Category Archives: Forgiveness

16. Rejecting The Patriarchy With Vanessa Osage

Vanessa Osage is a journeywoman. On a voyage of remediation to mend a loophole in the schooling system. One that has concealed the historic sexual exploitation of children. And a governance model – that unfortunately – still fails to adequately protect and serve our most treasured assets. Our children.

Vanessa is a sexuality educator, president of the Amends Project and founder of the Justice CORPS. 

As a sexuality educator, she operates on the fringes of sexual health. Her personal mandate is to pull this conversation out of the perimeter and into the mainstream. She does so by honouring this topic with the honesty and reverence it really deserves.

Her work has drawn criticism. Vanessa, however, is no stranger to critique.

As a child, Vanessa was condemned by her school leadership team for speaking up about an incident of sexual overreach that occurred on school grounds.

Vanessa was in attendance at a prestigious private boarding school in Massachusetts – New England. The perpetrator was the school groundskeeper. When she approached the school leadership team for support and guidance. She was muted. Her story invalidated. Her funding revoked.

The groundskeeper stayed in role until Vanessa returned as an adult. She insisted on speaking at a school graduation event. She hit the podium and valorously delivered a speech that uncloaked the entire cover up.

The aftermath. The resignation of the headmaster. The instigation of a restorative justice programme. Surely the beginning of a journey into remediation? 

Not exactly.

However this journeywoman was not to be deterred.

This conversation explores Vanessa’s story through the lens of a failing patriarchal system of governance and self protection. We delve deep into the social and fragile construct of masculinity. And remind ourselves of why the systematic and – what can feel like – innocent humiliation of boys is the source of these offences. 

We discuss why boys should be taught to embrace and nurture both masculine and feminine energies. And to deny men the benefits of emotional intelligence is a disservice to men as much as those who are harmed by men. Our societal norm however has delegated emotional responsibility to women.

Men by far are the perpetrators and concealers in each and every one of these stories. Traditional masculine values – ones that seem revocable – are now starting to harm us.

This is a conversation – not of sexual abuse, but betrayal. In her own words, Vanessa reminds us that the undertone was sexual, but the overtone was an abuse of power.

We need more conversations that support what it means to be a sexual being, at the time when sexual maturity is happening. And boys should be taught to respect and honour that right.

Vanessa is the embodiment of her story. A seeker. And a journeywoman who in the face of adversity ran towards the sunrise. She journeyed from coast-to-coast with the barebones of an automobile, a few clothes and some basic rations. This revealed to her an America, honest people and an opportunity to heal.

On her travels. Those painfully seasoned eyes were able to see the real gritty honest heart of America. It revealed its tragedy, its triumph and its kindness. Vanessa’s words. Not mine.

This conversation will echo in its eternity based on those three words alone. Tragedy. Triumph and Kindness. For me, that is Vanessa Osage.

Warning: This episode contains explicit language and a topic of discussion that some may find distressing.

RESOURCES

Vanessa Osage: Website | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter | Bookography
Book: Can’t Stop the Sunrise: Adventures in Healing, Confronting Corruption & the Journey to Institutional Reform
The Amends Project: Justice CORPS Initiative
The Amends Project: Support the Movement
Thrive Global: Vanessa Osage: “Be authentic and imperfect”
Knkx: Boston Globe’s Investigation Into Widespread Sex Abuse In New England Private Schools
Boston Globe: Private schools, painful secrets
Michigan Daily: In defence of the female gamer
CBS News: 11 former New Hampshire prep school staffers accused of abuse
BBC News Feature: The boarding school ‘monster’ who always walked free
The Needle Blog: Brookside School, nr Ludlow, Shropshire
White Collar Week Podcast: Ep. 17: #TruthHeals: Systemic Abuse & Institutional Reform with Vanessa Osage, feat. Guest Co-Host Chloe Coppola

RELATED EPISODES

Episode #10: Correcting Reality with Craig Stanland
Episode #15: The Invalidation of Experience with Candice Mama

SUPPORT THE PODCAST

The best way to support the podcast is to share this episode and have this conversation.

I also have an affiliate programme with organisations that I either work closely with or I’m aligned to their mission. For a complete list of my partners, affiliates and even any discount codes, please visit my partners page at bobbyjagdev.com/partners

CHECK IN WITH BOBBY

Visit me at: bobbyjagdev.com

Follow me on social media: LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

JOIN MY MAILING LIST

Sign up to my mailing list and receive detailed show notes, the latest episodes and new articles direct to your inbox.

FEEDBACK AND FOLLOW

Thanks so much for listening! If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and rate and review on your favourite podcasting platform.

15. The Invalidation of Experience with Candice Mama

Candice Mama knows how to make an entrance. 

A humanitarian. An author. And an ambassador for post-conflict reconciliation.

Featured in Vogue Magazine and recognised by the African Union as one of the top inspiring women of our present. And a former face of Mac Cosmetics South Africa.

Candice’s personal story of forgiveness and transformation has become a beacon in supporting post-conflict societies. Her story was featured as one of the 75 stories for the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations.

The first guest on her podcast – Coffee with Candice – was the Granddaughter of the late Nelson Mandela. 

Now that is indeed how you make an entrance…

Reconciliation is a theme that resonates with many black and white South Africans. Candice’s association with the emotional impact of Apartheid had proximity to a significant and traumatic event. 

Candice’s father; Glenack Masilo Mama, was a political activist. A revolutionary who was assassinated by the infamous Eugene De Kock. Eugene led the paramilitary hit squad known as The Vlakpaas

Eugene orchestrated and executed the systematic termination of political activists with a brutal and undignified virulence.

The aftermath of not only losing her father but coming to terms with how her father was murdered directed Candice into a depressive cycle. The mental loops constructed by resentment, anger and loss had a consequential mental and physical impact. One that she has now overcome by sharing her story.

This is a conversation about the invalidation of experience and a window into the life of South Africa’s post-apartheid generation. It also highlights the impact on an individual whose paternal bond was mercilessly disrupted. When forces of political oppression have inaccurately narrated a history this can induce a form of racial and social gaslighting. School texts today still represent an alternate history. One that didn’t happen.

Candice reminds us; the further you are removed from an incident, the more diluted it becomes. That the system of Apartheid wasn’t designed for black people to win. It was designed for them to fail. However both ‘black and white’ are victims of the socioeconomic impact of oppression and indoctrination.

Vengeance – as an output of war – destroys the inner sanctum of our soul. When we embrace the ability to forgive those for the pain and trauma they have inflicted. We unlock ourselves from what can be a devastating mental incarceration. 

In 2019 Candice published her version of her story in Forgiveness Refined. An immersive memoir of her childhood experiences that culminate at the moment she met and hugged her fathers’ assassin. A hug being the most visceral of human connections. Such an embrace is an awe-inspiring symbol of forgiveness. 

A modality of forgiveness that Candice has truly redefined.

Candice chose the narrative under which she documented her history. And reminds us that we all encompass the ability to change our story. 

Such a joy to welcome a new friend to the podcast. One whose energy for life, love and appreciation embodies a gravitating force. One you will find difficult to break away from.

Warning: This episode contains explicit language and themes that some listeners may find distressing.

RESOURCES

Candice Mama: Website | Instagram | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bookography
Book: Forgiveness Redefined
BBC News: I hugged the man who murdered my father
BBC News Archive: Apartheid in South Africa
Book: Heart of Darkness
News24: I used to love Steve Hofmeyr then I found out he was a racist
BBC News: Julius Malema
The Guardian: The odd couple: Why an Apartheid activist joined forces with a murderer
Podcast: Coffee with Candice
Podcast Episode: Ndileka Mandela: More Than The Legacy of Nelson Mandel‪a

RELATED EPISODES

Episode #10: Correcting Reality with Craig Stanlan‪d‬
Episode #14: On Writing, Friendship and The Mangrove with Farrukh Dhond‪y‬

SUPPORT THE PODCAST

The best way to support the podcast is to share this episode and have this conversation.

I also have an affiliate programme with organisations that I either work closely with or I’m aligned to their mission. For a complete list of my partners, affiliates and even any discount codes, please visit my partners page at bobbyjagdev.com/partners

CHECK IN WITH BOBBY

Visit me at: bobbyjagdev.com

Follow me on social media: LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

JOIN MY MAILING LIST

Sign up to my mailing list and receive detailed show notes, the latest episodes and new articles direct to your inbox.

FEEDBACK AND FOLLOW

Thanks so much for listening! If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and rate and review on your favourite podcasting platform.