About Rock Bottom

About Rock Bottom

 

People have a tendency to throw it in your face when you show them vulnerability. I write this blog and I am scared of what you will think of me, how you will see me and some of the harsh things you may say. However I also write this with the hope that I may inspire someone who is facing their Rock Bottom.

 

The past couple of years have been EXTREMELY difficult for me. Life stripped me naked and had me crawling for mercy. I think it all began when I got raped around 2011.

I didn’t tell anybody, my best friend says that I said something in passing but then avoided the topic.

 

 

I believe that is when the depression began. I tried to use my art and music to distract myself and pretended nothing happened. I have a memory of my older sister saying to me she thinks I am going through a depression. I got defensive despite the fact that I was crying everyday and couldn’t get out of bed. On the surface, my twitter account, I was still FIRE (Because that’s what depressed people do…deflect.) In real life I was losing my ability to manifest, gigs were drying up and the media was on an active smear campaign with my name. They made everybody hate me. You may argue that my tweets made everybody hate me- but I would hate to believe that South Africans are so dark that they are attracted to my twitter account for the evil spewed there. I am a poet. In isiXhosa I am called imbhongikazi yomthonyama which means I have a spiritual gift with words that don’t take side. I have words that hit the spirit and make people question themselves. A lot of the time, people are not ready to hear what I am saying and yet five years later my writings come up in trending topics on social media. I have never had to apologise for anything I have said because I stand by my truth relentlessly. I do apologise whenever the need arises but that is usually due to my temperamental nature with my tweeps, not because of the subjects I am raising. To be honest, I hate people who make me feel bad about my twitter account because it has created multiple unspoken mental and spiritual shifts in our society…at times globally. The power of my twitter account is not my doing. It has blessed me and it has cursed me, which is how I know that I’m on the right path.

I started to internalise all the hate. It was not only to you who the media made me unlovable to…the media made me unlovable to myself to. And so the depression festered inside the silence of the four walls of my bedroom. Life is a journey where you have to connect the dots. I was invited to perform at Poetry Afrika when I was thoroughly bleeding in 2014. No money, just sadness. The universe always brings balance. I met a lovely man at poetry afrika who was a great guy to date when you’re going through the most. (A story for another day)

At poetry afrika is where I found out I could do my Masters in writing at Rhodes and I was just in time to meet the deadline. JUST IN TIME.

I didn’t have a cent to my name when I got accepted to Rhodes, I was banking on a scholarship I applied for. Had I not won that scholarship, I wouldn’t have that degree today. The universe conspired.

I sold EVERYTHING I owned to save up money for my move to Grahamstown. A lot of my best relationships were in tatters. This is around the Stoan ‘incident’ on twitter. I was enough is enough with everything and in the still of the night I took the remainder of my life’s possessions and drove to the Eastern Cape. I put everything in my car, it was packed to full capacity I could barely see through the rear view mirror. I had decided that I was actually moving to the Eastern Cape and after Rhodes I would build my career from that side.

A year later the Eastern Cape heartlessly kicked me out. I couldn’t find a hustle that side. I was devastated and in denial and it was really with my last 400 that I had to put petrol in my car and go back home. There was an angel/stranger who stepped in for the remainder of the petrol money. Lol I tell you, the universe is always prepared for your mess. Yes a stranger paid for me to get back home. Back home to questions zabo ‘so what are you gonna do with your life?’

I stayed in Dube with my grandmother in 2016 mentally exhausted and drained and depressed about a dead end career. In hindsight, some magical things happened in that year and I grew a beautiful veggie garden…while wondering ‘What’s wrong with my life?’ What I know now is that the Universe was just giving me time and space to rest. For the first time since I was 21 I was home, and I was spoilt. There was always a plate waiting for me. I didn’t have to struggle for anything. My grandmother expected nothing from me, instead in the first month she helped me with my car instalment. Imagine. My laundry was done for me. I can honestly say that even at Rock Bottom, there are some cushy areas.

Early 2017 I was unpleasantly pushed out the nest again…but in that desperation I found a beautiful backroom in Mofolo. Imagine my lucky stars, I had no money and I found the private school of backrooms. It was fully furnished with a big Jacuzzi bath with glass ceiling. The walls were bright colours and I had a beautiful peace garden. My landlady who later turned out to be my everything was a former exile with long dredlocs and a love for nature. She is very bubbly and loves Africa. Basically, what I will probably be like at 60. That woman breathed new life into me. She gave me talks and loads of love. She would send me the most inappropriate whatsapp (still does) showing me crazy meme where I have to reprimand her and remind her she is my mom. She is very carefree…just like me.

Funny that was my rockiest bottom, living in a backroom and having to wash my dishes in a Ndish. I love Soweto with all my heart but all I could hear around me was ‘uwile.’ Something I didn’t want to hear. Pain always makes me work harder, I put all my efforts into the album The Masterpiece and in commercial terms it was a complete and utmost failure. In spiritual terms however, it united women in music in the various townships I took the tour to. It inspired young female musicians and I see them going from strength to strength in their careers. I am proud of that.

But about money in the bank, wow, all it did was drain me. So 2017 there I was with a flop of an album to contribute to my falling self esteem.

And then the global citizen backlash…wow. Can I admit that I don’t think you have ever hurt me like that on twitter in my entire social media trail. You were so vicious. I think what hurt the most was your dedication to misunderstanding me while pinning peoples pain on me. wow. Wow. Wow. And my privileged family members who went In on me. wow. All I was trying to say is that it is inappropriate to show off in front of people you have excluded. It is an action that has a reaction. Oh wow….actually I am still traumatised hey. You almost broke me. I even wrote a song on my guitar

 

“With so many people coming at me

I just don’t know who to trust anymore.

Can you hear me out there?

Can you hear me out there?

I need your intervention

I can’t take it anymore”

 

The universe intervened a month later when Moja Love called me and offered me my dream job as a talk show host…they said it was because of what I was doing with my twitter account with social issues. And I was vindicated. The same platform which has caused so much hatred brought me my biggest joy. It is not easy working for Moja Love because Tv is new to me as a day job. I have to learn to control my fire and not burn people. We have to learn each other and it is not easy. However it certainly beats what I have been through to get here. I remember jogging around mofolo in the mornings all of last year wondering why ‘ngiwile?’ Little did I know that my inner hot body was getting ready to show off…have you seen my legs on that show?!

I have felt so bad for so many years about the disruption I cause everywhere I go. The older I get I realise that the universe is on my side and none of the ‘drama’ is my doing. I want the next couple of years to be EXTREMELY happy for me.

If you have hit your rock bottom, it’s probably because you are a month away from your dream job. I remember crying to my niece’s guardian Nomakhwezi and she said

“Isinangamuva Liyabukwa.”

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The rape victims are watching

A lot can happen in a week in South Africa. This week gave me a lot to reflect upon.

The most pressing matter for me this week was Cheryl Zondi. We watched in horror at the barbaric manner in which our justice system operates. It left me begging for answers, ‘Who made up these rules?’

I, like many rape victims chose not to follow proceedings because they would be triggering. The rape wound takes many, many years to heal and I have come to learn that a lot of people are ignorant about the emotional disruption for a victim. Before we even get to the court trauma, rape alone is devastating. It is violent, shocking, demeaning and terrifying all rolled up in one. No rape victim will ever be able to explain the amount of pain rape comes with. Sislonda esibuhlungu esingapholi. Rape changes how you interact with men. Rape breaks trust. Every man is a potential rapist to me and as a result I’m always on the defensive. Rape has completely destroyed intimacy for me. Making love for me is now always proceeded by a panic attack and me reassuring myself that I do actually want this. I always have to remind myself that sex is safe, it is not violent.

 

With so many emotions that come with being a victim of rape… and then Miss Zondi was faced with an insensitive idiot like Peter Daubermann. Wow.

Rape, unlike other crimes sticks with the victim for life so there is no professional way to deal with it. It requires emotional maturity more than brains.

Did this court case not bring to our immediate attention that we need specialised courts for rape with specialised lawyers? The barbaric manner in which Miss Zondi was handled cannot be normalised. It cannot just provide us with soap opera drama for the moment. We are all guilty of having witnessed and provided commentary for secondary rape. The proceedings in that court make us guilty by silence.

 

I have on numerous occasions stated that I will not press charges against the animal who raped me until the court systems change. I will not further traumatise myself like that just because society will not make changes to be better. We are the people we live amongst we are the ones who have power to change things.

What we saw in that court room is wrong and if anything, Daubermann should be disbarred or face some kind of charges.

I don’t know if it is apartheid residue that makes Daubermann behave in the manner he does. He would never speak to a white rape victim like that, is it because he has not humanised Africans that he felt it okay to speak to someone who could be his own child like that? And what of the white arrogance and black submission where the lawyer feels bigger than the judge?

 

Ring the bell on Azania, this cannot be the way we deal with rape in this country. For many years women have been crying about rape culture in SA. Too many of us are Cheryl Zondi. When do things start to change? How have things changed? We can’t be reminded of rape by rape. What are the practical ways in which government and society are tackling this issue? How is the media involved in encouraging rape culture? Are rapists held accountable?

 

The Tim Omotoso case also brings attention to other pertinent patriarchal issues like…….

When this man was busy raping our little girls, where were their fathers?

 

Ganja Propaganda

I am completely and utterly stunned at the irresponsible and ignorant reporting and conversations around Ganja since it was legalised yesterday. I am totally shocked at how people can talk so much about something they know nothing about. It has shown me that my people will take anything they are taught and run with it, without critically analysing things.

 

Like most people I grew up being taught that Ganja is bad, but the older I am getting I am seeing more and more holes in what I have been taught. Yesterday, an entire minister said Ganja is a gateway drug. I felt like he was just parroting something he has heard. When this was said to me in my early 20s, I was forced to ask myself if I believed that Rasta’s were drug addicts. I looked at the Rasta community and it had the most organised system based on African values. The argument fell flat. The Rasta community are not drug addicts and are in fact a little more conscious and spiritually enlightened than the average black South African.

 

I think a time has come where one should take it upon themselves to challenge what the white man has taught them to say. We have a justice and law system that was created by whites to advance whites. When you research why Ganja is illegal you come to learn that 1stly it is a weed so you cannot control it economically, 2ndly commercialising Ganja would make Afrika VERY rich. In the Transkei you have small towns that survive on the ganja trade. Ganja is bread and butter…..one which cannot be controlled. Recently we have watched white people come together to ensure the legalisation on Ganja. There are also expensive licenses you will need to be able to grow Ganja in large quantities…who has that kind of money?

 

They also told me Ganja drives people crazy, but you know if that was the case, half of society would be crazy. I think we need to stop pointing to people who have mental conditions and blaming it on Ganja. I think that is irresponsible.

 

Our ancient ones used Ganja as a medicine and healer for many centuries before white people told us it is bad. To this day, medicinal people will tell you of all the ailments and illness’ ganja can cure.

 

You have reported about this muthi irresponsibly and are now creating a whole dramatic soap opera where you want us to believe that crime is suddenly going to go up because of Ganja. What a load of poop! If Anything Ganja will make you lazy AF and you will need to eat. There is no stoner in the world who is thinking of attacking people or doing anything violent after a good zol. Ganja is a relaxant, it has no time for crime. Ganja is clumsy. You might put peanut butter in the fridge but you certainly wont suddenly get violent urges.

 

It is always the people who don’t smoke who want to talk the loudest about Ganja. Why don’t you ask the smokers? It baffles me.

 

This is a good time to learn about Ganja and its health benefits. This is a very spiritual herb and it requires that you come at it with some respect. You need to humble yourselves and stop being dramatic. You’re missing out on an opportunity to learn. I wish for all traditional healers to come out and speak about why we Africans lived by Ganja in the past.

 

There is no white man who is going to tell me that those Xhosa makhulu’s with their pipes are crazy or drug addicts.

 

Please.respect.us.

 

Her Story yamasimba!

The current state of hip hop has been giving me sleepless nights more especially, the feminine voice. I am uncomfortable by the feminine representation that has been forced down my throat. I was groomed by the hip hop underground scene in the 2000s. I am in the forefront with my male counterparts from Slaghuis, 1808, StreetPop and Splashjam. Being a street poet (and closet emcee) I shared the stages with all the men you call Hip Hop today. The original version of Urongo was a hip hop track which was rejected by my misogynistic community. When uRongo was released on Hype Sessions vol 3, my counterparts still did not want to recognise the feminine voice in Hip Hop and all it amounted to was me getting radio interviews to discuss women in hip hop. Because that’s what my male counterparts do is to talk. They hold very high standards for female rap flow, but they do not hold the same standards for themselves. I can think of many male rappers who actually can’t rap but became famous. When it is time for a woman to take the mic suddenly there is a lot of pressure. I know many women who know this experience. I also know women who have never made it but have better flow that some of your male artists who have reached the highest level.

 

I feel the need to speak out because our local hip hop industry is being orchestrated by misogynistic men. What local rappers have taught me is that you can only be a female rapper if your flow sounds American or if you are half naked in a weave. Hip Hop brothers have taken the video hoe image and they are writing lines for her and calling that a femcee. I don’t think I have ever felt so insulted in my life.

 

Men in hip hop continuously suppress the feminine voice. The female voice can only exist with male approval. I look at the contemporary industry and all our celebrated female rappers look like sex kittens and have an Nicki Minaj/Cardi B flow. That is the face of Her Story…..unoriginal raps dressed in lingerie.

 

We cannot have an industry that is dictated by male terms and behaviours. Men and women do not rap the same, why is male aggressive rap the standard? All our female rappers behave like boys but dress like strippers- what is going on?

 

Where are our versions of Lauryn Hill, Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Young Ma and def Loaf? Why do we only get the Nicki and Cardi range? This situation where female emcees have to go through a male judging panel is diluting our power. It is leading to a situation where female rap is being modelled and is not authentic. It has become a beauty contest and no longer about lyricism and issues that affect women. If you truly understand the ideology of hip hop then you will know that it is based on black consciousness. Hip Hop is about expression and channelling energy to better the situation for our people. Hip hop is more than just male rap. Hip Hop is an entire community however we have a select few gate keeping the local hip hop market and keeping conscious female voices out.

 

We have reached a record low where male emcees with platforms are ‘putting on’ their ‘crushes’ and writing for them. Somewhere out there is a real female rapper who does not put on costumes and gimmicks. Somewhere out there is a real female rapper who has been working on her lines for years, even decades. Somewhere out there is a real female rapper who understands her writing process and flow and has taken years to master them. Somewhere out there is a real female rapper who has been denied the microphone at hip hop sessions. Somewhere out there is a real female rapper with books and books and books of rhymes, someone passionate about words. Somewhere out there is a real female rapper getting her demo rejected by the industry because she doesn’t look a certain way.

 

I look at the state of female rap, these women that have been put on by men, these women that are saying nothing to me. These women who should represent me but they don’t. And men are clever neh? Because they chose the women for us, and when we women say they dont represent us- they say we hate other women. Smart.

A letter to my rapist

Dear Brickz

 

It has taken me many excruciatingly painful years to get to this point. I have been misdirecting my anger and unleashing my rage on the wrong people. I have been angry at radio stations for playing your music, angry at venues for booking you and angry at the media for sympathising with you. Unlike everybody else you being a rapist is not something I heard, it is something you did to me. Sipho Ndlovu you know full well that you raped me, like you knew you had raped me minutes after the violation and you went to go clean up in the bathroom while I stared blankly at the tv. I will never forget that moment. Never in my life did I ever imagine that I could get raped. Until that day I had always been ‘free’ with my body and unafraid. Because of you my whole life has changed.

 

Sipho I do not need some court of law to rule and tell me that you forced your dick inside me without my consent…I was there. I have watched you make a mockery of the justice system. You were charged with raping your underage RELATIVE. Sipho I don’t know what kind of a sick society we must live in where people still want to hear your music. Your music and image should be banned from all media platforms. You are not something our young boys should be looking up to. Instead of owning up to this sick crime and reflecting on your journey, you manipulated your way out of a jail term. The amount of arrogance it takes to do what you have done is astounding. But for me the biggest danger is that a sociopath like you is now roaming the streets.

 

I don’t think your niece and I are the only ones you raped. That night you acted with such precision there is no way that that was your first time. I will never be able to explain the amount of strength you had when you pinned me against that wall, nor the sadness in my heart when I realised that you, BrickzmaBrigado was actually doing this. I know that I am not the only woman you violated. I am not the only woman who was scared and kept quiet because I thought no one would believe me. I know this from the bottom of my heart. I know there is a pile of broken souls that you have violated somewhere out in this world.

 

I will never forget how you tried to torment and bully me on twitter when I was defending your niece. I will never forget my rapist. I can never forget my rapist. You have taken so much of my peace and connection to loved ones. May I always be your reminder Sipho. May I always be uncomfortable and painful until you find it in your evil heart to own up to being a rapist. You need psychological help.

 

You’re a dangerous man Sipho. If anything should happen to me, they should look in your direction first. I remember reading articles about you beating up your women. I was raped by you. You are a dangerous man. Which is why I am disgusted at society. I am disgusted at the silence when you are on media platforms. I am disgusted at promoters and venues for putting money before morals and proving to me what a trash society we live in.

 

I can never explain the amount of pain you have inflicted on me. Only another rape survivor will know the amount of pain I am now forced to carry…because you are a man, because you felt you had to control my body.

 

And I apologise to you, for afterwards, when I pretended that you didn’t rape me…I apologise for ignoring it and acting normal. I did you a disservice. Had I addressed it then, you may have not raped your young niece. I could have called out your sickness when I saw it.

 

And even now, you will be protected because it is the cool thing to hate Ntsiki Mazwai…but I want to tell you Sipho, I have not forgotten you…my rapist.

 

*Sidenote for Carnival City, Soweto Theatre and other rapist friendly venues booking Brickz……oh my God, you are causing so much pain……so much pain. When will women’s pain matter? When women say something is ‘triggering’ it means – ‘oh my god you’re taking me right back to the moment of the actual rape- my most tragic memory.’

 

 

THE BLACK IMBIZO

THE BLACK IMBIZO is a dialogue platform for Africans to

engage on issues affecting Africans. Living in a country where the narrative is outside of the

African voice, a platform like this is deemed a revolutionary act. Spear headed by Africanists;

poet Ntsiki Mazwai and author of ‘I’m still a kaffir,’ Vukulu Sizwe Maphindani. These two

black voices are known for stirring up Black

Consciousness dialogues and such an initiative promises to be explosive, informative and constructive. In a tour that will at times involve various pan Africanist and Black Nationalist speakers and leaders, The Black Imbizo hopes to create a space for the voices of people on the ground on how to best deal with our own issues.

It is a tour based on finding African solutions for Africans, by Africans. We can no longer rely on others to create systems for us.

 

Ntsiki Mazwai is an unapologetic Poet who have made headlines in South Africa’s media because of her brutal honesty and works of poetry, whilst Vukulu Sizwe Maphindani is a fearless Black Power leader

heading the Black Centric Forum Movement and also a black consciousness author.

 

The Black Imbizo is an initiative set to address and redress the

injustices that black people have been going through for over 400 years and continue to suffer the latter in present day colonialism. Initially reflections will be based on Ntsiki’s Musical Poetry and Vukulu’s literary offerings but the Imbizo is a broad-based project for black psychological development. The black imbizo is the big black pot that we will all throw our ideas into, working towards a more dignified African experience.

 

The tour will kick off at Nikki’s Oasis, 138 Lilian Ngoyi st, Newtown (opposite Market Theatre) on 21 July at 4pm. Admission is free and the talks will be hosted fortnightly in different areas; ranging from bookshops, coffee shops, Auditoriums,

Forums etc.

 

Owing to the fact that Africans find it difficult to express

themselves in the presence of white people; White people will not be allowed at participating venues. A time has come where Africans need to speak amongst themselves, without fear, without interference.

 

The Black Imbizo is a movement based on love and the restoration of African dignity.

Contact us: theblackimbizo@gmail.com

The Master’s Horses

As I sit and reflect on the political situation in South Africa, I realise that African people have a long way to go before we are free. Our own leaders themselves are far from free. It looks like the fight for black dignity is nowhere near over. We thought we were fighting to remove a system only to find that our people just want to fill the spaces in that very same system. None of our leaders are fighting to change the system they just want to benefit from it.

 

Every year it is with great dismay that I look at Africans fall all over themselves for horse racing events that have nothing to do with them. Every year the blacks get excited about the master’s horses going to race. They gain absolutely nothing from the exercise, they are there to just clap hands. What makes it worse is the fact that the slaves get so much satisfaction, status and clout. It is with pride with which they see the opportunity to go watch the master’s horses run around.

 

This past weekend, the slaves adorned themselves in the master’s clothes and competed over who could look the most European. The slaves didn’t even go as themselves babhemi. They sat and studied European fashion and got African designers to imitate European fashion so that they could look the ‘best.’

But wait, this is all slap bang in the middle of the land debate. (*Claps Hands 3 times)

 

I can never imagine our fallen revolutionaries doing this. They are chasing after white things, while in pursuit of black justice? This new model of revolutionaries is so confusing to the eye. It is easy on the ears but confusing to the eye. You are fighting for the poor while you drink champagne with the whites? When EFF joined parliament I thought they would question the high salaries but they just got comfortable in the pay cheque of being MPs. How you as a civil servant and someone of supposed service can rationalise getting R80 000/month and fight for a R3 500 minimum wage is beyond me. And yes of course we must always remember, you have bills to pay. (unlike everybody else.) People always claim they are going to change the system from inside but the system always changes them.

 

In my mind, our government has always been represented by ‘blessers, booze and opulence.’ This has stagnated our development as a nation and as a result we find ourselves two decades later in the same situation. Not much has changed since apartheid. Only the ‘slegs blankes’ signs have gone down, the rest remains the same.

The media keeps creating hype events that get you excited and distracted from the real issues facing us as a people. The rich white capitalists keep buying our leaders and as a result nobody is truly representing us.

 

So yes, when I saw my government in waiting at the Durban July, it worried me. The fact that Durban July was even a whole ‘thing’ for them. Ukuthi iDurban July is their kinda vibe…

 

I saw that I was just dealing with a younger version of ANC.