Friday, 14 October 2016

Another milestone.

I've completed another milestone; I have completed my masters.

So I did my masters full time for a year while also working (sometimes). It was something I chose to do because I was getting bored with work. I didn't feel challenged enough. Plus, I wanted masters to help me improve my work ethic (it sort of worked?). 

I'm content with what I've managed to accomplish. Some of my dissertation research results got published in a research paper and I got a Merit in my masters. So I cannot complain. I actually had a nice one year at uni and met some people I consider to be friends. 

My masters really opened my eyes about the world of research and how much fun ending a stressful week is with a social on campus.

My masters was also a trying moment because I had to deal with things I have never really had to deal with before; being wrong, messing up, working independently, critically thinking all the time and overall being under a lot of pressure and time constraints. I wanted it to be all over. Thankfully it is. 

It's taught me a lot about myself and what I want to do next and what I'm willing to deal with/not deal with. Most importantly, I grew up during this time. I take my work really seriously now and I also enjoy it. 

We will see what's next for me in the world of education... but for now I'm happy the early mornings, studying and deadlines, have ended. 

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Some Memories From Africa

As you may recall I went to Africa in 2013. It was my first time in years and it didn't go as planned. Despite, my trip really kickstarted the kind of journalism and writing I've been doing since. 

A few things that I found nice or memorable in Africa. Not all of it is documented here, but just a few of those things.

Because it was my first time at Le Bistro they gave me free cake on the house
The mountains surrounding and within Juba.
South Sudan money, albeit sort of useless, is beautiful. Who would have thought we'd have our own country, let alone currency?
Cartoon of the day (this was from Citizen). It keeps the circumstances in South Sudan real.
A young mango tree at home in Thongpiny.
This is somewhere in Nairobi. 
Remnant of 2013: Coca Cola did special edition labels for Kenya, celebrating the country's 50th independence. 
What is home without the occasional power outage?
My obsession with skies is justified: we don't really get to see blue skies in the UK. 
Cat at Paradise.
1985 five Kenyan Shilling coin.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Women are NOT Bob the Builders

I am so over this glorification of women FIXING men!!! Isn't that his mother's job? Why couldn't he raise his emotional intelligence while growing up? Why couldn't he get that job and/or degree while he was with his parents? What is his excuse for not becoming a man before making someone his woman?

In all honesty if you are emotionally unintelligent, broke and immature, having a girlfriend should be incredibly low on your list of priorities.

A woman deserves far more than taking over her boyfriend's mother's job of raising him.

This focus on or task of fixing men has women hustling backwards, giving them far less than what they deserve.
This woman here is so focused on building her man that her right arm is on her left arm! 
I've seen it far too often; women who go out of their way and perform wifely duties for the man, doing things from giving her savings to him to teaching him manners and how to dress, only for him to keep it moving and marry the next woman. 

The only person(s) a woman should be raising are her kids. I'm not saying that a woman should never help her significant other or never work with him. There's a difference between building someone up and building with someone. Building with someone is getting that first house together, raising a family, going into business together, supporting one another and their goals, and improving and bettering one another.

In some cases, yes the man will probably return to pursuing higher education, make a career change, start a business etc. And that is even expected. In such cases your level of support should be dictated by what type of relationship you have. If it's a marriage, of course you can go all out on the support. But if this is your man of three weeks, three months etc. girl, wish him luck and be his cheerleader but continue to focus on your goals. Do not make sacrifices that impede your own progression. 

This Bob the Builder role that some women seem to take pride in has women hustling backwards and you're wondering why I say that... I say it because often enough a woman has done so much and gone so far, even started a family with him yet, there's no commitment on paper or in the form of a ring. None of that. Let me not forget to mention the sacrifices the woman has made without that level of commitment.

So unless you enjoy being Bob the Builder and realise what the job description entails, do not build men. Do not even get drawn to men who want to be build or take pride in being build. A relationship is about bringing peace to one another and supporting one another (not at the expense of one another). It's a place where there's equality, not babysitting. So please ladies, if you know you can do better, do not settle for less. 

Say My Name, The Right Way Please!

If your name is as 'diverse' as mine, i.e. can be pronounced and spelled in one or more ways, then you can definitely relate to what I'm going to say next (unless you boycott Starbucks).

My name is Dutch derived (don't quote me on this) and usually pronounced like 'Sita' but it's written as 'Sieta'. Most people get it right (in the Netherlands).

In the UK when I moved here (and even now until this day), I've gone into this habit of saying it's 'Sieta' when people call me 'Seeyeta' (that's the only real way I can write it so that you understand how they mispronounce it phonetically). So imagine that when people do pronounce my name correctly, I let them know they pronounced it correctly because it's a rare occurrence.

This continued mispronunciation and even misspelling of my name became too much at school and even during my undergrad, so I just allowed people to call me whatever they wanted to call me. To some people I made it quite clear that it's Sieta but some still chose to go with 'Seeyeta' (memory of a gold fish or something?).

The people at Starbucks aren't any better either. They struggle with my name the most. This is the dialogue that usually ensues when I ask them for a caramel macchiato or just a cappuccino;
Starbucks barista: what's your name?
Me: Sieta.
Starbucks barista: *in doubt on how to spell my name on the cup, looks confused as hell*
Me: *waiting awkwardly as it's taking the barista ages to start write my name on the cup*.
Starbucks barista: - two minutes later - Ok thanks, drink will be at the end.
Me: *annoyed as hell and clocks that it is misspelled*.
Sometimes I let it go but other times I get so annoyed when the Starbucks baristas are in doubt on how to spell my name. Their hesitation and the number of question marks they get on their face just infuriates me. I want my coffee and I want it now.

I know people who have quite complex names and use really standard and common names to put on their cups. I guess it works for them but I can't keep going to the same Starbucks and forget that one name and use another one. They'd wonder if I have an identity crisis or a split personality.

Anyway, since then I have changed the spelling of my name to 'Sita' for Starbucks purposes. It causes no issues, but that is not how my name is spelled. And no, I am not the Indian goddess Sita.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

#TBT: My Presenting Experience At South Sudan Oyee Live.

July 13th 2013 was the day!

I presented the first South Sudan Oyee Live concert which was held in celebration of South Sudan's second independence. The event had some great sponsors including African money transfer company Dahabshiil and supported The JUBALINK charity and showcased charities such as Gua Africa.

That day was a wonderful and amazing day and I can truly say my life has changed ever since. As a kid, even the thought of standing in class in front of an audience was terrifying... but this was one of my first experiences in public. *Proud of myself*.

I was terrified, terrified. I was incredibly terrified when I got on stage, but as time went on, award-winning journalist Inigo Gilmore made things so much easier for me and my other cohost Moria Tibi.

Great cakes.
I still have that dress. It was custom made. Forever grateful.

This is a quick #TBT (Throw Back Thursday) post... my intention is to post something comprehensive on how to build your confidence for public speaking purposes etc...

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Procrastination is real.

So we are now three months into 2016 and I didn't make any update, summary or plans for 2016 on my blog.

I just don't know.

I used to kind of blog about my life, and then I blogged about thoughts and musings, and then I ended up writing a little bit about South Sudan. I'm not sure what direction this blog is heading into. And I'm not sure why I am mixing politics with my personal life.

I have to be really honest though. My blog began to take a different direction since I went to Africa - different direction as in, I stopped sharing so much about my personal life. I stopped writing about my thoughts. The reason why is because in the past few years I really began to value my privacy.

Since becoming more and more involved with my community, I've become sort of 'known.' It isn't bragging, just a highlight of facts. South Sudan is a small country. South Sudanese community worldwide all know one another thanks to social media and relentless gossip. I guess that's why I have just taken a backseat and not blogged on things I wanted to blog when I was first starting - travels, personal life etc.

I will still blog. And maybe less of the politics. I just posted them all here because I didn't really bother choosing a platform to write them on. I haven't published in my alternative blog in years ( I also don't know if I should revive that and write all the politics there and just keep this blog for thoughts, musings and some acceptable personal life things.

Anyway. I am occupied. Too occupied. But it's enjoyable. I'm excited for 2016 and beyond. I am now 24. Not so much a kid anymore, and not that much of an adult (I'm a young adult I suppose). Things have changed drastically between this time last year and now. But I am grateful for all those changes. Life is positive. I have the right people around me. I am motivated and pushed. I've always worked hard at everything I do and this time it's no different.

I have my moments, but I am certainly blessed.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Reconciliation is Indispensable: (Where South Sudan has failed)

Reconciliation is Indispensable: (Where South Sudan has failed)

South Sudan is currently perceived as a failed state. Truthfully, this sentiment is not far from the truth. South Sudan's government has already exacerbated a disgruntled, tired and suffering people who were sold the idea of justice, liberty and prosperity, but instead received a system of oligarchy, non-reflective of the SPLM's original Marxist ideology.

Our currently practiced ideals are unrepresentative of the ideology the liberation struggle fought for; the rich and poor divide is expansive and ever-growing, people are neglected basic human rights and necessities such as healthcare and education, infrastructure is almost non-existent outside of the capital city, the justice system is feeble and in many cases invalid, and security is poor due to an undisciplined, divided and neglected national army. 

With the current conflict a number of solutions have been followed through including the implementation of 28 new states. This solution has its proponents and opponents, but will truthfully enable people to control their areas without interference of those who are not native to it. Other solutions include the reabsorption of those who were disgruntled with the government (IO, FD etc.) These solutions are 'solutions' to the current crisis but they do not address the primary issues of South Sudan. It can be concluded that the government that implemented these changes glossed over the problems underneath the main layer, thereby ignoring the internal issues of South Sudan, and thus ignoring the root causes of the nation's problems.

Rebellions are primarily grievance-driven or at least rebel leaders will use grievance as a guise for rebellion. Rebellions in many cases can also be resource-driven as seen in the case of Sierra Leone and the diamonds. In the case of South Sudan, if one looks at the series of events in the last two years, and all of the available evidence, it can be interpreted that grievance was used as a tool to legitimise the unconstitutional overthrow of the current government and head of state. 

'Democratic reforms' has been the beat of the opposition parties' drums and their supporters danced along to the beat while singing that the current head of state is a dictator. Now most of them (the rebels) are back in Juba, rejoining the government they were so against. 

It's not a matter of praise, just a matter of acknowledgement, that Dr Machar did attempt reconciliation with the South Sudan Peace and Reconciliation Commission. But as with all of his ventures, the intentions behind his actions are impure. 

Regardless, the SSPRC was sadly and predictably disregarded by the SPLM, who may have viewed the liberation as enough accountability for the unjust some of the South Sudanese people have endured during the war. Back to the main point, Dr Machar's intentions with the National Reconciliation Commission was in actuality a political ploy (just like his crocodile tears during his apology for the Bor Massacre in 1991), to gain ground and popularity, and achieve success through the ballot box. 

Coupled with his history of disloyalty to the SPLM and the South Sudanese people in general, he's unreliable and untrustworthy. The saying, 'a leopard never changes its spots', is perfectly applicable to Dr Machar, particularly when you hold into account the current conflict and its deja vu slaughter of civilians in Bor Town. 

During the civil war, the SPLM and Khartoum have both committed considerable atrocities; either under military reasoning or tribalism. However, there has never been any actual admission, any tangible accountability and any consequential reconciliation. 

While Bashir of the Khartoum government has been indicted by the ICC for the atrocities in the Darfur Region, Bashir has never truly been held accountable for the genocide in South Sudan. Internal admission, accountability and reconciliation is primary, however, the same has to come from the neighbour, to at least guarantee there's no bad blood or a possibility of the neighbouring states (which truly have to depend on one another), going back to war (in many instances the possibility was high). Unfortunately, the SPLM-IO was able to upkeep their assault due to the support they were receiving from Khartoum. Khartoum has been working for years to destabilise the Central/East Africa region. Is it not odd that they are often consulted on South Sudan's internal conflict? Anyway one can conclude that holding Sudan accountable for what they have done to the South for many a decades is in itself a feat that will probably never see the light of day. 

Lastly, without admission and accountability, victims cannot forgive, therefore not let go of grudges pinning them to the pain and anger which came from their wretched treatment. Until then, reprisals will still occur with a series of widely acceptable justifications (i.e. an eye for an eye), tribalism will continue to flare up and in instances of power struggle, tribal discrepancies will be used by said personalities for their own personal ambitions (as seen in the current conflict). 

Any long-term solutions to South Sudan's current problems should consider problems from the bottom right to the top and should typically include the primary contenders; the civilians. While effort has been made by IGAD to include civilians as stakeholders in previous peace talks. Unfortunately again, civilians of South Sudan continue to have an opinion, yet not a voice; they continue to receive the short end of the stick. 

The elite are primarily to blame for the lack of reconciliation and the neglect of the civilians. The nation that was fought for is here, but the high level of entitlement has been damaging. 

There's also a level of arrogance, ignorance and inconsideration regarding the civilians, who have also participated in the libration struggle, offered themselves to the SPLA in their times of need and sacrificed their lives because they were unfortunate enough to remain.

It goes without saying that the most important group in the creation of the country and the maintenance of its stability and progression, continue to be the most neglected group, paying the heaviest price in the current conflict.

It remains to be seen what the current solution will bring to South Sudanese, but one thing is clear is that they have reunited to loot the people once again.