Thinking about everything

My name is Tiisetso. This is my blog. I'll fill it with personal thoughts and views, quotes that I love, and content from all over web that piques my interest. I'll also post photographs that I've taken from time to time.

That's weird

  • At Cape Town international airport, British airways baggage checkin.
  • Sibongile (check in lady): Good morning.
  • Me: Hi. <hands over air ticket.>
  • Sibongile: ID or licence please.
  • Me: <hands over driver's licence>
  • Sibongile: What is your first name?
  • Me: Tiisetso. <busy loading check in bag>
  • Sibongile: <typing with confused face> That's weird.
  • Me: What's weird?
  • Sibongile: Thats an unusual name.
  • Me: My mother is Shagaan and likes Sotho names. <smiling>
  • Sibongile: Oh, do you know what it means?
  • Me: It means patience. <big smile>
  • Sibongile: <smiles>
  • <<usual conversation about sharp and valuable objects and whether I packed my own bag.> >
  • Sibongile: Enjoy your flight <smiles>
  • Me: Thank you, enjoy your day <smiles>

Blessing my name.

  • Going through pre-op admin procedures before I have my wisdoms taken out. A nurse comes into to record my medical history.
  • Nurse: Tiisetso.
  • Me: Yes.
  • Nurse: <looks up from page> Why do you have that name?
  • Me: <gesture toward my mother who is in the room> She gave it to me.
  • Nurse: Do you know what it means?
  • Me: Patience (I get asked all the time)
  • Nurse: Blessing my name.
  • Me: Sorry? Oh, I thought...<smiles>
  • Blessing: <starts asking questions>
  • A lady walks into the rooms carrying stuff.
  • Me: Hi?
  • Lady: <hands over chocolate and card for Mandela day> Get well soon.
  • Me: (wow, too bad I can't eat before the op). Thank you, and have good day.
  • Lady bearing gifts leaves.
  • Blessing: It's nice to be here on Mandela day.
  • Me: (To Blessing, in reference to a group schoolchildren I saw earlier bringing cupcakes into the hospital) Did you have some cupcakes from the kids?
  • Blessing: Yes, I had some cups of cake. But I wish I was in Pretoria. There I could've taken six Smirnoff and had them in the night. They are having a party there for sure.
  • My mum and I: <momentary shock then laughter>
  • My mum: But what if you have to turn the machines off?
  • Blessing: You know he spent 27 years in prison, maybe he will surprise us and spend 27 years in hospital.
  • My mum and I: <raucous laughter>

This is a new South Africa

  • Puma social club check in guy: Phone number please
  • Me: Let's use my surname, it's shorter.
  • Puma: cool.
  • Me: "M-u-r-r-a-y" They'll be a lot of us so be to ready to go to page two.
  • <click to page Two>
  • There I am, last on the list.
  • Puma: Tiisetso? Wow. Haha, this is a new South Africa.
  • Me: It is! :-D
  • Puma: How did you get a name like that?
  • Me: I'm half Shangaan but my mother loves Sotho names.
  • Puma: Haha, that's really cool. enjoy your night.
  • Me: Thanks :-)

He that hath once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged.

—A maxim quoted by B. Franklin.

…The one thing I’ve learned is that you can’t think your way through life. The only way to figure out what to do is to do—something.

—"Helen" from Meg Jay’s the Defining decade.

We're the same

  • Upon scanning my student card to take a book, my name appears on the computer.
  • Librarian: *double take*
  • Me: *smiles*
  • Librarian: uright?^
  • Me: Um, I don't really speak…
  • Librarian: Oh, I just saw your name and that's why I'm speaking like this. How did you get this name?
  • Me: My mother gave it to me. She's black and my father is white.
  • Librarian: Ah, we're the same.
  • Me: *very puzzled face* Really? I would've said you're far too dark. What is your name?
  • Librarian: Stan. I have a white first name and black surname.
  • Me: Ah, I see. We are the same, just reversed.
  • Stan: I don't know why I was given such a name.
  • Me: Don't worry, me neither. My mother is actually Shangaan.
  • Stan: So you can speak?
  • Me: No, just English.
  • Stan: Can you at least say hello?
  • Me: Avuxeni. Haha, well I know a few words.
  • Stan: You should learn more. You know so you can speak to pretty Shangaan girls.
  • Me: Absolutely! And I would love to learn some Sotho as well so I am respond in conversations about my name.
  • Stan: We should swap surnames *smiles*
  • Me: Sure, haha, then I would really confuse people. Do you have a middle name?
  • Stan: Yes, it is Sotho but nobody uses it so it. *looks at screen* And these middle letters, "T-T-D"
  • Me: Tiisetso Takatso Daniel. All in all, two from my mother and two from my father.
  • *library phone starts to ring*
  • Me: I should go. It was great to me you Stan. Enjoy your day.
  • Stan: You too. *smiles and nods good bye and answers the phone*
  • Me: bye bye.
  • ^This is my best attempt at phonetically spelling what he said to me. The first response my brain actually offered up was "shap and igrand" but perhaps I've watched too much iziskhotane videos.

So you speak all languages?

  • Wits Gate Security Guard: Good morning.
  • Me: Good morning, how are you?
  • Guard: Good and you?
  • Me: Great thanks. *edges car forward*
  • Guard: Eh, what year are you in?
  • Me: Ah, it's my fifth year.
  • Guard: Masters?
  • Me: No no, a higher diploma. I finished my degree last year.
  • Guard: Well done. *pause* What's your name?
  • Me: Tiisetso *said in best possible accent, followed with a smile*
  • Guard: Tiisetso? *Pleasantly surprised face*
  • Me: My mother gave me the name. She's black. My father's white.
  • Guard: Ah ok, so you speak all the languages?
  • Me: Haha no, just English for now.
  • Guard: What is your English name?
  • Me: *slightly confused* Ah, Daniel^. And your name?
  • Guard: Isaac.
  • Me: Nice to meet to you Isaac *looks at boom worryingly*
  • Guard: You too.
  • Me: Enjoy your day
  • Guard: *smiles*
  • ^ Interesting, I don't recall ever being asked for my "English name". I don't think of "Daniel" as my English name and likewise I don't think of "Tiisetso" as my Shangaan name (It is actually a Sotho/Tswana name and my Shangaan-all-eleven-languages-speaking mother just happens to like Sotho and Russian names but my Irish-descended-English-only-speaking father wouldn't stand for Boris or Yvgeny when I was being named). They're just my names and strictly speaking "Daniel" is Hebrew and my father chose it from the bible story.

Your hands can’t hit what your eyes can’t see, float like a butterfly sting like a bee, rumble young man rumble.

—Muhammad Ali

Light brown = Coloured?

  • Cashier: Are you coloured?
  • Me: No.
  • Cashier: -puzzled stare-
  • Me: I'm mixed race. My father's white and my mother's black.
  • Cashier: Where is your mother from?
  • Me: Limpopo. Tzaneen.
  • Cashier: -weak smile-
  • Me: Why do you ask?
  • Cashier: -pause- You don't look...
  • Me: Like I'm from here? Don't worry I get asked by people all the time. I like it when they do.
  • Cashier: -partially satisfied grin-
  • Me: Enjoy the rest of your day.
  • I'm going to start blogging these conversations. I've been doing a rough count and this is the 11th or 12th time someone has engaged me in a conversation about my race this year. This time, unusually so, a man initiated the conversation.
  • I like being asked. I like to show people that race isn't simply black or white. I like to challenge their perception of the world and her people but also to reward their boldness and for giving in to their curiosity. Sometimes I preempt their questions with an elaborate all answering first response and other times I deliberately dance around the answers they seek. I'm always friendly and I like to think that people leave such conversations with me a little more accepting, a little more open minded and a little more unrestrained by their race related limitations.

To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.

—Leonard Bernstein (American conductor, composer and pianist)

Falcon 9 launched this morning. Friday it is due to dock with the ISS. First Tesla and now this. He wants to put a man on Mars. I don’t have the words to describe Elon Musk. This clip, by what is said and left unsaid, does the job.

Oh and just so you know. And I say this to Africans and, in particular, my fellow countrymen. Musk is South African, born and raised.

Hearing about someone like Musk, reading about what he is doing, and perhaps most importantly understanding why he does it all. It just makes me think that we waste our collective time doing and worrying about a lot of silly things. Why in this day and age do we still have illiterate people? Why are we still fighting about differences regarding race and personal beliefs? Why are education and healthcare still problems in my society? In recent news, a major public hospital shut down all surgeries for a day because they didn’t have enough clean linen and school children haven’t received textbooks in a province they are desperately needed. We’re shooting ourselves in the foot repeatedly, slowing our progress and hampering our futures in the progress…

Jonathan Harris: Cowbird And Humanizing The Web

This is an incredible introspection on the nature of the web. He wants the world to be a more beautiful place by really making it more human.

He has some rather interesting ideas about trends on the internet. I’ve kind of subconsciously been acting on two of his counter trends about curation and self promotion. I try to consciously create and reflect more than I curate or self promote. I hardly reblog and the whole point of this blog from my perspective is about reflection. There are bigger personal posts waiting in my drafts box and I think I will act on one or two them soon, if not only to make the web more human. 

The video is another long one but you should watch it. Not because it will inspire you but because the message that Harris brings needs your help and understanding, and it will make you more aware of the digital world we live in. It also in some ways connects to what my most recent link to the Sinek talk is about. Paradigm shifts about the way we go about our lives and in particular how we remember and share our experiences. 

I came fifth out of 100 or so photographers with this photograph. The competition was held by the Transformation office at Wits university with the theme of capturing transformation on campus. I titled the photograph, We&#8217;ve come a long way. I was awarded a decent amount of prize money but the real award was having my photograph chosen.

I came fifth out of 100 or so photographers with this photograph. The competition was held by the Transformation office at Wits university with the theme of capturing transformation on campus. I titled the photograph, We’ve come a long way. I was awarded a decent amount of prize money but the real award was having my photograph chosen.