We Blacks

(Image not my own)

In the past couple of years or so, I’ve been on a journey of rediscovery…a journey of redeeming self. And I use rediscovery as opposed to discovery because I believe that at some point in the crafting of me, I knew exactly who I am to be and what I am to do as I live and exist but somewhere between conception and life, these things became a blur or were completely erased. Some of these things are starring you right in the eye, yet still for this reason or the other you take no notice of them…you undervalue them.  It is only now at my big age that I am starting to reconnect with the essence of my being  -I am not just black and female, I am a human who has been kissed by the fiery sun and I am a fierce woman.

I was sort of in the middle of writing a piece about self branding when, during my usual rounds through social media I came across posts, two in particular, by other fierce sun-kissed women who posted their views and/or initiatives. Granted, they had their own ideas on what message they are sending across but I was on the receiving end, and well…I was stirred to lay down track, and mostly because the individuals who posted are well known/semi-well known…and probably have some few thousand youngins who look to them as modelling a role.

The first was one who posted a picture of herself, in a foreign predominantly white country, with text on the background which I interpreted as saying that we should all hold hands and dance to kumbaya and forget that the very hands we hold are the same hands that have and will not hesitate to hold the knife that stabs us in the back, paralyzing us almost beyond redemption. Who are we redeemed? Are we like in the views of the second post haters of each other’s progress?  Have we become so far fashioned by a system that seems to have its roots in eternity? Who are we redeemed? Have we been so reduced by every television screen and every news paper that all we see in the mirrors of our beautiful minds is pathetic and lazy and hateful and ugly?

Who are we redeemed?

When I began this journey, the first thing I came to realise was that redemption lies in unsurrender. Unsurrender to what you took for truth. Unsurrender to the death traps disguised as springs of living water. It is OK to change your mind about who you are, to redefine you, to reach into the enemy’s camp and take back what the enemy stole. To do that because if it were up to you, you would have not forgotten to begin with. To have not forgotten that you weren’t meant to be second to best but best itself, your appearance and your culture were always best for YOU. This is NOT meant to hate on any particular individual or impose this now commonly shared revelation on those to whom it has not showed itself. This is meant to cause every sun-kissed human to stop and reflect and hopefully realise that redemption has already come and that we can (we must) make the decision to enter into the enemies camp and take back what was stolen…to reBrand the essence of BLACK (BLACK is damn BEAUTIFUL!).

Who are we redeemed?

Our brand is not just plain old black, it’s phenomenal…our appearance, our culture and our minds. I would say Black is in business baby! So let’s work on our business plan. What does this plan look like? It looks like intentionally invest ourselves, lots of mental preparation. It looks like well known people, especially women, who will model the role and teach the lesson -those who are going to sell this narrative far and wide, as creatively and un-invasive as needed. Where do we start? At conception! Let’s teach our offspring that they are not only black but BEAUTIFUL. Let’s use some black tactics that are free from system thinking. Let’s know our targets per tactic.

We are on a journey, and I believe that we are well on our way.

Who are we redeemed?

We are the epitome of philanthropy and sentient-ality. We are sun-kissed kings and fierce queens. Let’s teach everybody who we were, starting with us.

…and perhaps only after all of that has been achieved, then we can all hold hands and dance to kumbaya.


Would they matter?

The things you do…the ones that have been taking up most of your time…those you pride yourself in. Would they matter if money was eliminated?

HLOPHE : Our Clan Names

There are two versions of the Hlophe clan names as we are said to have our main roots in Eswatini (Swaziland), a small country neighbouring South Africa and Mozambique.

isiZulu version:

Hlophe! > Samela! > Thumbeza  kamyeni! > Ntombi zenda ngonyezi ezabafokazana zenda ngobumyama! > Sikhwebu esagcwala ingobo sisinye!

Siswati version (two variations):

  • Hlophe! > Mabhengu! > kukhala lobovu! > Mkhonkosi! > Nabo nkhosi nabo ngwane! > Jojo nyoni lenhle lengahlali phansi lendlalelwa esihlanjini!
  • Hlophe! > Mabhengu! > Khonkosi! > kukhala nobokhosi akuvalwa ngamivalo kuvalwa ngemakhandza emadvodza!

Surnames stemming from the Hlophe surname: Mteshana, Goge and Mhlophe.


So the other day I engaged *because curiosity* BuzzFeed’s “If you were a Disney Power lady, which one would you be” thing and it turned out to be spot on. Before doing the BuzzFeed questions, I had identified with Moana since watching the movie a couple years ago. I decided to post about this, here, not because I have feminist tendencies but because I think it’s important to know where ones boldness lies…and also to be reminded of it.

Moana you are a free spirit who refuses to settle for anything less than your heart’s desires. Life constantly tells you NO! but the truth is, that only motivates you to rebel more and push against boundaries even more resolutely. You’re a born leader and fighter, and you are always ready for an adventure.  

And how true it all was (is). But to be fair, Life has said YES! to me in close to many occasion.

It’s important to know where ones boldness lies.

Strength over weakness

…Because I believe that the people that are in my life, at any given time, are there for

a reason, I choose to focus on their strengths over their weaknesses.

Of course with some I am asked to try with everything in me

but this way, I benefit the most.

The second Consciousness

Self-care isn’t just holidays & spa treatments. It’s working on our habits, mindsets & healing our past. It’s removing toxic thoughts, people & places in our lives. It’s living intentionally, purposefully &…CONSCIOUSLY

_J. Shetty

Doctor: The patient has been unconscious for a period of three weeks.

Here the doctor is referring to a person who “lacks true awareness of themselves and/or their surroundings”. This person has been unable to communicate or respond to conversation or stimulation… their mind has not been functioning in the way we would define as normal. The person is both unpresent and unawake *awake in the case of the vegetative state*. This is lack of consciousness that is entirely mind based. The second consciousness is that which refers to awareness beyond the boundaries of mind…to be stimulated and responsive to the holistic nature of being. The second consciousness brings about a higher level of choice where the options almost become endless. Our current level of choice is based on our current level of consciousness. The point is, our choices are limited by our level of consciousness. Should we dare to endeavour to new heights of consciousness to take us, mankind, to the next level of being…that is where we will meet our power.



Sometimes you have pull someone else’s hard work apart. Not because you hate the person or their work, but because it doesn’t serve you and you require the resources with which it was built.

In A World Full of Choices: We can be…Pilots

Lerato Mantambo

Most of my school life I was certain I was going to become a veterinarian, until I was certain I was going to become a pilot. In grade 10, my mom took me to an airshow in my home town of Mafikeng, where I became so mesmerized by aeroplanes and the people that control them. I was picked as one of the young people to be taken on a flip over the town. The co-pilot happened to be a young black lady. She was tall and beautiful, and I immediately wanted to be like her. Perhaps I even saw myself as her! I loved the confidence she had in her ability to manipulate the controls of this heavy metal bird. I was curious to find out how it all worked and found myself take up the challenge to see if I could do it as well.

I returned to school with a new goal in mind and worked hard towards it. The journey entailed seeking sponsorship towards my pilots licences, which were quite costly. With my mom backing me all the way, I got a private pilot’s license, then over time, a commercial pilot’s license and eventually after working for a few different aviation organisations, to gain experience, I got my airline transport pilot’s license which I hold today.

It was challenging but also such a spectacular experience, filled with a lot of hard-work and a lot of fun too. I have traveled to many destinations and met many interesting people, and mostly I learned so much about myself along the way. I now fly for South African Airways which had been my goal from the beginning of this dream; to fly the national flag.

Aviation is all about humans defying the laws of gravity as safely and for as long as possible. Every take-off and every landing is proof of our abilities to make the impossible the norm.


Lerato Mantambo is a South African Airways First Officer…a lover of the skies.


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