MaMiya’s tears

I think one of the hardest parts of my journey is that I am by nature an open soul. I wear my heart on my sleeve. This is not necessarily a bad trait, it is just that a lot of my lessons play out in public. Most of my ugly healing work I try to keep out the public eye, but every once in a while one of my demons attacks me in public, for all of black twitter to see.

A few months ago the newspapers reported that I relived my rape experience on Twitter. When the media started calling me, I turned off my phone for weeks. I got very defensive and literally screamed at some poor dude from Tru Fm. He later sent an email to apologise. I couldn’t even respond to him. I was in a deep and scary space. I felt attacked and lashed out at journalists. What the world did not know was that my Twitter Rape moment caught me off guard too. I had never owned up to being raped. It was a deep secret I kept buried away, so far away that I had chosen to forget it. One minute I was happily tweeting, and the next thing: words on my twitter updates going back to that night. I had no control in that moment, I have concluded that my secret just wanted out. A truth came out of me that even I was not ready for. The truth came out and it was splashed out in the media and I had to suck it in. Most importantly, I had to tell myself the truth about that night.

I have been doing my Masters Degree in the Arts at Rhodes University this year and my thesis is a memoir. This meant that I had to confront the events of that night and write my story. We are currently speaking about the subject of violence against women in our country and I think many women have stories to tell. Today I was talking about my rape on twitter and as usual not many people believe me. I have taken an excerpt from my thesis that tells my story. The only part that is not true is my one line at the end. I did not say that….I just wish I had. Here is my story, you may not believe me and it is hard for me to believe it myself. Here is my story, I am freeing myself from the shame and the pain. This rape no longer has any power over me. It happened. I survived. I am healthy and I am healing. I hope some sister who reads this blog will tell her story too and join me on this journey of healing. I am not hear to prove myself, I am here to heal.

(oh and I changed his name)

DARK THOUGHT

I closed my eyes and remembered: a dark night with me pinned up against the wall with a skinny dude, who was strong and aggressive, suffocating me. His whole arm was across my chest and his other hand dragged my short denim skirt up to my waist. My heart was in my mouth. I couldn’t kick him. I was trying to keep my legs closed. He held me up against the wall and I didn’t scream. I couldn’t believe what was happening. What was Siphiwe doing? Panic blazed in my chest. “I told you that I don’t want to have sex.” My soft voice whispered. “Wena uyisifebe sami.”

I felt ugly every time he called me that but I didn’t know how to tell him. He called me that every time we had sex. It made me feel like a “dirty” fuck. It wasn’t sex, I didn’t want it. It was scary and I couldn’t breathe. I shifted my body to get a bit of air. We were outside in the garden but no neighbours could see: no one to save me. I tried to push him off me but my “No” kept turning him on. His breath was heavy and fast. He smelt like soap. He pulled down his tracksuit pants and pried my legs apart. I hit the back of my head against the wall. He was stronger than I. I made it easier: I wasn’t wearing panties when he ripped inside of me. He “won.” Breathlessly he thrust into me, his “locs” [dreadlocks] hit my face. My arms limp at my sides as I looked over his shoulder into the dark garden, his arm still across my chest. We were outside. I should have screamed. During that “round,” I didn’t fight him off. He was too heavy. My eyes couldn’t meet his.

When he was “done” he backed off to attend to his weapon. He didn’t wear a condom. My heart sank. I pulled my skirt as far down as I could. I walked inside the house with a straight back and my nose turned up. I sat on the couch and watched TV like nothing had happened. When he walked in he tied his “locs” into a ponytail and went to the bathroom. My mind was confused. My eyes watched the screen but my mind was confused. I wasn’t sure what had just happened? Was that just rough sex? Why didn’t I fight harder? Why didn’t I scream? I was so relieved when I heard laughing voices entering the house, Siphiwe’s  friend were back and he reappeared.

Wayne and the others had gone out to get a few things from the shop. They did not know what had happened. We were all going to a birthday party that night but Siphiwe turned to me and said he had decided to change the plans and take me home early. HE had decided? HE had decided yet again what I wanted. I remained silent and fetched my bag. We all walked out the house, his friends still laughing and talking loudly. They discussed which car to use. I walked alone behind Siphiwe towards his car breathing sparks with every step I took. When we both got near his car, I blew with all my might. I thundered at Siphiwe and screamed with my fists. I kept punching his face, his stomach, anywhere I could. I had never ever been in a fight before; he covered his face with the same arms he used on me. I thought I heard shouting, I kept punching. Next thing I was lifted off the ground, arms were around my stomach. Wayne pulled me off Siphiwe, but I was still trying to grab at him. It took three of them to stand in front of me, to keep me in my corner, they kept telling me to calm down. Three men blocked me and the others were around Siphiwe asking him if he was “ok”, every now and then they glared across at me. They all thought I was crazy and I was screaming:

“This motherfucker just raped me!”

I opened my eyes again. It is not something I like to think about.

– NONTSIKELELO MAZWAI, HOMECOMING

 

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Our President…..

It is sad that we live in a country with so much potential and no leadership and vision. If I was president there are so many things I would change. I would

 

  1. Brainwash the people into food gardens. I would use every media channel to inform the people on what to grow and how to grow indigenous plants. This would mean that muthi men and women (iinyanga) would be in the forefront of this kind of learning. The people would revert to the African system of coexisting with nature. The earth is our food. This would be indoctrinated in every mind from birth. Every home would be expected to have a food garden and if not, then, every community within a specified radius would be expected to have a public food garden. Community food garden maintenance would be incorporated into the culture of every community. There would be days for different age groups to tend to the gardens. I would find vibrant ways to keep the community in the gardens by including the arts. This move would impact food stores, at this stage that is white owned so this move would empower Africans. We could still buy other products from the stores, things we cannot grow. And the wealthy can opt to buy veggies. (from local farms)
  2. I would revert back to the rondawel system. The circle is a sacred shape and Africans are profound. Further research into this shape shows a deeper meaning. I would encourage African architecture and put the Ndebele designers in the forefront. There is no reason for all of the townhouses in Fourways to look Tuscan, no reason at all.
  3. Education would be free from grade R through to university. It would be funded by the banks and white capital. As we have seen, CEOs in South Africa are the best paid in the world. This suggests that profits are exceeding expectations. Those very profits need to sustain the community. We cannot be a small country generating so much wealth and yet our people are not educated. Given the rich mineral resources we have, we need to be smart. Our education is not a choice, it is imperative. We cannot have fools watching over gold or else they will sell our gold for nothing. Corporate SA can afford #FeesMustFall they just don’t want to give up their private jets.
  4. The South African free market system would have stricter rules which benefit greater society. Americans and the world can currently do as they please in our markets and we cannot do the same in theirs. The rest of the world is eating away into South Africa while we are broke. That would stop. Anyone wanting to do business in SA would have to pay the relevant taxes to sustain school fees and food gardens. Anyone wanting to take part in our markets would be responsible to some social investment.
  5. I would identify all the audible and critical youth voices and put them in a hub to be groomed for National Intelligence. SA has a lot of powerful voices with no platform. These voices would help us unpack a lot of the issues facing us. Strong opposing voices which would give us eyes from different points of view.
  6. The media would focus its attention on black consciousness. It has taken 500 years for media to make us hate ourselves. I would spend the next 500 inundating TV, radio, print and internet with relevant African content. As things stand, the black targeted media has been dumbed down. I would have magazines and papers which celebrate black excellence with the motive of instilling black pride. I would introduce South Africans to black heroes and stories. TV content would range from black history to black art, to neo black art, to black comedy, to black drama, to black crime. Media would show a range of blackness. 10% of media airtime would go to global news and culture.
  7. I would start negotiations with other African countries about taking down the borders. I feel each region (country) should elect its own leaders, however I think Africa should have one president. (and not always from the same region.) With the revolving presidency we can get a chance to learn about other regions. This would also mean one currency for Afrika, and based on numbers we have potential to be the most powerful nation on the globe.
  8. Civil service would not be a glamorous occupation. My government would be more behind the scenes making SA look good, and not in front of the cameras. Although all basic needs would be provided, the income would be average. This would be to ensure that civil servants are drawn to government because they love serving people. There would be no financial motivation. Though they would be deeply respected by society because of the work they do, they would not necessarily be rich financially. Serving people would be a spiritual job, not a money-making one. The only way this country can work is if there are people committed and dedicated to a calling of service. Civil service would not be some popularity contest on Twitter it would be about hearing the needs of people on the ground. And civil servants and their families would not be allowed to contest for tenders. They would not be allowed to take part in any business’ connected to the government.
  9. There would be a basic minimum wage. This is an issue we would debate and unpack as a nation paying particular attention to previously considered low income jobs. There would be an overview of what people are earning compared to organisation profits. Access to financial records would be more transparent as we would develop systems to ensure this.
  10. South Africans pay their taxes, I would ensure efficient systems are created, and make sure that money goes where it is supposed to go.
  11. I would keep my twitter account apolitical. I would want the whole nation to feel like I listen to them. I would RT and engage the issues my opposition tables before me.
  12. Every citizen would be expected to plant at least one tree a year and there would be more trees in the cities. Our brains work better when they are oxygenated.
  13. Our education system would be redesigned with the help of top African intellectuals. We would stop grooming workers and start grooming creators.
  14. Every industry would have a democratically elected governing board to make sure that all business’ and people are doing business in a fair way that is true to our constitution.                                                                                         These are just some of the things I would change, if I was president.