From Africa with Love

Article published by Focus on Scugog Magazine

Article published by Focus on Scugog Magazine

This week, Focus on Sucog, my local community magazine, published From Africa with Love to promote my memoir, An Immoral Proposal. Please enjoy reading the article by clicking on the following links.

Seasonal Affective Disorder Interfering with Productivity

Edited Hat Profile-001Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is more than just the “winter blues” for me. I find it almost debilitating. I can definitely check the list of symptoms: difficulty concentrating, tendency to oversleep, irritability, feelings of anxiety and despair. Grey, dull, sunless days just about kill me. Hence the absence of my blog posts.

In terms of research about SAD, studies are ongoing in Canada and the United States as to the causes of SAD. No specific causes have been discovered. However, according to an article on the Mayo Clinic website there are various components to consider “as with many mental health conditions, that genetics, age and, perhaps most importantly, your body’s natural chemical makeup all play a role in developing the condition.” The article gives the following as possible reasons:

•Biological clock (circadian rhythm). The reduced level of sunlight in fall and winter may disrupt your body’s internal clock, which lets you know when you should sleep or be awake. This disruption of your circadian rhythm may lead to feelings of depression.

•Serotonin levels. A drop in serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that affects mood, might play a role in seasonal affective disorder. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin that may trigger depression.

•Melatonin levels. The change in season can disrupt the balance of the natural hormone melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood.

I have ideas for blog topics, but am struggling to find my mojo to put them together. Besides which, I’ve been dickering around with some technical web stuff that drove me to distraction and added despair. I finally employed the services of someone who knows what they’re doing.

Sorry for this pitiful post, but my creativity presently is covered under the thick blanket of ice and snow shrouding the Canadian tundra. A sure-fire cure for this malady is to snow-bird it down to the sunny south which I’m doing in two week’s time. I think I’ll definitely find my mojo there! I’ll have some exciting blogs to share.

Jennifer interviewed on Context with Lorna Dueck

TV interviewer, Lorna Dueck talks to Jennifer and Michael about Jennifer’s memoir, An Immoral Proposal recounting their clandestine illegal relationship under apartheid.

The interview in segment three follows on the a discussion about Mandela and the Truth and Reconciliation commission of South Africa.

Mandela: Hatred vs. Forgiveness

Last week I saw the movie Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. While it was primarily Nelson Mandela’s story, his former wife, Winnie Madikizela Mandela was of course a key player. I admired her strength as a young woman incessantly harassed and detained by apartheid’s brutal police during her husband’s incarceration.

Subjected to frequent arrests under suspicion of terrorism, coupled with torture, in 1969, the apartheid government placed Winnie in solitary confinement charged under the Suppression of Communism Act. Eighteen months later, the twentysomething-year-old mother of two emerged a victor, ever more determined to fight apartheid.

What fuelled her resolve, she declared, was her hatred for the whites, an emotion with which her husband had learned to come to terms. The overarching theme of the film was forgiveness vs hatred and revenge. Mr. Mandela chose the former while his wife went for the latter. Winnie, by the 1980s, a controversial militant activist, had gained large popularity and power from her supporters and her name was closely linked to the Mandela United Football Club (MUFC) whose members purportedly became her bodyguards. The MUFC reportedly unleashed a “reign of terror” in Soweto on those who didn’t toe Mrs. Mandela’s line.  N Mandela quote

Around the mid-80s, I remember watching with horror coverage on television of a youth “necklaced” in South Africa – a car tire forced around his neck doused with gasoline and set on fire, burning him alive. This became Winnie’s modus operandi, for in 1986, in a speech in Munsieville, Gauteng, she endorsed the practice of “necklacing.” “With our boxes of matches and our necklaces,” she declared, “we shall liberate this country.” By the early 90s, even after Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, black on black violence had reached alarming proportions. Winnie’s hatred was out of control.

Nelson Mandela, miraculously, was able to assuage the masses by his non-violence preaching and urging them instead to direct that energy to the ballot box. The world witnessed on international television that incredible day, 27 April 1994, South Africans of all colours turn out en masse forming lines that snaked for miles all across the nation to vote peacefully for the African National Congress with Nelson Mandela as their president.

Mr. Mandela’s axiom is timeless and universal: “No one is born hating another person because the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart that it’s opposite.”

Happy New Year

Glassy branchesHappy New Year everyone. I haven’t posted for a while due to brain freeze! As you can see from the above image, this is my poor willow tree frozen into glass. That ice storm two days before Christmas really put the kibosh on the holidays here in and around the Toronto area as well as the Maritimes and parts of the United States, namely Michigan. Thousands of homes were without power for over a week including Christmas day.  Fortunately, for me and my dearly beloved, we didn’t lose power and I was very happy to be warm.

Last week I went to see Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.  I will post my thoughts about the movie in my next blog which will be really soon. Look out for it.