed short and smart shoes. He had nowhere to go. Absolutely nowhere, and looking so good. He decided to walk to the mini mark and buy a newspaper. The pavement was dusty, more sand than concrete really, and he was glad he’d chosen his light brown leather shoes. He didn’t have a car anymore, couldn’t afford it, yet here he was worried about having nowhere to go with nothing to do. He purposefully paid for The Namibian and then made off as if to work or a make-believe appointment. He walked towards the University of Science and Technology but at the last minute decided against it and chose instead to walk further on to the fine restaurant up the road.

She quickly walked passed the old Dutch Reformed Church in a hurry to get to her car before the car guard bothered her. She didn’t have change. But then she changed her mind, and walked passed her car to the next street, a short but winding road that led to the post office. She checked her mailbox, left the bills and statements and took out her magazine subscriptions. The rest could wait till the end of the month. She didn’t know what to do next. Back to the car or the small café in the alleyway? She took a deep breath and looked down at her feet. She was tired. Thirsty even. A drink would be a good idea, and then she’d have small change for the car guard after all and wouldn’t have to sneak off like a thief with no loot.

I was very hungry. Once you allowed yourself to get that hungry whatever gets thrown at you, you eat. The young girls, some in dancing outfits, played with a ball, throwing it straight up in the air and taking turns to catch it. They laughed in that pleasant manner of happy children. The traffic was incessant with the increasing rush of the afternoon exodus from the city. All one could hear was the beeping of taxis, the banter of the eager taxi drivers and, strangely, the chirping of birds in some tall palm tree, the only audible proof of nature.

The waiter circled and circled around me. Bored or interested? I tried not to be annoyed. He was just being attentive. If I was in another mood I would have appreciated the service. Suddenly a burst of children shot out of the building. Two of them ran up to me and we embraced in a group hug. The waiter’s shift was over. He walked past us in his red shirt and he, I imagined, must have thought I was mother to one of the girls. The children showed me the Rubick’s Cube they were busy solving and then ran off to their friends. I was left in the invisible hands of a ghost waiter.