Tuesday, 13 September 2016

#BikoLives - A reflection of Prof Angela Davis' Lecture in memoriam of Bantu Steve Biko 2016

Bantu Steve Biko was killed on 12 September 2016 and 39 years later, we commemorate him. We also use this day to reflect on his writings and teachings. Ideologies that I believe deserve more than just a day to be interrogated in society. One of the reasons I resigned from my job (besides the purpose question) in 2011 was because I couldn't breathe anymore. I had just been introduced to the writings of Biko and it felt as if I had been living a lie all my life. It is amazing how many of us grow up and assimilate into whiteness without being conscious about it. That is how society has been set up. It did not make sense on how I was going to be liberated by being co-opted in the very system that sought to oppress me as a Black woman. 

  Yes, many years of oppression has complicated things and it seems impossible for blacks to create their own means of production. But I trult believe that we must start somewhere. We must reimagine a world where we are proudly black and support all things black in order to reinvent the economic wheel. We talk. We produce theories. We prove ourselves and and and... But we must also put our money where our mouths and theories are. This is why we fight each and every single day. It was not normal to Biko then and it is not normal for us today that "a minority should impose an entire system of values on an indigenous people". However we want to view the imposed system. Different name, same soul. Being co-opted for me almost feels like being part of Nusas, where there will always be a white majority fronting to be progressive at your requests. I personally am tired of being a subject of study and rescue. A subject that is not imagined upon to have their own thought patterns. I do criticize the narrative that excludes women and continually put men in the forefront. 

On 9 September 2016, University of South Africa in partnership with the Steve Biko foundation held a memorial lecture in honour of the memory of Bantu Steve Biko. Professor Angela Davis, political activist and scholar, delivered the 2016 lecture. For some of us, attending the lecture was an act of self care. For some, not so much. A Twitter acquaintance sent me a DM and said "looks like Ms Davis went on a feminist rant than honour the legend she was meant to honour". If one is well versed with the works of Davis, one would know why she took the angle that she took. She was also very clear from the onset, what was expected of her. 

On 12 September, as we honoured the memory of Biko, Aphelele Somi and I unpacked Davis' lecture. Click on link below for the conversation between Aphelele and I. 

She urged us to never stop dreaming for an imagined future where we will be free. I am personally tired but I heed to the call and continue dreaming. One day we will be free. 

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Toni Morrison on distraction

“The function, the very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and you spend twenty years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says you have no art, so you dredge that up. Somebody says you have no kingdoms, so you dredge that up. None of this is necessary. There will always be one more thing.” Toni Morrison
I have been meditating on these words lately. Finding myself slowly dipping into a dark hole which looks like depression and despair. One has to stop and figure out what has brought them to that point. Yes I get it, just by being black alone, is a cause for a constant nervous condition. As Bongani Madondo uttered at this year's #openbookfestival, South Africans at this juncture are really stuck in a state of anxiety. And so when we find ourselves here, how do we allow ourselves joy, peace and some laughter? On top of battling with the distractions that comes with racism. One is constantly trying to prove their blackness to their fellow blacks, or their wokeness as it were. We must understand that existing today comes with loads of contradictions. Contradictions because we have so much to unlearn.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

#MzansiBrewed: Supporting Local Art is Activism

I have said it once before and I am going to say it again. Art, in whichever form has a language that can penetrate deep into one’s soul. Whether you are spiritual or not, I am certain that we can agree that there is an emotive tug that a good piece of art invokes deep down within. The year 2016 finds South Africa at a crossroad in terms of Black voices rising and asserting themselves against different forms of oppression. It is a time where we can no longer deny the reality and pain that comes with Blackness.
Various forms of art therefore become very important as tools of liberation for an oppressed group. This explores the debate of “art for art sake” on the value for art. Although I am not in favour of putting the responsibility of how art is received and interpreted solely on the artist. I do believe that (black) artists have a big role to play in conveying a message to their audience. A very contentious statement, hence I chose my words carefully. It is not the artist's responsibility, but they do play a big role in the grand scheme of things. With #BlackPain being a reality, art in any form helps us go through each day with hope knowing that we will occupy what is rightfully ours (Can we stop being strangers on our own land please bbz*).
With the country currently going through much hardships and strain, there is no other place to retreat than in the safe arms of art. Because when our souls are crushed from the realities of black pain, we can but find expression in the form of art. Through the melodic rhythms, we express what we can't say in words. Through words, we allow our souls to speak. Through visuals, we come face to face with ourselves. Within our hollow chambers , our souls cry out, orchestrating the feelings we can’t quite comprehend. This black pain that torments us. The words, tunes and images that float is but a true mirror to our bleeding hearts. They explain fully what we feel. The thud and pulse we can’t quite put a finger on. ‪#‎Ubumnyama‬!
May we all make a conscious decision to support local at all cost. It not only builds confidence and consciousness, but it adds to the economy as well, making it possible for currency to go around black hands.
Let us continue supporting local. It is an act of activism!

@Leighratoh said it first 

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Decolonisation in the Context of #BlackLove

A friend and I recently mused over love in its broadest sense. Naturally, the conversation navigated towards unpacking the psyche that informs romantic #BlackLove. I might be too simplistic in describing the kind of love we spoke of as 'romantic' love. We then explored the different lenses in which we as a society and individuals view this romantic #BlackLove and how we can further imagine it. Background lenses. Societal lenses. Personal Experience lenses. It seems that there exists a particular construction about what #BlackLove represents. This may be the reason why so many people approach relationships with fear. We cannot be in denial about what colonialism and apartheid did to the Black family structure, making family relations extremely complex; which we see the debris flowing right into current day.

It's important that we understand why we see the things the way we do. What type of stories were we told regarding two bodies in a romantic relationship? What kind of norms were formed in how we behave towards each other in relating in accordance to love? How did these norms construct how we live out our romantic relationships on a daily basis. I want to think about what we can do to begin to deconstruct a toxic narrative about what romantic #BlackLove represents. 

We have to take deliberate actions in unlearning these ills that exist between two bodies. The ills that were constructed by an oppressive system. The ills that keep two bodies imprisoned and choked. Simply because they can't breathe. 

Please listen to the conversation between Aphelele Somi and I, on her #PowerFM987 #PowerLunch show, as we unpacked this topic.

Please have a listen here:

Let us use Love as a tool to deconstruct the system that was used against us.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Maybe marriage is not such a bad idea...

I attended a wedding on 12 March 2016 and it was all sorts of special. One of my highlights for the day was when Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke (he performed the Ceremony) declared the couple "Wife and Husband" and told the Wife to kiss her Husband. Many missed that bit but I think it was extremely important under Section 9 of the Constitution of South Africa. If you know our History as South Africans, you will know that for a long time, women were rendered second class citizens of South Afric...a. It was when the Bill of Rights was introduced that women were formally recognised as EQUAL citizens. Therefore Language and Words are so important as they carry much power.

As if that was not enough. When the Father of the Groom gave the vote of thanks, he drummed it into his son's head that : "she is not going to be your slave. She will not be at you beck and call. She is equal just like all of us are in the family". Comrades, Compatriots and Friends of the Opposition. I could share many special moments about the wedding but I will leave it here.

There are days when it's painful being a Black Body. And then there are days when you realise how much ‪#‎BlackLove‬ plays a role in our own assertions and liberation of our minds! You see - we have to squeeze out hope from every possible fruit.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

On getting my sheyyyyyt together in 2016...

I have received an overwhelming response regarding my post about 2016 (and beyond) being a year of #SelfCare and Flourishing in Peace. It seems like the general verdict is that many of us have been truly neglecting the self in the name of service. I hope that we will begin to be honest with ourselves about the real stuff we deal with in our lives. Positive self talk can only be effective if we are honest about ourselves.

This season of #SelfCare got me in some serious reflective mode. I am almost suffering from an identity crisis. I cannot fully explain it. I will blog about it in my next blog though. Maybe some revelations will launch but whatever is going on - feels weird, awkward yet exciting. This reflective mode has me thinking about goal-setting for 2016. I am not much of the new year resolution type. I am more connected to nature so I align my goal setting activities with the Seasons. So naturally, I synchronise my "new me" vibes with Spring. In the same breath, I must admit that "mob psychology" (a concept my mom taught me) tempts me. There is something jovial about the "new year - new me" brigade. So not to be a party pooper (the only time peer pressure gets me), I use this time to reflect mostly. I promised myself to focus on the following treats that promote #SelfCare in 2016 (and beyond).

In 2016 - I promise to...

Be Deliberate in #SelfCare Practices

I need to make the decision to actively engage in practices that promote #SelfCare. Many women are so busy taking care of others that they don't even know what it means to be taken care of. They cannot name their favourite fruit or even what they enjoy doing during their spare time (what spare time?). Top 5 favourite restaurants? yes? No?

I meditate - that is what I do. I create the atmosphere. Light some scented candles. Play some worship or jazz tunes and I get in the zone.
I don't do my nails - I would like to do some of that
I don't enjoy spas. Friends of mine took me out in December because I had been working super hard. I realised the reason I do not like spas is because I feel like it's a waste of time. I would like to do more spa expeditions.
I would like to be more present during my hair wash days, you know - stuff like that.

Attend all my Therapy Sessions

I have never honoured my therapy sessions because I felt that "I got this". I have been counselling folk from the tender age of 10. Surely I should be able to deal with any haunting mental illness right? I have a withdrawal, I make an appointment, I attend my first sitting and I never return. I feel like I know what the therapist is going to say before they think it. Actually, I think I have more experience than the therapist so I judge them. I never return because surely I can cure myself right? So I opt for the self-management route, which I fail in because I am so engrossed in saving the world that I allow myself to plunge deeper and deeper into an abyss of nothingness. And then after great strides, I have to set the clock back to zero - the clock of recovery.
So I spent time speaking to my therapist in December. Not a session, but a phone conversation. I told him I want to see someone else, and he agreed. My mentor suggested that someone else. I called that someone else and I know I made the right decision. I realise the older I get - the more roasted I become. It gets really difficult to deal with the debris left by my eating disorder and ADHD moment in and moment out. So I am doing this Bazalwane.

Travel More

I grew up as a nomad. We moved a lot during key development stages of my life (kinda explains my commitment issues right?). By the time we settled, it became difficult to adjust.
When the family settled, we travelled (holidaying) quite a bit. Warmbaths, Train escapades, Malawi, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Durban, Cape Town and and and... We stopped travelling when my Gololo dad shifted his attention to the church (PK grudge). Nonetheless, it was too late, a precedence was set from a young age. Travel = Adventure. After I matriculated in 2001, I did the whole travelling thing. I have been blessed to have explored different continents extensively. There is something about travelling that makes you appreciate your own soil. Something that expands and shifts your paradigm. I am forever grateful for those opportunities. I have also come to realise that many South Afrikans do not travel as much as they could (papers have been written on reasons why - another topic for another day). My corporate days also saw me travel quite a bit - but something about that took the fun out of travelling. I just stopped smelling the fresh air.
I love roadtrips and would like to return on the road (maybe by public transport, maybe finally buy that cruiser neh? - wow!). So I am going to do this. More roadtrips - in and out of our soil.

Attend more Live Gigs

I love live gigs. From Poetry Slams, to Jazz Joints, right to Theater. I am a sucker for a great atmosphere of soul musings. Art stirs me and reminds me how beautiful the soul is. This is mainly the reason I started the Mzansi Brewed  blog and page. Firstly to promote supporting black. Secondly to share my love for the arts. It is my safe space <3

Connect with more Black Women

I love women. My first organisation was geared for women. I love being around women. I have hosted many events with women and I am a witness to the truth that when women come together -magic happens. Something about the Feminine energy igniting on overload. I have neglected connecting with my sisters on a one on one basis that they have just allowed me to be. This year I will host more Lady Leader and Feminine Dinners (Moon musings). Letting go of clutter will definitely free up more time to do this.

Keep things Simple

I would like to be able to explain certain things to five year olds you know...

Read books I want to read 

One upside to my condition is that it allows me to be somewhat of a polymath. I want to know everything. From cars right up to strawberries. I get nervous if I am in a situation where I do not know. So I read about engines, I read about the economy, I read about fashion, :( - I also read so that I can critic effectively. No matter how horrible a book is - I read it. Zakes Mda offers Tips on How to write on @BooksLive and one of his tips: "Avoid reading thrash. It is infectious and will creep into your own writing. Read only writers whose work you admire."
Anything Zakes Mda tells you to do when it comes to reading - you do. KAPISH!

Write Write Write

I am a writer. But an impostor writer. I judge myself harshly and hide my work. But the words "Find your voice and use it - use your voice and find it" by Jayne Cortez keep me encouraged. I will stop being that wallflower in the literary world and finally bloom. I enjoy my writing and have decided that if anything, I want to write for me. After Prof Kgositsile spoke to me about my impostor syndrome. I decided to find my voice by writing a series of fiction short stories. I find it makes it easier to share my work. This exercise has also helped me realise the kind of books I want to write in the future.

Make a Billion Rands..

Well, it's clear that I will be getting my sheeeeyt together in 2016.



Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Is Falling in Love for me?

Ok, I must confess that my heading is a bit of a click bait since I won't really be discussing falling in love in that instance. But just to indulge you, I am more of a rising in love kinda person. I can even settle for walking in love. Better yet, how about we dance in love? Ok so what is the purpose of this blogpost? Let me get to it then.

I have never hidden my views when it comes to patriarchy and nuclear family structures. I'm always amused at how regardless of my standing, most men who pursue me are set in their misogynistic ways. Take Guy X for example. He has been pursuing me since 2012 and his misogynoir literally sends sharp pains to my womb. He criticises me at every chance he gets and goes on and on about what an angry Black woman I am (he's short on saying how ugly I am). One would say he despises me yet he claims to be madly in love and tells me how I'm the only woman who can fulfill the duty of his manhood. I'm sure this is just a case of "I've tamed the lioness therefore my manhood has been affirmed". I can't imagine what else this dissonance could be. Say we hook up? When will he enjoy me? I mean - will his life be about trying to tame me? #‎RollsEyes...

I'm a commitmentphobe and stay away from organised romantic relationships (by choice). But contrary to popular belief, I am actually a hopeless romantic. I am a contact and relational person in all my relationships (family, friends etc.). I am a healer and nurturer and have a big heart of forgiveness (nxxxxxx). I am fun and adventurous and hooking up with me will be an experience of a lifetime (👀). Although this does not render me an expert in relationship what what - I would like to offer an opinion under the Appendix of Free Speech in our Land.

When two folks are involved romantically. In my case - a man and a woman. I do wish we would stop defining the love in terms of gender roles. Gender roles almost translate to what the next person can do for you and how much you need them in your life to perform these roles. I would imagine rather, it being about who you are as an individual and just wanting to be with a certain individual because of who they are as well. Enjoying one another's company and making a decision to journey together to an agreed destination.
One day I was changing my tyre on the side of the road when a man stopped to help me. I told him i was almost done and in shock he reacted "women want to be men these days. I truly wonder what my role is in your life as it seems like you don't need me"
I guess that's the problem right there.
Roles make us want to be needed. The role creates a certain level of control. This can translate into abuse if one does not fulfill their "role". So you feel you are the breadwinner in the house because you are a man and that's your role. The day your means to bring in the bread gets cut off, how do you continue fulfilling this role? Abuse becomes inevitable in this case due to the insecurities of not being able to fulfill your role.

"Hey hon, today I feel like cooking. But yesterday I didn't. Wanna help me?"
"Why not. Tomorrow I feel like making steak for my baby."
"Ncooooo my darling"


"I work all day and I come home and all I want is my woman to welcome me with sweet aromas of a home cooked meal"
"I work too - in fact, I just got here 5 min ago"
"Women of today. Don't be surprised when someone comes and cooks for me. Clearly you have forgotten your role in this house"

This head and neck analogy screws us over big time you know. Why can't we just be us - we figure out how to exist together and just do us.

Oh and bbz - before I finish. This notion of a man being a babysitter to his children must stop. You will find him at the mall with three of HIS kids and people around will be like:

"Ncaaaaw look at him, he's such a great father. How does he do it? How does he manage to look after all three of his kids at the same time"

Him:" I just thought I'd give the mother of my kids a break today you know. She works hard. I'm on babysitting duty today"

Come on... Plz (Zuma eye roll)

Giving her a break? No one gave the other a break during the merging of the sperm to the egg right? 👀
Basically - this role thing is so dodge though.

So do we relate like fire? Are we sapiosexuals? Would you read to me ‪#‎ReadToBae? Do our ideals, politics, spirituality dot dot dot align? Are you about economic, social, political, mental freedom? Do you accept my darkness as much as you love my light? Are you about ‪#‎Blackness? Like can you handle this lioness (and importantly can you handle V-Empress)? Ok cool - then I'm in