Who teaches the young boy to be a good man?

woods cellophane

A few weeks ago, I was invited to talk to young girls about the consequences of “naked selfies” and putting too much of themselves online. When I was asked to do this talk, it was explained to me that the internet is a hard place to for women and it was best to prepare young girls for those harsh realities now rather than later. Young girls the world over are having their sexuality used as a weapon against them — this is tragic. 

Though I agree that the internet is not fair to women, what we keep failing to teach young girls is that the world is not fair to women or any minority. Preparing people for the consequences of what some may deem as “not great choices” is one thing, but why don’t we teach people to change their world. 

In recent years revenge porn has become the norm, break up with someone and in a moment of anger and haste said person posts a “naked selfie” once shared in confidence, to the world. I have heard many arguments on this issue. On one side of the fence, people say young girls today are degrading themselves by taking these pictures and sending them to these young boys. On the other hand of the issue people say these young women have the right to do with their bodies what they want. What I haven’t heard is the role of the young boys. 

Young boys seem to be given a free pass in this situation. There is a fence, and on that fence there are women on either side, women who should be ashamed and women who should own it. Women discuss this issue of how young girls are behaving. Women and men talk about how young girls need to stop behaving. Who is talking about how the young boy behaves? While we are all busy worrying about how our young girls behave, what they post on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, has someone asked what the young boys are doing?

When a young boy slut shames a 13 year old girl, who sits him down and discusses the consequences of what he has done? Who talks to him about betrayal and the cost of ‘shame’? Who explains that he has taken advantage and that someone is suffering for it? Better yet, who makes sure this actually never happens?

No matter how far we seem to come, how many campaigns go viral and voices rise up for equality on all fronts, society still puts the young boy above the young girl. I see school teachers making pleas on Facebook for people re-share posts so the young girls in their classes can see the viral nature of the internet. They do this because they hope it will stop them from sharing pictures in their bras or suggestive images on social media. I want to see the teacher that says “share this so the young boys in my class can see how hurtful it is to betray someone to the world”. So they can see how far their act of revenge can easily destroy a person’s life. How a joke can cost someone their future. 

Revenge porn is the norm and many women are having their lives ruined by men who once promised to love and protect them. We see it everyday and as women, we want to change it, we want to correct behave. We accept our sexuality so no one can use it as a weapon against us. 

But, how did these young boys grow up to be men that behave like this? While we so busy teaching young girls to be good girls, who teaches the young boy to be a good man?

Nairobi and all her charms: a humdinger of a city

Nairobi

It has been a dizzying few weeks, I have made stops in several cities around the world and more yet to come. Each city even more beguiling than the next. I would however be quite remiss if I didn’t take a few moments to write a love letter to Nairobi.

On a cool summers Sunday, I stepped out of an oddly quiet Jomo Kenyetta airport into the Nairobi air. The week ahead was carefully planned, with some hard work and a bit of play. Anyone who has been here will tell you there is an energy in Nairobi that is somewhat indescribable. Some locals know it, others take it for granted. I call it the ‘Kenyan Savoir-faire’ because no matter the situation you can always figure it out. Nairobi is flirtatious but she is not coy, she will wreck you, yet make you beg for more.

My first order of business call my “favourite” Kenyan.

“I am in your city my love!” I yell enthusiastically into my mobile phone.

“Darling, this is amazing!” he echoes my enthusiasm, and so it begins.

There is something outrageous about the amount of experiences Nairobi offers. A good friend, who happened to be on his first trip the city, was marveling at every little thing. Nairobi, through his eyes, is a shinning city. Africa’s Emerald City, if you will. The city of super fast internet, and the local will settle for nothing less. This is proven true when my other favourite Kenyan and I made our way through Madrid and she was appalled by the internet speed in the great European city. In this Emerald City, you will get an adventure whether you want it or not.

There are no hoity-toity affairs here, the city and its people are full of boundless energy and it is delightfully infectious. Between sips of chai (which you must drink here), a new friend tells me you don’t have to go too far to find entertainment or lions, the latter has me excited.

The Nairobi National Park is some 20mins away from the heart of the city on a day without traffic, which is rare but possible. Nairobians claim that they have the only park of this size so close to a metropole. Truly so, because while gazing at Gazelles gracefully dancing their way across the field you can see the city’s skyline, where people bustle on about their workday.

Zebras

I love nature and as we made our way through the park on the crisp morning, even the desperation for sleep couldn’t tear my eyes away from the animals. This effect is synonymous with every park I have ever been to. There is something quite awe-inspiring about watching a family of Zebras go about their day or to witness to speed of the Gazelle first hand. If you find yourself in Nairobi, make this trip, even if it is at 6am in the morning.

When people talk about Kenya not just Nairobi, they talk about the parks and mountains and the Mara. They talk about this other worldly experience, observing lions in their natural habitat or the marvel that is Samburu — because elephants. They talk about the great tea and coffee that is made here. Here, you can drink tea one of two ways here, the Kenyan way with lots of milk and little tea, or black with the milk on the side. The Kenyan way is worth the experience, chai.

The more I visit this country, and this city in particular, I see a new kind of Nairobi. The one that has a growing coffee shop culture, there is a Java or an Artcaffe at every turn and a skinny latte is one hand-raise away. Nairobi is the city of the young. Where Kenyan celebrities hop in and out of TV studios and make their way through the busy city streets. There is a party culture here, some of it seem to be imported from Nigeria, Kenyans know more about Nigerian music than I do (shameful, I know). These beautiful people of Nairobi, these 20 and 30-somethings are happy to go see a lion or an elephant but their natural habitat seems more in the party streets or a cup of chai at Java.

I must admit, though I had cup chai at Java and latte at ArtCaffe my time was mostly spent at Mama Ashanti. A Ghanaian/Nigerian restaurant that brings the pleasures of Nigerian cuisine to a lovely out door setting. I gorged myself full of plantains and pepper soup almost every night.

In this city there is a humdinger of life that puts all other humdinger cities to shame.

Tuscany: A deep kind of love that involves nakedness

Cathedral at Pisa

I have fallen in a deep kind of love with Tuscany. The kind of love that makes you question everything you know and wonder if the sky really is blue. Is it? Are you sure it’s blue not some constant hazy grey? What is happening to me.

The moment I stepped off the train at Firenze S. M. Novella station into the crisp morning Florentine air on what was supposed to be the tail the end of winter, I knew. Tuscany was about to steal my heart and it would never give it back.

If you arrive Florence early in the morning, the first the you want to do is grab an espresso and head to Pisa. Hop on a bus or a train and spend your morning marveling the cathedral (duomo) at the square. This same square houses the leaning tower and the Baptistery. In the cathedral you will be transported to days long gone and beauty that can only be described as true commitment to art, religion and love.

When you’ve had a gelato and bought some jewelry crafted from utensils head back to Florence. There you will be greeted by yet another heartbreakingly beautiful duomo and the tiny Florentine streets that pay homage to the days of the House of Medici, rich merchants and castle lords. A short walk away from the duomo you are encouraged to take in a moment with David, where he stands in the academic gallery in all his well sculpted and naked glory.

David

When you find yourself on the other side of the river that divides Florence, Michaelangelo’s Piazza is the perfect spot for reflection. There you will gaze on the whole city and its iconic red rooftops. As the day draws to a close it is best to head off to Siena for one of the most enchanting sunsets you will ever see, accompanied by a fine glass of the best Chianti classic you can find.

The food here tastes like the perfect alchemy of skill, ingredients, passion and nature. You can taste the story of your pizza, the strength that went into kneading every bump in the dough. You savour how your pasta came to be, with every mouthful the intensity of the sauce plays on your palette. You imagine the chef in a tomato field selecting the perfect, juiciest and sweetest ones for the task. It is glorious love affair.

Tuscany has a certain charm that I can’t seem to find the right words to describe out loud. If you will indulge me for a moment: close your eyes and listen to the sound of silence. Then imagine the smell of olives and freshly cut tomatoes, then hear the sound of laughter, real boisterous laughter that comes from the depth of your soul. Then I want you to taste the Chianti classic from grapes grown just three meters from your feet, you can taste the forest and the land that it came from. You can feel the air gently caress your skin, it’s sweet kiss hello and welcome home. When you open your eyes and you see the beauty of Tuscany before the blood orange sunset that burns in the horizon. This is Tuscany, it is a deep kind of love the one that you can get’s get away from and you don’t want to.

Europe on a budget: three countries, six days, less than $1000 spent

Duomo

I am in Milan, it is the last full day and half stop before I fly back home after a week of traipsing through Europe. Traipsing, I love that word, makes it seems like I was frolicking through the continent in a white flowy gown.

If you have been reading this blog then you know I have been in Prague, Vienna, Florence (post to come) and now I am in Milan much to my friends chagrin ;). It’s been a week of fun, adventure and Instagramable moments. By right and logic, I am told, this should be costing me a fortune. It’s not.

Full disclosure before we begin, this above cost does not include airfare from your home country, just hotels and travel with Europe and meal expenses.

Prague

I have a $1000 and I want to see at least three countries in Europe, can it be done? Yes it can. Let’s begin with hotels. Most cities in the world can be explored in a day and a half. So I recommend staying one night and a full day in most places, you can do two nights if you really want to explore the surrounds.

I stayed in a four star hotel in Prague for $30 a night close to the castle area, in Vienna I was right around the corner from the major shopping district for $45 a night, also four star. In Florence I was 10mins walking distance away from The cathedral and the gallery that houses David $48 a night and now in Milan I am 100meters away from Piazza Duomo for $72 a night, both four stars.

Pisa

What is this magic, a friend asked. Hotwire. I discovered this site before I set off on my trip when I was looking for affordable accommodation in Florence, the only destination at the beginning of the trip. The catch with the service is they don’t tell what hotel it is until you actually book it. So pick the top stars, 4 and 5. I was expecting the worst when I arrived in Prague but my hotel was pretty decent old but well kept, free wifi and breakfast included. All four hotels have not be disappointing. There are plenty services like this I am told. You can Air’BnB it too.

Then I needed to get to these places, how do I afford to travel from one place to another affordably. Usually best to travel to countries quite close to each other and always take the train, it’s more scenic. Prague to Vienna $75, Vienna to Florence $158 and Florence to Milan $41 — getting to places done.

When on holiday people always fall in the trap of getting guided tours of places, this isn’t a bad thing but they can be expensive. Walk around a city and get lost, it is the best way to discover the place. I once got so lost in Paris that I ended up in front of the Moulin Rouge and went in for a show.

Budget some train or bus money for surrounding areas, in Florence you can catch the train to Pisa for the day. In Vienna you can get on a bus to Bratislava, the capital of Slovenia for the day and add a extra country to your list. Unless you really like museums you pay to go inside them but walking around them is free.

Food, Europe can be mighty expensive. But if all your breakfasts are sorted from your hotels all you need is lunch and dinner, street food is your friend. This also gives you the opportunity to get a taste of the country you’re in. Chum up to some locals and find out where they eat because those places don’t have tourist prices. Street food on average costs about $10 and add an extra $20 for a decent dinner in a non-touristy restaurant. If you’re desperate there is always a MickyDs or Burger King somewhere.

If you like to shop it’s always best to haggle. Now if you walk into a Ferragamo or Gucci in Milan I can’t help you but if you’re looking for some trinkets from street vendors then you can significantly reduce your cost.

So trip over, and my bank is still in tact not broken and I have kept to my budget with out feeling like I missed out on anything major. I actually believe I have some change to spare.

Hotels: $297
Trains: $258
Meals: $180
Day trips: $60
Airport/train transfers: $50
Shopping and trinkets: $100
Grand total: $945

Vienna: it kinda sucks in winter but still sorta pretty

Mozart cake

I am in Vienna, yawn. This is a city that only the summer is enjoyable, really. Everything is almost at a standstill, well the cool fun things anyway. Day trip to Salzburg? No only in summer, oh how about a tour of this place? No only in summer and on Thursdays. Are you fucking kidding me? No he is being serious. Fuck this shit I am going to Bratislava.

Okay so I didn’t go to Bratislava because I am sitting at Cafe Mozart, where I am about to wolf down a Mozart cake (yes I did that on purpose) because I am so hungry from all the walking and staring at some grey buildings. Against my earlier issues I decided to actually do a guided tour of the city because you know, YOLO right. The guide, a small balding man with affinity for slightly rude jokes is a peach. In his opinion, the Euro was the worst thing to happen to Austria as everyone is now very poor in this very expensive country. Preach brother, my cake and coffee is costing almost the price of three course meal in Prague and most parts of Africa and the United States.

Palace

This tour titled: City tour and Schönbrunn Palace last three hours and the city part of it was about 20mins max. I spent the rest of the time walking around a giant palace that costs a fortune to maintain and wasn’t allowed to Instagram anything, fuck that shit. The whole time the tour guide kept telling us how in summer we would be able to do this and that place would be open in summer, yes yes we get it winter is a shitty time to visit Vienna thanks!

The palace is huge and there is a room for everything. Some lady apparently ate a lot of pork and drank red wine to have a male child but that didn’t work. Then some other lady was apparently “so ugly” according to the guide no one wanted to marry her then she got rich and went through five husbands. Some 15-year old married her 64-year old uncle and they didn’t have toilets and people went round the bushes. It’s kinda gross.

Aside from that, the area around the city centre around the famous Ring Avenue is quite nice, some of the buildings are photographable and the Opera is very much an architectural marvel, it’s close to Albertina square, my current view, and one of the cities redeeming qualities.

Vienna

It’s not that hard to get a good and possible full Vienna experience in one day, I would say 10 hours in this city is enough time. A nice highlight if you are lucky to find a company doing this in winter is dinner and a show, a concert of the best of Mozart and Johan Strauss because, whaat!. It’s expensive though, I am talking 70 euros for cheap seats but in summer you will get around 45 euros.

Alright I am off the Florence there’s only much cake one person can use to dim a not so great experience. Don’t go to Vienna in winter, unless it’s Christmas and snowing and you can skate.

I should have gone to Salzburg, could have done the vontrapp thing.

Three days in Prague: Nutella and Astaire

Prague

Europe is a fascinating continent, I love it so much, everything is so close together that you can hop on plane and be in a new place in less that 2 hours. As I write this I am sitting on train whizzing through the czech countryside as I take the four-hour sojourn to Vienna the next stop on my trip.

I have spent the last three days in Prague via London. Before we go any further is it incredibly important to begin with wow! Prague such history such devastating beauty it makes you want to cry.

Three days in Prague or two and half to be precise. What do you do when there is so much to do. Three things stood out about my experience here: the city, the food and the beer. The plan was to get here, have look around and hopefully gain some meaningful experiences. It’s easy to get on plane and prepare for the greatest tourist experience after all it is Prague.

Day one was packed full of all the traditional touristy activities, which I recommend anyone visiting this city should do. Get on a tram to the castle area and walk it. It is said to be the biggest castle in Europe, the cathedral is an icon to everyone religious or not. It is built in the french style cathedral anyone who has been to Notre Dame will notice this immediately. Your heart stops and the walls dare you to not feel anything. It is building that demands your attention and your soul’s purpose. You feel a part of something here and if you can light a candle for someone special or for the world.

Then it’s off the castle surrounds, now the office of government, it’s palatial presence is so regal you have to wonder if Czech people should just go back to monarch role just so grand balls could be held here. This is also said to have housed some of the most brilliant minds of the time, and Kafka had a “writing house” here too.

From the castle you will find yourself in Jewish Town now one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Prague. The neighborhoods all have a special place in Czech history and are all fascinating to hear but I won’t go into that.

Prague by night

Without a doubt my favorite experience of this trip was the Prague by night dinner boat cruise. This will set you back 40-something euros or more depending on who you go with but it is worth every penny. You are ushered into a boat and slowly driven around city on the main river under the famous Charles Bridge. The city is illuminated to highlight some of its most breathtaking features. The music is questionable but entertaining nonetheless and the dinner depending again on your choice of company can be quite sumptuous.

Nutella dessert

After a day full of traditional tourist experiences, I decided to meet up with a friend on my last to see Prague from a local’s point of view. This brings me to food and beer! Whatever you do here, you must try the beer, you haven’t lived till you have had beer in Prague or just Czech beer. It’s both refreshing and exotic in taste. I ordered a small one to test the waters as it were and Martina (my friend) had said I would want more, she wasn’t wrong I wanted more so much more. Fun fact beer is cheaper than water here. The best accompaniment Czech beer is a traditional Czech meal, Svíčková was my favorite but the goose leg is good too. Dumplings served with beef and vegetable and cream sauce. Oh my word, heaven where have you been my whole life. These meals are quite heavy so pace yourself. When you have recovered from the main meal I suggest stuffed dumpling for dessert, mine was stuffed with Nutella, need I say more.

The dancing house

Once all that gastronomy is done it is best to take a walk through Charles Bridge to Old Town square to marvel at the astronomical clock, it’s underwelming when it gongs on the hour but still a pretty sight. Walk around the square through Paris street, the most expensive part of town then go ahead to the Dancing House, this building is modelled after Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire dancing. From there make your way around the river banks taking the city before watching the sunset from the tower.

Prague is an architectural delight and worth many visits over. What better way to spend three days.

When did it become okay to receive kindness and forget to give it?

The standard mantras of well run homes and well behaved children is that they always say please and thank you. They never raise their voice and are always polite. The children are the jewel of every parent, these adults are the symbol of what courteousness should be. Pretty much Colin Firth, the epitome of the perfect gentleman.

I recently stopped hearing from a friend and wondered why. When I confided in another friend they asked me I always always ask how they were. It is a simple question, one that the answer would ordinarily be an easy yes. Then I thought about it, how many friends forget to ask their friends how they were, how their day went. It seems our society has bred a generation of receivers of kindness but not givers of kindness.

I have spent hours in conversation listening to the dramas of other people and not once in that conversation did they bother to ask how my day was. It usually never bothers me until the cynic in me comes out and then I call people out. I probably have also been on the other side of that, spilling out the stresses of my day but forgetting that I was not the only one in the conversation. It’s a natural thing, to ask someone how they are. Sometimes it feels almost robotic, the thing you are supposed to say after the heys and the what’s ups. The natural progression after our response to their how are you. Somehow we find ourselves regurgitating the deluge of our oft horrible days forgetting that horrible days are not exclusive to just us.

We all talk about random acts of kindness and publicise how well we have behaved by acting so randomly. Why should kindness be random? Why can’t kindness be natural and good manners? Would we not be better off if when we say our pleases and thank yous, we also say how are you, excuse me and how I can help you. Why should we wait for some social media game to remind the people in our lives that we care or to take a moment and be courteous or generous with out time, wealth or heart.

Why do we forget to keep in touch with people we call friends and act surprised when they seem distant? When did friendship become work, something that has to follow your schedule. When did we become so busy that our friends don’t even deserve a simple “just checking in”. I remember when conversations with friends could take place with a series of emoticons because all you wanted was to let the other person know you’re thinking of them. I remember when thought was important and all that counted.

When did it become okay to put our friends on to do lists and forget catch ups because it wasn’t in our calendar, when did friendship become an agenda item in the big meeting of life? When did we decide it was better to walk away than stay and understand?

When did it become okay to receive kindness and forget to give it back? When did we start forgetting to ask our friends how they were and how their day was? Why do we always forget to simply ask ‘how are you?’

I hope I can be a better example of a giver of kindness.

How to be a grown up 101 — the ‘DYI’ edition

I should have known my entire universe was going to come crashing down the minute I had to insert the L4 lever into B3. There was no L4, I looked in every single packet that came with my brand new plasma stand, every single one. And so, after 63 minutes of pure agony and frustration I stared at my unfinished work in defeat, I would never find L4 and my plasma stand will remain unassembled.

This is what happens when you grow up, the bright lights of childhood dim with resentment of playgrounds lost, the mischief of youth tries to groan on like a sluggish predator given up on the chase. Schedules become the norm, budgets become exciting activities and old lady pants are not just a thing but a cherished calendar item.

Welcome to the reality of the late 20-something.

My theory of what happens to people in their late 20s comes from years of watching sitcoms that made your 20s when things finally made sense and life became manageable — this is a big fat lie as we have already established. The reality on the other hand shows dramatically different lifestyles and world views from what we have been led to believe. As the assault of being a grown up looms, your inner child suffers and good sense is compressed to sense right now. In the quest to make sense of this growing up thing, this adulthood you find yourself trapped in something comes at the mercy of cruel and malignant being dancing at your every failure. Growing up is not easy they tell me, you have to work hard at life. Why, is what I want to know. What did I ever do to life that I have to keep working hard at it? Who is keeping score? Nobody knows.

The main curse of the 20-somethings is of course the Gwyneth Paltrows of this world, the women in their 20s who as one Buzzfeed writer described seem to have this life thing “sufficiently figured out as to be both enviable and mundane”. You often wonder who these women are, how on earth did they manage to do it and you can’t. Where on God’s green earth did they find the L4 lever that goes into B3 effortlessly, when you searched tirelessly and couldn’t. Who are these women, who are these people? These people that make you feel that while the rest of the works is winning at DIY you are failing at DYI because the instructions are all mixed up for you.

Incase you missed it: I am struggling a bit with this being a 20-something thing and giving adulthood a go. I am pretty sure I have everyone fooled and I am faking adulthood well, so I think. If things I read, watch and listen to are anything to go by, all you need is six things to be good at adulthood.

  • learning to make grown up decision
  • looking like you have it figured out
  • living an enviable lifestyle
  • understanding what is actually happening in the world
  • having a definite sense of style
  • finding yourself and knowing who you are

If all these things are indeed correct then I have failed with a soul-crushing grade of D- or more accurately an F, I am being generous. Somewhere along faking adulthood I seemed to have boxed myself into a corner that says I must be adult at all cost. No room for real play. Going out drinking does not count, if we are being honest that’s the worst inheritance of adulthood. Convincing ourselves it is okay to behave in an ill-mannered way, act with little dignity that even children are mortified and cause our bodies to reject everything it has ingested and possibly harm others because we think we are so invincible that drinking and driving is a contest — no not fun. No, I mean actual fun and play coupled with genuine laughter.

Though I easily allow myself to get lost in an existential crisis over why DIY instructions don’t add up. The ridiculousness of a pinch of something to a recipe (what is a pinch? Or a dash? Are these quantifiable measurements? Really?!?), I think it is safe to say, I am a grown up in my own way.

Everything in my home may not match or be fully assembled, I may still think the purpose of making money is to spend as quick as you can, I have yet to poison myself or set the house of fire. Adult supervision not needed. I feel there is a fine line between playing adult and eventually becoming one.

‘Damn You Instructions’

Saying goodbye to Memeburn: the hardest thing ever

Cape Town

I wrote Memeburn a ‘Dear John Letter’ and someone asked very nicely that I share it. So here goes. Note, Burn Media is the holding company for Memeburn and Creative Spark is the parent company for Burn Media. My goodbye was doubly hard because I had to leave Cape Town…

Dear Burn Media and Creative Spark,

After four years, more than a 1000 posts, over 800 000 words, four continents, 12 countries and 30 cities it seems our time has come to an end. It is not you, it is me, well its you a little. From our humble beginnings in the crack whore den in Hope St. The hipster havens of trendy Kloof St to our contributions to the tech gentrification of Woodstock. Our time has been great, but alas, it is time to signal in a new chapter of my life and so I must pack up my boxes and go.

In every box I have packed there is a memory of you. The day we hit our first million, our first big interview, the day we became 20 people and the day the new york times recognized us.

When I tell our story, I will talk about the smiles, the tears and the frustrations. I will talk about the good times, the bad times and the times I nearly gave up. But more importantly I will talk about the person I became because of you, the strength I got, the persistent that became the norm and the opportunities I found. Friendships gained, the fat cactus, Rick’s cafe and the rooftop of kloof street. I will think of Apple events, company exits and share prices. Ceos and founders interviewed and heroes met. Stories I loved, stories I hated and stories that sadly couldn’t be helped.

When I talk about the losses we endured, I will also talk about the victories, I will talk about Paris, New York, Lagos, Nairobi, Seoul, London, Accra and San Francisco. I will talk about the price of passion, its rewards as well as its consequences. When I tell our story which has been written in the indelible ink of friendship, love and respect, I will talk about an unstoppable dream. A dream we all bought into without question or hesitation. A dream that would see us all break the walls of our shell to become something quite remarkable. A dream that took me out my comfort zone thrust me in the uncomfortable yet rewarding light of stardom.

Most days I felt an exorbitant amount of anxiety and vulnerability when doing this job. But Africa’s stories had to be told. Tracking entrepreneurship, the adrenalin sport of business. One I revelled in.

Even though I will miss you terribly, I must grow outside of this new comfort zone. I am looking forward to this new challenge and to starting a new phase of my career. Thank you so much for allowing me the immense privilege of telling Africa’s stories.

To my team, there are not enough words and even if there were they would mean nothing to what you guys mean to me. No human being has ever had the privilege of sharing an amazing journey as I have. I wish you all everything of the best. You are each so talented and so very clever that I can’t wait for the rest of the world to take notice.

To Creative Spark, I beg you not to lose your sparkles and continue to be a special and creative place.

I have learnt so much here, and I hope in some small way I have taught something as well. I am sorry I have to break up with you. Forgive me.

Yours always,
Mich

Thanks LG for widening the gender gap in tech journalism

m&f

So LG South Africa just launched a news device, apparently it’s great according to their Twitter account but I can’t attest to that. We will come back to this.

Something else that is happening in my universe today is that I am speaking on panel about women in tech and challenges women face. Tech is highlighted here as it is a tech conference but women face many challenges in the work place and we cannot deny this.

Back to LG South Africa and its device launch.

So imagine my surprise this morning when I woke up to see a conversation on Twitter that LG South Africa had a male only tech journalist launch of its new device. Why would this company do such a thing? I mean really?

Well it turns out no, they had two separate launches for members of the media. The female launch and the male launch. I didn’t realise this new device, of which I am not mentioning the name on purpose, was a gender biased device. Do mobile phones come with gender bias in their technical offering? If they do I also take issue with this.

Why would you create a device as such. LG didn’t, it just decided that perhaps women would prefer to talk tech during high tea while men would prefer to talk tech during a serious dinner.

If you ask me, this is a terrible waste of money and an insult to both genders. Being a female tech journalist already requires working extra hard to get the industry to take our thoughts seriously on gadgets and the generally state of technology and the business of tech. Why has LG decided that it was a good idea to separate the media as it discussed a device it claims is the on the cutting edge.

The conversation around women in tech can get so tiresome because it is viewed with condescension. We want to celebrate women on day and ignore them the rest. I do not care for tech celebration days, I rather you recognise and respect my contributions everyday.

There is a huge difference between hosting a women in tech event to discuss issues facing women in the tech space and having to separate events to launch the same device. Separate city and country launches yes, but gender launches? Really LG.

So thanks LG, you have done a cracker job in widening that lovely gap we all just can’t wait to make bigger.