Extraordinary allegations require extraordinary proof

Hello computer,

My Facebook feed has been alive with the accusations that the #FeesMustFall students burnt down an auditorium at the University of Johannesburg. Most of these accusations stem from the statement made from the university. When I attended that fine institution I learnt about something very important, and it is this: In this country, we have a presumption of innocence. I also learned about the burden of proof and that the burden rests on the accuser, not on the accused.

The University of Johannesburg has made some pretty intense allegations without providing proof and it is our job as society to question the absence of proof. A number of friends, and former alumni have said that they believe the university would never do anything untoward and surely would not make unfounded accusations. I would like to believe that too, but belief is not proof. And the more serious the allegations are the more convincing proof required.

I am friends with Tracey Lomax, who posted the following on Facebook:

The allegations that ‪#‎FeesMustFall‬ activists caused the fire at UJ are ones which I find personally disturbing, because many of the people who are being tainted with the “arson” brush are students that I have worked with, and who have long denounced the destruction of property as a way to make their point.

It is, however, an awfully good way to make students lose credibility in the eyes of the public. Something which the Universities would find extremely helpful.

I have not been able to find an official statement regarding the following about the fact that there is no CCTV footage in the areas around the fire:

I hope that the fire at UJ was actually accidental. If it is proved not to be, then those responsible need to be held accountable by a court of law, not the court of public opinion or social media.

I hope that the students and faculty and administrators find a way to engage on the main issues surrounding #FeesMustFall. For the purpose of clarification, the main issues about #FeesMustFall are:

  • Affordable and accessible quality education for all
  • The end of outsourcing
  • The decolonization of institutions

In a number of ways, the #FeesMustFall movement is a call to realize the rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights.  And that is something worth remembering and advocating for.

Love,
Trisha

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Walking in another’s shoes

Hello Computer,

I have been sick for the past couple of days. Nothing major a touch of stomach flu followed by a cold. This bout with ill-health really made me appreciate and admire those who live in chronic pain.  I am friends with a small number of people who live with their invisible illnesses, and after my adventures in pain I am in awe of them.

I read a quote on Facebook, describing a visit to a medical practitioner with chronic illness (quoted from a Tumblr):

going to the doctor when you’re chronically ill is weird.

It’s like imagine everything in your house is on fire, and you’re standing there and the fire department come in like, describe the fire to me and maybe we can find what caused it and put it out.

and you can’t just say everything so you’re like… well the fire in the curtain is the biggest
but the fire in the photo albums might be doing the most damage
also the fire in the couch is really inconvenient

occasionally the fire guy is like, well your tv is on fire so it might be electronic-fireitus but that would cause other things like fire in the dvd player

and you’re like, oh yes. that’s been on fire for years. I forgot to mention it because it’s always been a relatively small fire. It’s right next to the bookshelf which has much more fire.

and then the fire guy is like, oh. I wouldn’t worry about that. book shelf fire just happens sometimes.

I am experiencing a new level of empathy to those who live life with a chronic illness, especially accompanied by pain. I am in extra awe of those who parent while ill.  I salute those who live life happily and fully in spite of their pain. I salute the way that you don’t constantly wallow in misery, and don’t happen to slap the healthy people who have the odd misadventures in ill-health with a frying pan shouting something along the lines of: THIS IS WHAT MY LIFE IS LIKE ALL THE TIME! DO YOU HEAR ME CONSTANTLY COMPLAIN? NOPE! THEN GET OVER YOURSELF!

Love and health,
Trisha

 

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Mother’s day gifts

Hello Computer,

I have noticed a trend with so many places they are all advertising mother’s day specials. I have been thinking about it, I don’t think Mother’s Day should be about the purchased presents…When the time comes if Lucas does start doing Mother’s Day gifts I want the kitschy handmade wonky gifts made with love. The gifts that he has created. I just think that they will mean more than boxes of chocolates. He can bake me a cake or make me breakfast and do lots of little things. Because Mother’s Day is about love not about the commercialism.

Love and anti-consumerism,
Trisha

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Now we are two

Dear Lucas,

You have grown so much in the past year. You have learnt to walk and started to talk. Your favourite game at the moment is hide and seek. You love cars, and cuddling your stuffed doggie. You know your animals, and still give the best hugs. You are a social little one but you do like to recharge with time alone with us. You are starting to figure out blocks and love bubbles (which your Aunty Cams introduced you to).  You play with puzzles but have not quite figured out the jigsaws yet. You love music and dancing.

It has been tough for the last little while, and I have not been the mother that I would like to be, but I have been the best mother that I can be in the circumstances. We will keep muddling through and doing the best that we can.

We took our first trip into the bush a few weeks ago and you loved it, and had great fun pointing out “Bokkies!”

I am so blessed to have you in my life and love you more than words can express.

Happy birthday sweetheart!

Love,
Mom

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Battling

I am battling with expectations at the moment, and the person whose expectations that  I am fighting the most is me.

So this is a reminder that it is okay to not be perfect. It is okay to mess up. It is okay to try to fix it. It’s okay to still be figuring things out.

Love and imperfection,
Trisha

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Connection: Baby likes fake sneezes!

One of Lucas’s favourite books is Chu’s Day by Neil Gaiman. Last year, for his birthday I wrote about him flipping to the fake sneezes and loving it greatly. And so when I read this portion of Neil Gaiman’s blog:

He likes it when I pretend to sneeze.

I had to giggle and share it with Riaan.

Love and connections,
Trisha

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Not quite the mom I want to be

Hello Computer,
I am blessed to be able to describe myself as a full-time mom and part time web designer. I appreciate the time that I get to spend with Lucas but sometimes I envy the working moms. I think that it is natural for us to look at what other people have and to not necessarily be satisfied with our lot. But, I feel so terrible for not being more appreciative right now.

messI feel like I am not the mom who I want to be at the moment. I want us to be more organized and have a week’s meals figured out without the help of the Daily Dish. I want to not collapse in exhaustion when my husband comes home…and yet, I know at the moment I need to cut myself some slack.

I know that I will figure it out, and I can take advantage of the time that I do spend with Lucas. I love reading to him and cuddling with him watching television together. And there are precious moments in the bath. I want us to have a more of a routine but I don’t have the energy to figure it out for us yet.

My life is currently in chaos, and I suppose I need to embrace it for now. Acknowledging that life is messy, but that I can clean it up one step at a time.

Love and chaos,
Trisha

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Birthday cake memories

Hello computer,

This week Lucas turns two. Time flies! Last year I never made him a cake (I had the best of intentions but life got in the way of life with my mom in law being admitted to hospital for a hair-raising journey). I decided that this year I would bake a cake for him. I enjoy baking, it relaxes me and it is something I enjoy. My mom did not bake for fun but she did bake us birthday cakes. Novelty cakes lovingly crafted with the help of her Australian Women’s  Weekly Children’s Birthday Cakes book.

This morning as I iced Lucas’s car cake I turned around to Riaan and said, “My mom really loved us.” Because she made these cakes for us even though she didn’t find baking fun. She made them to show us she cared.

Making Lucas’s cake made me remember so much… and it makes me look forward to making more.

Love and birthday cakes,
Trisha

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Choose Love

The context:
Ntokozo Qwabe, a Rhodes Must Fall activist wrote a message to the waitress who served him:  “WE WILL GIVE TIP WHEN YOU RETURN THE LAND.” (The full article can be read on IOL).

I have very mixed feelings about this article. Firstly, we actually should be paying people decent wages so that they are not dependent on tipping. Secondly, We  need to acknowledge that there is a strong link between economic power and land ownership.

ResponsibilityThirdly, we need to make sure that we are seeing each other as people. Race is relevant. White privilege does exist. But, we need to work at creating a legacy where South Africa is truly inclusive and everyone feels welcome. That includes asking the questions about how to give back the land. I feel that this article may be a distraction from our real issues and doing a disservice to movements that are working to dismantle the wrongs of our past.  Because as Terry Pratchett said in A Hat Full of Sky, “Even if it is not your fault, it is your responsibility”. As a country we need to start taking responsibility for our actions and working towards a united, peaceful, safe place to live.

The most important thing that I believe we can do, is to truly start seeing each other. To see the pain that exists. To reach out with compassion, to choose love over hate.  (And, I am glad that I did not stop searching because I found that there are people across all the races who are reaching out with kindness and that makes me happy). Some people are saying that people giving a tip to this waitress is an example of white economic control. (They may be right) I see it as an act of kindness of choosing love.

Love and politics,
Trisha

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Add to identity: teacher

Hello computer,

It’s funny the paths that we end up on. I can currently call myself a teacher (in addition to being a mom, and web designer). I am blessed to be teaching some home-schooled children web design and I am loving it. It is stretching me in ways that I did not expect, and reminding me of my younger self. There is something amazing about watching someone get a concept…it is like seeing a sunrise across their face and with smiles that can light up the world.
It is wonderful to watch how these youngsters interact with each other. And in other ways, it reminds me of how much my parents taught me. I don’t know if I will continue beyond this year…the immediate commitments that I have made but I am incredibly grateful to be sharing the journey with these children.

I am facing challenges because these kids are not all the same and that is part of what makes this journey worth while, I love working with these individuals. It helps me knowing that they are learning good habits as well, and I have begun to relax more. (When I confided my initial stress to Riaan telling him about the burden that I felt to make sure that I did not teach them bad habits he reminded me that everyone picks them up anyway.) I am proud to be able to say that these students understand the importance of separating structure and presentation.

It feels good to be giving back to the web design community, to the people who have taught me so much by passing it on.

Love and lessons,
Trisha

 

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