spending money

Six questions to ask before you spend that money!

Budget-Joe Biden

Of all her children, (and I of course the eldest out of 3) my mother believes I am the most Stingy.

She always says “ongame” which is a Sepedi phrase to describe my incessant need to understand where, why, and what my money is doing /going. And although I am now the butt of the family financial jokes; I have gone back to basics by unconsciously using the basics we all learn in elementary school (5W’s &H) to keep myself out of bad debt and start making better financial decisions.

The 5W’s & H is a concept predominately used in journalism to complete stories, I say “complete” simply because without an answer or understanding of all six questions – your story has a hole in it; and when it comes to money…holes lose you money.

“Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.” B. Franklin

M O N E Y!

  1. WHAT – are you spending your money on? In my second year of full employment I realized the need for a budget, and not a mental budget like I’ve always worked on but a full drawn up and maintained budget. I drew up this budget using a simple online budget template which allowed me to also review my expenses monthly and see how I tracked. I realized I spent a lot of money on takeaways and going out shenanigans – even after a full grocery trip.

2. WHERE – can I make the changes? It’s not enough to just know what you are spending your hard earned cash on, but to know where you spent it to help you consolidate. We’ve all bought into all kinds of marketing loyalty programmes profusely sold by businesses. Whether its “FNB: e-bucks” “PnP –smart shopper points” etc. our purses are shouting for mercy with the hordes of loyalty cards we have. The overabundance was not only frustrating my wallet, but it was also not lucrative. With too many cards and limited spending, you are building a little bit everywhere instead of having a carefully selected group of reward and loyalty memberships, consolidating and reaping the rewards they give you by consolidating your buying efforts.

3. WHO – should I give my money to? 

“Average people live above their means. Rich people live below theirs.”-Steven Siebold.

The guy that gives you the most value out of your membership. I travel quite often and realized the importance of great flight prices. Having reviewed where I spent my money, I triangulated my rewards with my need for efficiency in banking, travel, with perks and great grocery options. This can be done all kinds of things you like to do, whether it’s reading, going out or sports.

4. WHY – I’ve come across many people who always say “ I don’t know why I shop so much”  And to be honest, I also don’t know why… this probably where some self-introspection needs to come into the picture. A lot of ladies shop to make themselves feel better and find themselves in a cycle of debt as a result. Take a moment, be honest with yourself and understand WHY you spend (on the unnecessary stuff) the way you do. This will really help you understand your relationship with money.

5. WHEN – Can you say SPECIALS: ) Groceries are cheaper towards the end of the month (everyone is giving specials and coupons).   And finally…Look out for all kinds of specials during their relevant time (travel ahead of time and off-peak, crazy days like BLACK FRIDAY, reading month specials etc.)The time of the month you buy your goodies makes a big difference to the price you pay.

6. HOW can I make the most of my budget, increase my assets and stretch my money? 

“It’s not your salary that makes you rich, it’s your spending habits“Charles A. jaffe

There are many rich & wealthy people who are frugal and thrifty. Today’s millennial have the actions of millionaires ( fancy spending and social related purchases) , it is looked down upon to be “thrifty” but the truth is rich people stay rich by living like they are broke and broke people stay broke by living like rich people.

Recommended money read: Smart Money Woman by Arese Ugwu

smart-money-woman

By Nwamara Obiike:

“I am not an early bird, or a night owl. I am some form of permanently exhausted pigeon!”

African Crusader | Blogger | Foodie

I have just recently finished reading Smart Money Woman by Arese Ugwu as book 5 of my #30bookchallenge. Read Be a Smart Money Woman by Asake-Okin for more on the book. Nwamara fittingly ties in her views of money with those of Arese. The biggest callout is keeping an eye on our money. The things we do when we have little money will be magnified when we have millions and billions. Having more money does not wipe away our money problems. I personally,  have developed a new definition of what being broke means to me through making small but deliberate changes in my spending. It is never too late!-Lerato

The Smart Money Woman characters

Justice Malala-We have begun our descent

We Have Now Begun Our Descent- How to Stop South Africa Losing It’s Way

We have begun our descent. We are screwed to put it less eloquently.

Justice Malala 2

Justice Malala

Justice Malala is a seasoned political analyst, which made him one of the best people to write an account on the state of affairs in the Rainbow nation. This account was written in 2015 and outlines some of the things Justice feels have gone wrong with the country. Contrary to the stoic disposition that is often seen with journalists the writing of Justice is surprisingly emotional charged and often comes of as the frustration and subsequent venting of a normal citizen of South Africa. This raw emotion is refreshing, albeit scary. If even the usually impartial members of the press are now unable to keep their emotions in check then, again to put it no way eloquently, we are REALLY screwed.

The first half of the book is dedicated to singling out the lack of strong leadership in the country which has left the country reeling with investors losing faith and retreating their businesses, service delivery nonexistent and a tyranny of corrupt members of parliament whose sole interest and purpose is to line their pockets before the walls come caging in on them, which they eventually will. He singles out a lack of participation of the general public in the daily matters of the country, which has allowed the people tasked with running this country to be complacent. Using the example of the power outages that plagued the country in 2008, instead of making a huge noise and taking Eskom, the national electricity supplier, to task, people simply went and bought generators. This he writes, was the people of South Africa ‘saying goodbye to Eskom and South Africa. They were checking out. They had given up on the system.”

“I am angry. I am furious. Because I never thought it would happen to us. Not us, the rainbow nation that defied doomsayers and suckled and nurtured a fragile democracy into life for its children. I never thought it would happen to us, this relentless decline, the flirtation with a leap over the cliff.”

The ruling party also receives quite a tongue lashing for failing to take a country that had so much hope and opportunity after the end of apartheid to one that sees the poorer get poorer whilst the few elite continue to pilferage the country and enjoy the fruits of the bountiful resources the country has to offer. He believes that fixing the economy for all to benefit will be a “silver bullet” for the racial problems that plague the country……a statement I found myself viscously shaking my head against. As an outsider looking in, this country’s issues with race go beyond financial and economical matters, but that, is a topic for another day.

The media also cannot escape the attack of words from the analyst. They, and he implicates himself in this too, stand accused of buckling to the government’s demands of portraying them in a good light in their reporting. They are accused of not providing their audience with unbiased, factual news at all times as should be the case. The tragedy that was Marikana also gets mentioned and as per almost every other article on the events of 16 August 2012 it is outlined in detail all the shocking decisions that were made and greed that led to the unfortunate loss of life on that day. Al Bashir has a place in this book too as having turned the Republic of South Africa into a willing accomplice in aiding and abetting a fugitive of justice to evade the law and his day in court.

Heavy stuff.

Fortunately Justice is not only a man of questions and pointing out the wrong. He is a man of solutions as well. Here are some of his suggested solutions to mending a country that is on the edge of the cliff, and indeed has begun it’s descent:

Thuli Madonsela (bear in mind the book was written in 2015)

  1. Thuli Madonsela (bear in mind the book was written in 2015)
  2. Voting for delivery not history
  3. Capable, merit based state led by visionary political leadership
  4. Protection of the Constitution
  5. Pro-active tackling of inequality
  6. Value based leadership
  7. State of economy to drive accountability
  8. Back to School aka quality education
  9. No to corruption
  10. Actually putting into action all these fancy economic plans that seem to exist only on paper
  11. New leadership ethos

Pretty simple and straight forward. Right? Fast forward two years and it would seem the country is still rolling full speed ahead on that descent.

All, in all a somber take on the state of affairs in South Africa highlighting just how backwards the country has moved since the hard fought independence and rainbow nation that so many wished for.

Side note: I do not consider myself a political person. However I find myself very intrigued in finding out how our beloved African countries seem to all end up in the states that they are in. And more importantly what the way out is. it is always saddening to read the same stories coming out of all these African states, from the DRC to Zimbabwe to South Africa. Copy and paste. We need to catch a wake up call!

(All opinions and beliefs are mine. And no political party was hurt in the writing of this article.)

By Siphathi

Siphathi is an extroverted introvert. When she is not injecting a little humour into the world she is an engineer trying to pay her bills. Lover of sport, soccer and formula 1 to be exact. But most of all she is an avid reader who loves getting lost in books with a glass of wine by the side.

This is confirmation of the knowledge one gains simply by reading on a topic they are not particularly adept on. Thanks Siphathi for demonstrating that with your well thought out view on this book. I can only wonder the ominous tone Justice would have conveyed if he wrote on the same topic in 2017. A lot has happened in the last two years. A lot!.-Lerato

Beautiful South Sudan

BEAUTIFUL SOUTH SUDAN: A LOVE STORY

Beautiful South Sudan in many respects, can be viewed as a love letter to the country. Throughout the book, the author is at pains to detail her beauty, to highlight her strengths and not dwell on her flaws. With every spill of ink, you can sense the author’s anguish at the destruction of the country, celebrate with him as he describes his exquisite beloved and grieve with him for the children she has lost in the quest for freedom. While the book is littered with historical facts and images, it is not short of seductive poetry and prose to romanticize the narration. I found this book extremely important as it is not often that we get Africans telling their own stories. Often, we are bombarded with biased narratives that beckon us to write off our countries as single stories with no nuance. With this erasure, we forget to humanize our people, to honour their stories and their pride as a people. In Beautiful South Sudan, we are forced to glare at the people of South Sudan’s humanity, to see that they too have children just like the rest of us. That they dream of a time beyond the war; that they have love and poetry and beauty and way more than mere politics.

This was deeply striking for me on a personal note because I do not remember a time when I have shared anything about South Sudan outside the war. I do not remember talking about their art or their resources or their languages. I do not remember talking about their humanity. This book, while a mixture of many things is such a moving attempt to fit a country into a few pages. Ayay scrambles to put together historic memories, current realities and dreams of the future the country wants to see. Given how packed the book is, you will probably not want to read it all in one go (trust me on this one, I attempted to). This book requires time. You might get lost in the history of the country and find yourself spending endless hours on google trying to piece together the many facets. Or you might be deeply troubled by the current reality and get lost in deliberating that. Most times though, I found myself dreaming with the author. I found myself imagining what John Garang (google him!) would say or think about the current state and what wise words he would share about the way forward.

John Garang

My biggest lesson while reading this book though was seeing how easy it is as a naïve outsider to look at an entire country- a proud and intelligent people- without much context and arrogantly make well-meaning but short-sighted suggestions about what needs to be done. This book has taught me to listen more. To be deliberate in seeking out the voices of the people affected by the situation and to believe what they tell me. When they detail their abuse at the hands of Northern Sudan, to believe them. When they request the rest of us to step aside and let them solve their own issues, to grant them the request. And if they ever need a helping hand, to be ready to give one without judgement or condescension when they ask.

“Imagine a traveler walking into your cattle camp one evening; you welcome him warmly, give him milk to drink and the best bed to sleep on. He stays with you for an indefinite period and when you tell him that he has overstayed his welcome and was time for him to go, he claims that it was your fault to let him stay so long anyway and demands a share of your cattle: would you allow him to do so?”—Dr. John Garang speaking to a crowd of Dinka herdsmen in 1998 about the arrival and occupation of Sudan by the Arabs

As a caveat, I will be the first to acknowledge that this was not the type of book I would typically pick up for a number of reasons. While this may be true for you too, I would still recommend you get yourself a copy if you have any interest at all in learning more about South Sudan. This is especially true for those of us committed to seeing more authentic and balanced stories of our continent being told. This book did that for me. It exposed my ignorance, renewed a desire in me to see more and do more for Africa as a whole and for that, I am deeply thankful to the author for his courageous narration.

By Frank(ie) Talk

Frank(ie) Talk is a Development Finance Masters student at the University of Cape Town. When she is not making bracelets at Relate, you’ll find her at some coffee shop in Cape Town reading or theorizing about the World.

Thank you Frank(ie) for always urging us to identify our own biases in order to get out of our comfort zones and address those biases. We might not always have the funds to travel and see the world but it is through books that we are enlightened and forever changed. I will be travelling to South Sudan soon through Beautiful South Sudan 🙂 -Lerato 

The Year of Yes

So, Tell Me Who are You?

I gasped taken aback by the one question that demands an instantaneous response, but the weightiest question I have encountered. You don’t want to flounder; you want to respond with the eloquence that is reserved for royalty. You want to pause at all the right places for the listener to feel the texture of who you are descend upon them. You want to be certain of even the conjunctions that string together this all-encompassing tapestry. You want confidence to beam with the certainty of a sunrise in your very eyes.

“ I notice authenticity without so much as a second glance. They’re the ones with white knuckles and shaking hands. The world tries to rip it from them but they never let go. You must grab hold of who you are with both hands and never let go.”- Cindy Cherie

Authenticity: I soon realized that, that twelve letter world was all things I hoped my response would be to that question, “Who are you?” and any other question that resembled it. I found this virtue the spring from which all other virtues were free to be entirely themselves. Kindness was one of a kind. Happiness was joy. Humility was the realization that you my dear are not the center of the universe.

I found myself obsessing over authenticity and all of a sudden wherever I looked there it was staring at me adorned in all its glory but oblivious to me staring at it. It wasn’t there to solicit my praise but when I applauded it, it glanced over its shoulder and smiled.

[AFRICAN GIRLS READ] A good book in the beach is pure BLISS. ...................... Ms. @sharoniogwang and Siwe at Cape Town, South Africa ..................... Tag @blvbc and use #AfricanGirlsRead to be our next featured reader ...................... #books #bookfollow #bookstagram #ReadingMotivation #Readers #reading #bookclub #2017 #bloggers #blogpost #black #Africansread #africa #africanliterature #sisterswhoread #blackgirlsreadtoo #follow #yearofyes #beautifulsouthsudan #shondarhimes #beach #sand #capetown #southafrica #blvbc

[AFRICAN GIRLS READ]
A good book in the beach is pure BLISS. …………………. Ms. @sharoniogwang and Siwe at Cape Town, South Africa ………………… Tag @blvbc and use #AfricanGirlsRead to be our next featured reader …………………. #books #bookfollow #bookstagram #ReadingMotivation #Readers #reading #bookclub #2017 #bloggers #blogpost #black #Africansread #africa #africanliterature #sisterswhoread #blackgirlsreadtoo #follow #yearofyes #beautifulsouthsudan #shondarhimes #beach #sand #capetown #southafrica
#blvbc

I recently read the Year of YES by Shonda Rhimes, what I marveled at was how she didn’t attempt to perform literary gymnastics unless she really felt like it. She was shockingly honest about the things she struggled with and the wounds she is still plastering. She confesses that she like many women struggled and still struggles to embrace compliments, irrespective of the fact that she Shonda essentially owns Thursday night television with Greys Anatomy and Scandal. The Year of YES, was a challenge to say yes to the things she feared and this is how she undid the fear. Saying yes to what she feared she soon realized she was saying “Yes” to the parts of herself that she felt undeserving of, was saying yes to “stepping into the sun”.

She takes a scalpel and dissects the character Cristina from Greys Anatomy and how she represented a rainbow of authenticity that Shonda vicariously lived through and found herself.

This Cristina that we made was a revelation. She was never silenced. Never small. Never insecure to make good on her natural gifts. The Cristina of our collective dreams was larger than life. While often afraid she overcame her fears through sheer strength of will. This is why I wrote her more eloquently. Coloured her brightly and drew outside the lines.”

I have since seen this authenticity rear it’s head in the humility of Maya Angelou: “ I consider nothing human alien from me.” I see it in Chimamanda’s brilliantly crafted letter to Michelle Obama applauding her for being not what was expected but striving for true above unique. Its in the way Chimamanda wholeheartedly celebrates Michelle in words that are alive, raw and oh so generous. It’s in Zadie Smith and how she admits that she doesn’t read comments about her writing simply because she doesn’t have the stomach for it and she would rather be happy than voluntarily seek unhappiness. All these women are yards from perfect but they are real. Perhaps by knowing what we like, what we don’t, what makes us happy, by intimately knowing ourselves we are better able to just be all that we are. Witty, Intellectual, Childish, Idealistic, free. The wind, rain, a train and spring time.

The Year of Yes 2

 

So, Tell me Who are You?

By Ijangolet Ogwang

Ijangolet Ogwang is bullish on Africa. She is most passionate about complexities and the opportunities hidden on the continent. When she isn’t writing, she is reading books from multi-faceted disciplines. She is passionate about how entrepreneurship can be used as a tool for economic growth, catalyzing the idea that business must be used as a tool for doing good and social impact. She is a Finance professional, understanding the stories numbers tell by day and crafting stories by night

The Year of Yes is on my list of books to read in my #30bookchallenge. Ijangolet has given me another reason to read it. We are a month and a half into 2017. May it encompass the authenticity we need in order to live our best lives. Let us know who we are and never let go.-Lerato

 

[AfricanGirlsRead]
Happy New Year. May 2017 come with lots of reading, learning and growth.
We will be starting a new series called #AfricanGirlsRead.
••••••••••••••••••••
Tag @blvbc and use #AfricanGirlsRead to be our next featured reader.
••••••••••••••••••••
#books #bookfollow 
#bookstagram 
#ReadingMotivation #Readers #reading #bookclub #AfricanGirlsRead 
#blvbc

#AfricanGirlsRead

Happy 2017!! This is our first post for the year and we are hoping that the year has started on a good note for you. If it has not started on the best of notes, just consider January as your trial month 🙂

As we rounded off 2016 at our last Meetup, we discussed the need to start a movement and get African Girls showing off their intellect and desire for knowledge. This is something to be proud of. We felt that the movement had a place in inspiring other African girls to be on the pursuit of awareness through books. Why ‘African Girls’ you may ask? Well, BLV Book Club is proudly African. Not all the books we read are by African authors (we believe that we can learn from a wide array of genres), but the topics we discuss during our Meetups are meant to strengthen our awareness on how we can improve certain issues within the African context. An empowered woman’s best asset is her mind and books are amongst the things that help fuel the mind. Let us show this off ladies!

Here are some snippets of the #AfricanGirlsRead movement.

[AfricanGirlsRead] Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life. •••••••••••••••••••• Ms. @mizzkayem at Patong Beach, Thailand. •••••••••••••••••••• Tag @blvbc and use the #AfricanGirlsRead to be our next featured reader. •••••••••••••••••••• #books #bookfollow #bookstagram #ReadingMotivation #Readers #reading #bookclub #thailand #phuket #patong #kopanomatlwa #spiltmilk #AfricanGirlsRead #blvbc

[AfricanGirlsRead]
Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.
••••••••••••••••••••
Ms. @mizzkayem at Patong Beach, Thailand.
••••••••••••••••••••
Tag @blvbc and use the #AfricanGirlsRead to be our next featured reader.
••••••••••••••••••••
#books #bookfollow #bookstagram #ReadingMotivation #Readers #reading #bookclub #thailand #phuket #patong #kopanomatlwa #spiltmilk #AfricanGirlsRead
#blvbc

[2017 READ]  How many books do you plan to read in 2017?  Please share your 2017 book read goals.  #books #bookfollow #bookstagram #ReadingMotivation #Readers #reading #bookclub #2017  #czechrepublic #blvbc

[2017 READ]
How many books do you plan to read in 2017?
Please share your 2017 book read goals.
#books #bookfollow #bookstagram #ReadingMotivation #Readers #reading #bookclub #2017 #czechrepublic
#blvbc

[AFRICAN GIRLS READ]  You are the best author of your life,  make sure your story is the best ................... Ms. @gillian.thuli.dube at Gran Canaria, Spain finalizing her manuscript #thescentoffreedom ................... Tag @blvbc and use #AfricanGirlsRead to be our next feature reader ................... #books #bookfollow #bookstagram #ReadingMotivation #Readers #reading #bookclub #grancanaria ##AfricanGirlsRead #view #authors #Africansread #africa #blvbc

[AFRICAN GIRLS READ]
You are the best author of your life, make sure your story is the best
……………….
Ms. @gillian.thuli.dube at Gran Canaria, Spain finalizing her manuscript #thescentoffreedom
……………….
Tag @blvbc and use #AfricanGirlsRead to be our next feature reader
………………. #books #bookfollow #bookstagram #ReadingMotivation #Readers #reading #bookclub #grancanaria ##AfricanGirlsRead #view #authors #Africansread #africa #blvbc

[READING PLATFORMS]  Which platform do you prefer to read your books? Some people prefer a hard copy,  some reading from their phones or laptops or on Kindle.  Please share your preferred reading platforms we are interested to know which platform is mostly favored.  #books #bookfollow #bookstagram #readingplatform #Readers #ebooks #kindle #hardcopy #onlinereading #beach  #bookclub #blvbc

[READING PLATFORMS]
Which platform do you prefer to read your books? Some people prefer a hard copy, some reading from their phones or laptops or on Kindle.
Please share your preferred reading platforms we are interested to know which platform is mostly favored.
#books #bookfollow #bookstagram #readingplatform #Readers #ebooks #kindle #hardcopy #onlinereading #beach
#bookclub #blvbc

[AFRICAN GIRLS READ]  BE A SMART MONEY WOMAN ....................... Ms. @asakeokin at Lagos, Nigeria ....................... Tag @blvbc and use #AfricanGirlsRead to be our next featured reader ........................ #books #bookfollow #bookstagram #ReadingMotivation #Readers #reading #bookclub #2017 #Africansreaders #africa #africanliterature #africanwriters #africanauthors #Africansread #follow #blackwomen #blackgirlsreadtoo #thesmartmoneywoman #areseugwu #lagos #naijablogger #nigeria  #blvbc

[AFRICAN GIRLS READ]
BE A SMART MONEY WOMAN ………………….. Ms. @asakeokin at Lagos, Nigeria ………………….. Tag @blvbc and use #AfricanGirlsRead to be our next featured reader …………………… #books #bookfollow #bookstagram #ReadingMotivation #Readers #reading #bookclub #2017 #Africansreaders #africa #africanliterature #africanwriters #africanauthors #Africansread #follow #blackwomen #blackgirlsreadtoo #thesmartmoneywoman #areseugwu #lagos #naijablogger #nigeria
#blvbc

[AFRICAN GIRLS READ]  A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read ..................... Ms.  Siwe at Czech Republic .................... Tag @blvbc and use #AfricanGirlsRead to be our next featured reader .................... #books #bookfollow #bookstagram #ReadingMotivation #qouteoftheday #inspirationalqoute #Readers #reading #bookclub #2017 #Africansread #africanliterature #africa #follow #czechrepublic  #blvbc

[AFRICAN GIRLS READ]
A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read ………………… Ms. Siwe at Czech Republic ……………….. Tag @blvbc and use #AfricanGirlsRead to be our next featured reader ………………..
#books #bookfollow #bookstagram #ReadingMotivation #qouteoftheday #inspirationalqoute #Readers #reading #bookclub #2017 #Africansread #africanliterature #africa #follow #czechrepublic
#blvbc

[AFRICAN GIRLS READ]  Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home . ..................... MS. @liraydo at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates ..................... Tag @blvbc and use #AfricanGirlsRead to be our next featured reader ..................... #books #bookfollow #bookstagram #ReadingMotivation #Readers #reading #bookclub #2017 #Africansread #africa #africanliterature #blackgirlsreadtoo #abudhabi #unitedarabemirates #traveling #spiltmilk #kopanomatlwa #blvbc

[AFRICAN GIRLS READ]
Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home
. ………………… MS. @liraydo at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates …………………
Tag @blvbc and use #AfricanGirlsRead to be our next featured reader …………………
#books #bookfollow #bookstagram #ReadingMotivation #Readers #reading #bookclub #2017 #Africansread #africa #africanliterature #blackgirlsreadtoo #abudhabi #unitedarabemirates #traveling #spiltmilk #kopanomatlwa
#blvbc

[AFRICAN GIRLS READ]  The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go. ...................... Ms. @pepsi_porc between Johannesburg and Durban, South Africa ..................... Tag @blvbc and use #AfricanGirlsRead to be our next featured reader .................... #books #bookfollow #bookstagram #ReadingMotivation #Readers #reading #bookclub #2017 #Africansread #africanreaders  #africanliterature #africanwriters #africanauthors #africa #follow #blackgirlsreadtoo #flying #plane #johannesburg #durban #southafrica #blvbc

[AFRICAN GIRLS READ]
The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. ………………….
Ms. @pepsi_porc between Johannesburg and Durban, South Africa …………………
Tag @blvbc and use #AfricanGirlsRead to be our next featured reader ………………..
#books #bookfollow #bookstagram #ReadingMotivation #Readers #reading #bookclub #2017 #Africansread #africanreaders #africanliterature #africanwriters #africanauthors #africa #follow #blackgirlsreadtoo #flying #plane #johannesburg #durban #southafrica #blvbc

[AfricanGirlsRead] Books are a uniquely portable magic. •••••••••••••••••••• Ms. @didilexx at Shongweni Farmers Market, South Africa. •••••••••••••••••••• Tag @blvbc and use the #AfricanGirlsRead to be our next featured reader. •••••••••••••••••••• #books #bookfollow #bookstagram #ReadingMotivation #Readers #reading #bookclub #shongweni #AfricanGirlsRead #blvbc

[AfricanGirlsRead]
Books are a uniquely portable magic.
••••••••••••••••••••
Ms. @didilexx at Shongweni Farmers Market, South Africa.
••••••••••••••••••••
Tag @blvbc and use the #AfricanGirlsRead to be our next featured reader.
••••••••••••••••••••
#books #bookfollow #bookstagram #ReadingMotivation #Readers #reading #bookclub #shongweni #AfricanGirlsRead
#blvbc

[AFRICAN GIRLS READ]  Financial freedom is when passive income exceeds your expenses ................... Ms. @cutelypetite at Railway corporations, Eastern Metta, Lagos State, Nigeria getting her #thesmartmoneywoman book signed by he author @smartmoneyarese .................... Tag @blvbc and use #AfricanGirlsRead to be our next featured reader .................... #books #bookfollow #bookstagram  #ReadingMotivation #Readers #reading #bookclub #2017 #mondaymotivation #inspirationalqoute #follow #africanauthors #Africansread #africanliterature #authors #africa #BLACK #lagos #nigeria  #blvbc

[AFRICAN GIRLS READ]
Financial freedom is when passive income exceeds your expenses ………………. Ms. @cutelypetite at Railway corporations, Eastern Metta, Lagos State, Nigeria getting her #thesmartmoneywoman book signed by he author @smartmoneyarese ……………….. Tag @blvbc and use #AfricanGirlsRead to be our next featured reader ……………….. #books #bookfollow #bookstagram #ReadingMotivation #Readers #reading #bookclub #2017 #mondaymotivation #inspirationalqoute #follow #africanauthors #Africansread #africanliterature #authors #africa #BLACK #lagos #nigeria
#blvbc

[AFRICAN GIRLS READ]  Have the confidence and curiosity to know things that are not in your lane. ..................... Ms. @tiny_bookworm_ in Kenya .................... Tag @blvbc and use #AfricanGirlsRead to be our next featured reader ..................... #books #bookfollow #bookstagram #ReadingMotivation #Readers #reading #bookclub #2017 #wearethechangemakers #thefourhourworkweek #howtochangetheworld #kenya #blvbc

[AFRICAN GIRLS READ]
Have the confidence and curiosity to know things that are not in your lane. ………………… Ms. @tiny_bookworm_ in Kenya ……………….. Tag @blvbc and use #AfricanGirlsRead to be our next featured reader ………………… #books #bookfollow #bookstagram #ReadingMotivation #Readers #reading #bookclub #2017 #wearethechangemakers #thefourhourworkweek #howtochangetheworld #kenya #blvbc

[AFRICAN GIRLS READ]  Think!  It's not illegal yet. ...................... Ms. @cutelypetite at Benin City, Edo State,  Nigeria. ...................... Tag @blvbc and use #AfricanGirlsRead to be our next featured reader. ...................... #books #bookfollow #bookstagram #Africansread #ReadingMotivation #Readers #reading #bookclub #2017 #nigeria #benincity #howtowincustomers #keepthemforlife #blvbc

[AFRICAN GIRLS READ]
Think!
It’s not illegal yet. …………………. Ms. @cutelypetite at Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria. …………………. Tag @blvbc and use #AfricanGirlsRead to be our next featured reader. …………………. #books #bookfollow #bookstagram #Africansread #ReadingMotivation #Readers #reading #bookclub #2017 #nigeria #benincity #howtowincustomers #keepthemforlife #blvbc

The movement has helped us gain many followers and will not be restricted to January but will be ongoing. Follow us on Instagram: blvbc and join the movement.

We urge you to continue on this journey with us. I, personally, have taken up a #30bookchallenge for 2017 which I feel is fairly achievable. I plan to read a lot more about Personal Effectiveness, Marketing, Financial literacy and a bit of fiction to get my imagination running. What are your reading goals for the year?

Let us make 2017 great.

#AfricanGirlsRead

#blvbc

Lerato is a Supply Chain professional in the FMCG industry. Not satisfied with being confined to her day job, Lee is always reading something different. The development of women and Africa are what fuel her passion. She would one day love to have dinner with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and pick her brain on so many issues.

 

Meetup Jan

Meetup: January

Join us at our first Meetup for 2017 on the 29th January via Skype from 2pm to 3:30pm (South African Standard Time). We will be discussing Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.  We are already getting some mixed reviews from some members and so it will be interesting to share our thoughts on the book :).

Meetup Jan

You have not read Outliers yet?  Do not despair. You do not have to have read or finished the book to attend the Meetup although it would be advisable. The conversation always centres around real-life situations so you can put your 2cents in too!

Looking forward to having you join us!

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BLVBOOKCLUB-2016 IN REVIEW

Some years ago, I said, whilst walking with 2 of my guy friends, ‘I think we should have a book club.’ They looked at me like I was crazy, and after a second or two of silence they confirmed their thoughts with their laughter.

That was in 2011.

I figured it was another one of my Western ideas. I have been accused at times of having what people may describe as ‘white’ behaviours. That is in no way racist at all by the way. That’s just to express that somehow there are things not considered to be part of black or African behaviour.

One of my old pastors used to encourage us to read widely, and he used to share this joke that my dad shared recently too – “If you want to hide anything from a black man, put it in a book”. This was to say that black people are generally not considered to be well read, and hardly open books.

Don’t get it confused – we are definitely academics, we have a high IQ and are well studied in our various professions, however, beyond schooling, a number of us are not well versed with ‘other’ material. I’ll be a first to confess, outside of one genre, Christian reading, I did not read many other books before BLV Book Club. I definitely read tons of articles around what to do before 30 yada yada on LinkedIn and other platforms, but I honestly could not have been bothered to actually purchase these. I mean, I struggled to read my own Shakespeare set-books for Literature in high school (bad confession from a fellow author)

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Photo credit: Asake-Okin

Anyway, I never pursued, or even mentioned, the idea of a book club again. I likely wasn’t as passionate enough about it at the time maybe. It was still just a hint of an idea.

Fast forward to 2016.

My dear friend, Lerato, invited me to join in on a BLV session. I remember thinking wow – that’s not so white after all 🙂 I was so excited to be invited to such a meeting! If there is one message I heard that stuck in 2016 it was this one – SUSPEND YOUR SKEPTICISM.

We have reached the end of 2016 and the book club is still alive!!! Yay!!! And I’ll be honest, joining it has been one of the best decisions I made in this year. I have grown as a person and widened my scope of reading.

The reason we made it to the end of 2016 was not because of me by the way. Lerato has consistently kept the book club together and going. I’ll confess that I have not always pulled my weight in this club….I’ll let others make their own confessions (No need to name and shameJ )

She has ensured that the blog is alive and kicking, and has timely updates for the page. She puts her time and energy into this. I can admit that my friends had good reason to laugh and put me off – not because it’s a white idea, but because it’s so much hard work and I can’t imagine I would managed anyway back then. I’m encouraged by my friend, to consistently pursue my passions. More often than not, she is writing the next article, reviewing a book, praising the good work of others, however, I believe she herself deserves some recognition. I am actually very proud of her, and I speak with so much pride on a Sunday afternoon when I tell my peers ‘I have a meeting with my friends from the bookclub, gotta go.’ Never have I engaged with people that have such thought provoking conversations, around Africa, women and financial freedom, amongst other things – women determined to grow in other arenas outside of their careers. It’s a good thing I am based overseas – they never get to see the shock on my face when they say some things. Not because they are bad or shallow things, nope, but because I’m always like wow!!! It’s a good shock. It’s a mind stimulating shock! Clearly I need to up my game in this arena called life J

Yesterday, this young lady behind the book club shared an email with us from (un-disclosable at this point) about (again, un-disclosable yet), lol. I can only disclose that as I read the thread, I smiled from ear to ear.

Here is to a good year Lee, and a better one ahead. To relentlessly pursued and realised dreams! I know that’s your portion!

#AfricanGirlsReadToo#BLVBookClub#CheersToLerato#2017WillBeGreat#blvbc

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Thuli Dube is a Chartered Accountant, Author and Publishing Consultant, who finds her therapy, healing and release in writing. She has a heart for young people, with a special focus towards young women and a passion for youth education and empowerment. Thuli is keen to bring life transformation to her audience by assisting with their transition process into becoming whole and restored individuals. Born and raised in Zimbabwe, she relocated to the UK in 2015.

You have got me feeling like I am cutting onions Thuli!  Thank you so much. It has truly been a pleasure making this happen and the truth is this would not be possible without the members contributing to #blvbc. In 2016 I have learnt to align with my passions and purpose. This is something I am slowly carving for myself-a work in progress. My love for #blvbc has meant that even when we have writers’ block, not as many views as we would like and it seems like we have reached a plateau, I keep moving forward. #2017WillBeGreat!-Lerato

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Reflection Points

It is not every day that you can claim to have an author as a friend. When Thuli first told me about her plans to write a book I was excited for her. It is something that I have been thinking of doing one day and to see someone my age, from a similar background realise a similar dream is inspiring. Inviting her to the book club was a no-brainer!

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Thuli is passionate about youth education and empowerment. Her book-The Scent of Freedom: Rest in You is just that-Empowering! Within her first year of publishing, Thuli has already been nominated for the Zimbabwe International Women’s Awards-Author of the Year. You might remember the article http://blvbookclub.com/2016/08/11/the-scent-of-freedom-why-i-wrote-the-book/.

The Scent of Freedom is the type of book which you will extract a lot of value from if you are ready to do the work. By work I mean, taking time to face your demons head on, being brutally honest with yourself and furthermore, reflecting on how you can live your best life. I read this book at the perfect time in my life, even though I will admit, I tried to resist it because of the deep thoughts it made me confront. Having it as our November Book Club Read helped a lot and the discussions during our last Meetup made me realise that there is a need for books like this. It also served as the perfect book to end the year.

I will share with you the parts in the book that stood out for us:

Reflection time- Because the nature of the book requires setting some time for reflection, a question was posed on the importance of reflection. The Scent of Freedom has reflection points in every chapter. These are some questions that help steer your thoughts. This is useful in helping you clear your thoughts and come to a resolution on the best way forward. A common thread I have observed with the leaders I have encountered is that of setting time to reflect. They use it to look at the past-what worked and what did not work and to look at plans for the future.

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How often you reflect is up to each individual but there is also a danger in ‘overreflecting’. Be careful of this to avoid spending too much time wallowing in your thoughts and not enough time doing something about it.

 

Playing charades- This was my favorite chapter in the book. This mainly revolves around authenticity. My initial interpretation was that of the image we portray to those around us. This could be our immediate friends and family and on social media at large. A quick disclaimer that the ladies so rightly pointed out was that social media will always be a tool to show the best version of ourselves to the world. Very rarely do we find ourselves being vulnerable on this tool. The important form of authenticity is that which is to ourselves. It is so easy to believe our own lies. Are you being honest with yourself? It is all good and well to smile at the world and act like everything is ok but you owe yourself the highest form of authenticity or else you run the risk of the faҫade you have so well created unmasking itself.

At the toughest point in my life, I found myself learning to answer the question we often overlook – ‘Are you ok? How are you?’. I learnt to say no when I was not ok. I am glad I did that because it allowed me to address why I was not ok. Pretending to be ok would have left me dealing with the issue 3 months later. I urge you to do the same when you check in with yourself or when someone close to you asks you that question.

It does not take much for our dreams to die- It is so easy to find fault within our dreams and reasons for why they could never work out. We allow society to guide our worth. I urge you to look back at what dreams your 16 year old self had. Have you accomplished those dreams? If not, why? Chances are high that you allowed your dreams to die gripped by the fear of failure. Well, the next step is to ask yourself what are your dreams now. My favorite quote by Sheryl Sandberg is ‘What would you do if you weren’t afraid?’ Do it. Don’t let those dreams die. 

Forgiving yourself- ‘Never be ashamed of a scar. It simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you’. We tend to bury our heads in the sand, ashamed of the scars that serve as reminders to the whole world of the fact that our lives are not perfect. Scars- emotional or physical, are reminders of our past. Regardless of whether they are self-inflicted or caused by others, you are still standing. Let us own our mistakes, forgive ourselves and use those scars to prevent ourselves from making the same mistakes. Better still, let us use our scars to serve as testimonies to those around us. Let us turn lemons into pink lemonade 🙂

pink-lemonade

Happy holidays!

Lerato is a Supply Chain professional in the FMCG industry. Not satisfied with being confined to her day job, Lee is always reading something different. The development of women and Africa are what fuel her passion. She would one day love to have dinner with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and pick her brain on so many issues.

writing-what-we-like-yolisa-qunta

Black

I moved back to Cape Town recently and what you find in Cape Town is opulence, the kind of cups that continuously runneth over but what you also find in Cape Town is the sight of atleast five beggars on my way to work. Dirty, ruggedly dressed carrying their tired bodies what would seem aimlessly around, searching for drops of water at the bottom of empty bottles.

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The reality in South Africa is that racial lines continue to separate the rich and poor. Where white is largely correlated with opulence and black hardship. Cape Town is aesthetically ravishing but it is in this beauty that a large majority of the racial tension is hidden. Between awkward stares at high-end restaurants and half smiles, remarks about my skin and hair, I think to myself, Yes I AM BLACK and how does black still evoke stares and fascination in Africa or rather black in places that economically scream white evokes these stares (A thought for another article perhaps).

This article does not aim to address inequality or analyze the ideas of “black pain” or “white superiority” or the deficit of what it means to be humane but instead reflect on the writings of I Write what I Like by Steve Bantu Biko and more recent, Writing What We Like ( A new generation speaks) by Yolisa Qunta.

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The idea of Black Consciousness is the idea that as black individuals we must remove ourselves from the margins of pages of history. We must embody our stories, the stories of our people, our heritage, our practices and view these things as good, relinquishing notions of relativism. Bantu Biko aptly describes this as the cultural and political revival of a oppressed people. The term revival here speaks to the restoration of an identity. It is accepting our uniqueness with eagerness to define who we are in a world that is not short of wanting to label us, if we do not have the words readily on our tongue to call our hair beautiful. To call our mothers strong with their grazed knees, to call our villages humane and our dances the all-consuming ability to express ourselves unconstrained. To have names like Robert Sobukwe, Julius Nyerere, Rosa Parks, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Thomas Sankara & Toni Morrison just to name a few loosely on our tongues and minds. Biko states that the most powerful weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.

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Biko continuously in his book dissects the systems that have aimed to capture the black man’s mind and reiterates this hope “There’s nothing to be ashamed of in language and culture. In fact you should be proud of these things”. His quest is not to travel back in time but rather that we look back and gain inspiration from history to make it relevant to the present and trace the evolution of the black culture.

Reading recently Writing What We Like the book is a commemoration of black voices and thoughts contextualized on living in South Africa. I sometimes wish the liberation leaders like Biko could get a glimpse of the immense impact that their literature has had in influencing the conversations of the current day. The book is as light hearted as it is informative, the first section of the book, Different Shades of Black explores the different nuances of what it means to be black and how it reflects in what’s expected of the male child or growing up between the suburbs and the township and navigating one’s identity. The next section, What have we struggled for, traces the experiences today that make one ask the question. The book is compiled of stories told by “ordinary black” women and men, with each essay I thought of a personal experience or someone dear to me who had a shared experience. It felt very familiar, like a conversation over brunch with a group of friends.

I grew up in a small town surrounded by everyday superheroes one of these being the lady who sold vegetables on the same street corner for years, everyday joyously greeting passers-by and sharing thoughts on politics and humanity. Choosing somehow to remain resilient despite the burdens on her back, of feeding numerous children and suddenly living in a society with systems that reject her. She was a hero but I didn’t know this until now because since i was six I was taught that we only find heroes that matter in books. Resilience. Hard Work. Dedication. I have lived in and amongst these attributes but I always had this singular view of what they should look like.

I am hopeful that my nephews default will be seeing the world in ways that I am only learning, that his history lessons would be filled with African leaders, his economics classes will tell him about the role of the informal economy, he will encounter his first black author in grade one and in finance micro-financing and stokvels will not just be two irrelevant lines in a textbook.

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BLACK, synonyms: strong, resilient, my ancestor’s dreams, resourceful, magic, vast as the night sky, all encompassing, infinite, large, capable. GOOD

Ijangolet Ogwang is bullish on Africa. She is most passionate about complexities and the opportunities hidden on the continent. When she isn’t writing, she is reading books from multi-faceted disciplines. She is passionate about how entrepreneurship can be used as a tool for economic growth, catalyzing the idea that business must be used as a tool for doing good and social impact. She is a Finance professional, understanding the stories numbers tell by day and crafting stories by night.

Some powerful words Ijangolet! It calls for us to reflect on what being black means to each one of us and to start having the necessary bold conversations about blackness in all its glory. Let us start or continue ensuring that BLACK is synonymous with GOOD.-BLACK and PROUD Lerato

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Be a Smart Money Woman

I am one of those people who never finishes reading a self-help book or a biography but buys them whenever I am going through one of those low moments. I cannot remember when I started following Arese on Instagram but I think I clicked on her profile from a post Nimi Akinkugbe put up. Arese’s “The Smart Money Woman” book launch/tour flooded my IG timeline frequently but I thought it was another self-help book and that thought brought back memories of how I struggled to complete “Rich Dad Poor Dad” while in University . I am one of those people who pride myself in saving before spending so when my friend Bukola handed over Arese’s book to me as a late birthday gift, I was wondering what more can I learn.

Smart Money Woman Author: Arese Agwu

Smart Money Woman Author: Arese Ugwu

My learning started from the acknowledgement – Arese’s mother ensured she traced all her expenses every term as a way of driving financial discipline. It is a self-help book but with a story that does not make it look like a self-help book. I would called it an unconventional self-help book about 4 friends with Zuri being the main character and her journey to financial freedom. I learnt about lifestyle choices that could make me easily broke and emotional down.

The book which I finished reading in about 3 – 4hours has 12 chapters and at the end of each chapter, there is a smart women lesson that explains your everyday financial terminologies and behaviors in the simplest of form. “ The way you manage N10, is the same way you will manage ten million”; “Broke people and rich people approach the same amount differently”;

“Financial freedom is when passive income exceeds your expense”

You have to read the book to understand what passive income means. After each lesson, there are also exercises aimed at making the book very practical to our personal lives.

As earlier mentioned, I save before I spend but do I really know where the remaining money goes? What is my biggest spend? According to the book, if you really want to know a person look at their bank statement – does your statement show you are a shopaholic, an alcoholic, a foodie, a Traveler?  When you borrow money is it aimed at acquiring an asset that will appreciate or an asset that will depreciate? Do you have an emergency fund? How will your personal goal translate into financial growth? Do you understand the relationship between intimacy and money? Should you tone down your financial success to get a man?  Should a couple with two different ideas about money have a joint account for everything?

The thought-provoking questions are the reasons why I would recommend Arese’s book to everyone irrespective of gender and age. Let’s all be a Smart Money Woman – “A woman whose hustle has a purpose and has learnt to make money, keep money and grow money. She is the sort of woman we are all capable of becoming”

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ÀSÀKÉ-Ọ̀KÍN – Muslimah ll Supply Chain ll Occasional Blogger ll Amateur Photographer

When Asake-Okin posted on Instagram that she would be reading ‘The Smart Money Woman’ by Arese Ugwu, I knew that she had to give us the scoop on whether it is really worth the hype. Asake-Okin, your stamp of approval on the book means a lot. I can not wait to get my hand on it. Last week, we posted an article on financial literacy. In 2017, we should definitely dedicate a month to writing about how we should be Smart Money Women. Your thoughts?-Lerato