Dove’s #Truebeauty

Or everything I don’t like about the way Dove and, by extension its parent company Unilever, approaches people.

On a related note: Has anyone compared Dove with its sister (or should that be brother) brand Axe? I mean specifically the way Unilever marketers drastically change how they interpellate* and portray men and women as they switch brand hats.

You can’t fool everyone all the time.

*Interpellation is how you hail a person, and how that address changes how they read your message (more on Wikipedia). Read more about how words alter meaning for better or worse in Hlanganyela vs ?

Hlanganyela vs ?


Word choice makes a huge difference. Even when words look like synonyms on the surface, they can have distinct connotations. I hadn’t consciously thought about that much with my home language, isiZulu, but White Zulu looks at that in his eponymous blog, specifically focusing on the majority party’s campaign slogan for #Elections2014 in South Africa. I won’t go into hyperbole and say this post has changed my life, but I’ll definitely say I’m going to be more conscious of my word choice going forward.

Originally posted on White Zulu:

Discourse analysis is about asking two questions about word choice (diction) and sentence structure – “why?” and “why not?”.

For example:

“WHY did the ANC choose to use the word hlanganyela on their isiZulu election posters?”


“WHY did the ANC choose NOT to use other words for togetherness on their isiZulu election posters?”

The same question can be applied to a comparison of the ANC’s posters and those of the DA, where similar choices have been made.


We’ve all seen them. They have appeared in all 11 of our official languages (as well as in Portuguese, Italian, Cantonese and Greek), blossoming with the last heavy rains of summer on lampposts and at intersections, 20 metres tall in blazing lights or the size of a postcard in newspapers. They grow every day. Almost all have a face, though some show the proof of the promises (roads, houses, smiling well-fed…

View original 1,003 more words


Behind the mic on the stand

And you’re telling a story -

History wiped clean

Lean in and cradle your ego

Go on tell them you didn’t know

Oh maybe they will listen

Glistening schadenfreude on the brows

How did we ever get here?


Whatever you want to hear

Tears are your curse

Worse men have done better

Yet better men have done worse

The illusion of independence III – What is independence and did I ever have it?

The illusion of indepence III - What is independence and did I ever have it?

I took this picture a few weeks ago. There’s a lot going on in the pic but basically it’s a few of us helping a mutual friend celebrate her birthday. The camera is not a professional item and the cameraman more so. I only knew 5 people out of 15 that were there. But that day I saw my friend pull together some of us to celebrate a special occasion.

A sometimes difficult question

But what is independence, really? Have I lost it? How hard those questions are to answer depends where you’re coming from. In those moments where I’m honest with myself, the answer has always been that I’ve needed someone to help me be.

Over at, the definition of independence is

freedom from the controlinfluence, support, aid, or the like, of others.

A baby is born into the care of its parents who both support and influence. As the child grows into a teen and then a young adult, he or she begins making more decisions but firmly in the context of the support and boundaries given by parents, friends, colleagues and leaders. Friends come into the picture. A husband or wife and possibly children. Then it’s over. When then is a person completely independent?

The army I march with when I’m against the world

Monde, Kuda, Ntombi, Yaz, Bless, Larry. That’s a handful but I can rattle off the names in my current support structure from memory. There are some I go to when I’m down, a few who advise me when I’m feeling pressure at work, some who I reminisce with when I’m homesick and some who I give a call to just share my happiness. What I’m increasingly finding is that even though having someone to share with may not change the facts of life, it makes those facts more bearable, even more pleasant, as I said in My slice of pie.

And I am just a sample of one, but everyone I know has people in their lives that they go to so I assume it’s that way for everyone. Where they don’t, it shows in how stressed they are. I wonder then if I’ve ever had this independence I’ve been fighting to keep.