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

 

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.

ANC Elite Must Fall

It is sad for me to have to write this as some of the people I am talking about I refer to as Aunt and Uncle in my private spaces. The ANC elite….wow, you have pulled quite a number on us. Now that you guys have sorted yourselves and your children out now suddenly you don’t remember struggle? Just because you have your fingers in the pie you have no interest in changing the status quo for black people?

We should have known when white capital teamed up with you, we should have known that they were giving you a taste so you could get drunk.

You negotiated in Codesa so you know full well that in those talks you did not get the economy back. What that means is that you have essentially failed black people in this country. We sent you to speak for us and you came back with nothing but coins in your individual pockets. Not only were you bamboozled but now you continue to do the gate keeping for white capital.

Fees Must Fall is not your business because quite frankly…like white people, you took the money and ran. You can afford education to an extent where you can educate your children overseas. Although you have surrounded yourselves with yourselves, I can assure you that basic education is not a basic thing for the average family. Because you have failed to address minimum wages, our people are still suffering.

Uncle Gwede your comments were horrendous. They were vile and they spoke from a place of privilege. We see reports in the papers with your children busy squandering money: you are therefore in no position to even have an opinion.

Unlike you the ANC elite, people on the ground do not have money and they are making it clear that they cannot afford free education.

If you were half the freedom fighters you say you are you wouldn’t be threatening students, you would be going back to those Codesa talks. Instead of using dirty apartheid tactics on students, you would have the guts to address white capital monopoly playing out in our economy. There are people in this country who get paid R30million/month while the people who work for them can’t afford education. That is absurd.

It’s nice for you to sit in your nice homes and speak your nice English as long as it is not your children who will be affected.

We are not stupid, of course we know that the destruction of school property is nothing less than ignorant, but do you understand the pain of frustration till your mind explodes? No you don’t, because most of you are illegally obtaining tenders and funding based on your networks.

Bantu abadala you have shown us greed in a manner we never thought we would see from our own parents. It has been a shame filled experience to watch you deal with Fees Must Fall. You have shown us that you are greedy cowards who are unwilling to stand up for what is right.

Your people have been wronged, you are in a position to take on white capital and set some rules, but you are out here protecting your comfortable privilege.

For a change….make yourselves worthy leaders and address fees must fall without shooting children.

 

#PearlThusiDay vs #WinnieMandelaDay

My spirits were so deflated this morning when I woke up to #PearlThusiDay. I have spent a lot of this year of revelations, looking forward to Winnie Mandela Day. We have taken so many days for men to celebrate them, we have even taken imaginary easter bunnies and given them a day too. It seemed logical to me that SA was finally getting to a space where black consciousness was starting to come to the forefront. I was under the impression we were at place where we wanted to know our own stories and heroes. I thought we were ready to unpack our heroes. 26 September was a great opportunity for us to start somewhere. We know Winnie Mandela, we know that her journey has affected us ALL. Her fight and marketing of the ANC and the Mandela name is the reason we are where we are today. Many names have been forgotten and unsung but we know Winnie Mandela because we actually watched her walk through fire…..and unapologetically so.

 

So when I woke up this morning and SA twitter had turned 26 September to Pearl Thusi Day I was taken aback and quiet saddened. Indeed we should celebrate Pearl’s new job, it is always wonderful when a woman gets blessings because it inspires other women too. Pearl is making young girls realise that anything is possible. And we celebrate the swelling of her bank account. Indeed Well Done Pearl…but to take away the historical significance of this date and give it away to holiwood is really something quite, hard to swallow. You have just taken away a day where we could actually learn Winnie Mandelas truth….we have been inundated in bad PR about her ALL our lives. Finally we are in a position of power where we can force this day in our favour by unpacking a powerful woman and moment in our history. What do we do? We give it away to holiwood. Wow guys. Guys.

 

It is so sad to watch us erase our own stories and ignore our own greatness. None of us can deny the force and impact this woman has done for this country. The world over knows Winnie Mandela. We have this woman, right here in our backyard and we fail to pay homage? Wow.

 

Like most great people the mother of the nation has faced great opposition….and that is precisely how we know she is great. Winnie Mandela has faced violence on her and her family like no one else in this country. They repeatedly oppressed and abused her for all those 27 years and before. Some ran to exile but Winnie stayed. When freedom came, some moved to Sandton, mama Winnie stayed with her people in Soweto. This story needs to be unpacked, there is much more to this than Stompies murder and also much more to the real story behind that murder. We have never allowed mama Winnie to speak for herself so we cannot claim that we have concrete facts.

 

I am just sad I guess, that South Africans would rather give this day to an American TV show…than own up to their greatness.

Also, we are always speaking about being ‘woke’ lately….I would think being woke is part of freeing ourselves from white capital and imperialism. But when I see you celebrate someone getting a job from white people over celebrating a woman who freed you, I am shaken.

I thought we were at a place where freedom means building our own empires, but you don’t know how to do that. Last week we found out that there is a black owned bank……you did not celebrate but started to tear it down… because success to you is when the master gives us a bit of crumbs.

You are not ready to build your own things, you are waiting to for the fairy godmother America to realise your dreams.

 

I think what is even scarier to watch is that we saw that Trevor Noahs job did nothing to improve the conditions for black people in SA, surely we saw that it was just a job. His job. This too is a job for Pearl Thusi. We are not celebrating Winnie Mandela Day and giving it to Pearl who has impacted our struggle how exactly? Wow.

 

p.s: I don’t know if you noticed but Terry Pheto moved to LA and even changed her image…..it kinda looks to me like holliwood wants black actors with a bit of white blood in them. 🙂

 

Vulnerability

This is not an easy blog to write. I will have to put down all my defences and show you some of the parts of me that you may not see. If I could have an honest word with my haters (and lovers)…if I could have a moment where I could tell you the ABSOLUTE truth, I would tell you that actually, I am not that strong and you are one of the many things that hurt me. I know you see me being strong and brave all the time. You see me walk through hatred like I don’t give AF. But the truth is you never gave me the choice. I have no choice but to take what you serve, it is not up to me.

I have been like I am all my life so I am no stranger to the loneliness of always being ganged upon. I have always been a poet, and in our culture the role I play is to tell the truth. This is not some celebrity moment or a glamorous job…it is the ability to speak in a way that everybody is moved. It is a scary gift to have in all honesty. It means that I will never be really ‘liked.’ It means that I carry the truth and we all know that the truth can be brutal. This kind of gift/calling means that everybody who deals with me is hit in a deeply spiritual space, and there is nothing I can do about it. I make people confront their demons. I can be very uncomfortable and am incapable of shallow interactions. I wish I was sometimes. Sometimes I wish I could just be like everybody else and not see things the way I do, my life would be so much more peaceful: less painful.

 

I want you to know that despite this annoying ability of mine to touch on nerves and be a lightning rod for uncomfortable issues in this country, I am also just a girl…not just a girl, but a deeply sensitive girl. I feel deeply. So I can feel EVERYTHING you throw at me whether you say it out loud or not. When I walk into a space and can feel that I am not liked, it is quite a vulnerable moment for me, especially since I have nothing against you, nor have I ever, done anything to you. The fact that my words touch a nerve is not something I control. I need you to remember that before western influences we had people like me, iimbhongi who were believed to pass on messages from our elders. We had our own spiritual leaders and messengers outside the church. It is extremely difficult for me to be born in a time where Africans no longer understand my role. I live in a time where Africans demonise my role. If my voice did not have spirits in it, you would not hear it. I would simply fade into twitter. It is not easy to have a voice that is always under attack.

I just want to let you know that as much as I upset you, I too am not having an easy journey for I am constantly the victim of the backlash when you are not ready to hear something. I understand where you are coming from and accept that my ideas upset you. I respect your process in how you choose to deal with what I put on the table. Please understand that my words/tweets are not personal attacks just a commentary on what my eye is seeing. You do not have to listen to me, I don’t force my tweets onto your mentions. Just like you I am using twitter to express myself. Unfortunately or fortunately for me, my words always seem to hit a home run into your minds and spirits and thus my experience of twitter is quite ‘different.’ There is nothing I can do about this as I am unwilling to change my nature, personality or character to suit South Africans. Changing who I am to suit you would be too much of a compromise. So here I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. The only way I can get you to like/hear me is if I change and become more acceptable. It has not been an easy choice to make to stay true to myself.

Everything I tweet ends up in the media, but it is not the nice things I say….just the spicy ones. In all honesty, the media has portrayed me as a total asshole. I don’t think I would mind so much if I was actually an asshole but guys I’m actually not. The media has just chosen which parts of me to share, and they have chosen to ignore the beautiful parts.

I wrote this letter to tell you about my vulnerabilities. Besides you, my other vulnerability is those rape tweets. In all honesty, those tweets were an off guard moment. I did not see them coming. Much like the times I ‘rant’ about social ills, something else came over me. I am not ready to deal with them and would like to ask the media to respect my privacy. It is a very sore place still and very confusing. I did not mean to drop those bombs, they just exploded by themselves. Please stop tweeting me about it and asking me when you see me out.I am not ready to talk about it. Please, be gentle with me… I am actually NOT that strong.

Black PLEASE!

edom is no longer white people it is now black people who stand in the way of our freedom. There is nothing worse than fighting for a people who defend the enemy. A lot of important conversations in South Africa are being silenced by black people who are either, out of fear or total admiration take offence when black people raise issues of oppression by the white man.

 

It goes without say that apartheid was a system with rules and regulations kept up by the white minority. After 94 we were supposed to address all these social rules, in our schools and in our work places. It was not just about making toilets multi racial. We were supposed to address all the shisms and isms in our education system particularly as that is where we were affected (infected) from a young age. We didn’t do that. Instead we occupied places and positions in the very same system built to oppress us.

We have now given birth to a new generation free of apartheid history (well sort of). Since these systems are still in place we are still very much living under apartheid conditions. The rules did not change. This new generation takes a stand and points out some of the areas we failed to address, and we know exactly what they are talking about. We too were exposed to the same racist school rules, but our spirits were not evolved enough to take on the fight. We are now dealing with the evolution of the black child and what do we do? We silence them.

There are black people in our midst who do not want to upset white power. Some of us are so afraid to offend the white man we are willing to wear helmets on our heads instead of telling white people that ‘this is my hair! Deal with it!’

Our forefathers did not have the privilege of standing up for blackness because they had guns held to their heads. We lost our identity because of whit brutality. We lost black pride because of a race of people who told us we were ugly and made us slaves.

The conversation we need to have with white people has to be firm and unapologetic. You do not define your boundaries with permission, you set the rules. That is the only way you will get taken seriously.

I am getting tired of these blacks who sugar coat important black issues because they are scared of losing their white fan base. These types of blacks are holding us back.

When someone has abused you, you do not smile at them and make excuses for them…if you want to rebuild that relationship, you lay down the law. Kahle nje.

We see you trying to be politically correct and self righteous but you are being counter revolutionary, especially those of you who now have white friends to defend. I also question what kind of a friend would have a problem with who you are and what you look like.

We all have different strengths. There are some conversations that the Rainbow Nation Defense Force needs to sit out. While you want to enjoy a fake PR movement, real South Africans are trying to build a South Africa that tolerates and respects different cultures.

We are not racist, nor anti white, we are pro mutual respect. Unlike you, we do not need nasal twangs and fake hair to fit into this society called new South Africa. The aim is to create a country where EVERYBODY is free to be themselves (without having to assimilate whiteness.)

So, if you are those blacks that live in the Rainbow Nation and speak good English with your white friends, please we beg you, sit the black consciousness debates out because everytime you speak we cringe.

How are we going to teach the white man how to treat us with you standing there protecting the master? The master will never change his ways if he see that even we are fighting amongst ourselves about the matter at hand.

We beg you, you can keep your white friends just PLEASE stop getting in the way of black people’s right to be black. For transformation to happen A LOT of changes are going to need to be made. The younger generation will continue to point black people to a more dignified and just way of life, when they do this, can we not stand in the way of our own freedom please?

Some of these rules are crazy, so these battles will look crazy…but these battles are important because we have the right to be black!

Black Hair Police

 

 

I found the minister’s statements regarding black hair in schools disappointing.

“Minister, Angie Motshekga, says there was nothing controversial about the Pretoria Girls High School hair policy”- SAFM #AMLIVE

I found it sad that a leader could not unpack this highly political issue. Let me start by saying, this is not a petty hair issue, this is an issue of identity. I wonder if people are aware that black hair grows out into an afro naturally. We black people are not born with the hair which many women have weaved/wigged on their heads. There are many deeply racist reasons that black women have a history of straightening their hair.

We come from a past were being black and anything that came with the black experience was demonised. Especially us dark skinned sisters.

White people who have always, been in control of the media and all streams of information have set a benchmark of long straight hair being termed beauty. We have never been exposed to natural African attributes being termed as beautiful. We have even had to claim the beauty of our bodies with coming up with names like ‘bootylicious’ and ‘thick.’ These words did not just come about, they are the expression of the black girl saying ‘I am beautiful too.’

 

Our hair has been under attack for Centuries. We are the only race in the entire world that has hair like ours. It is what makes us unique. I do not see white people being ashamed of their hair, I do not see Indians being ashamed of their hair. So why should the black child be ashamed of their hair? Every day the white child gets out of bed and looks in the mirror and sees someone perfect, because the world has told the white child she is perfect. When the black child gets up every day, she looks in the mirror and has to straighten her hair and wish they were a little lighter skinned, because the world has told the black child that long, wavy hair and fair skin is beautiful.

Why is it that the white child can just wake up, tie their hair in a ponytail and go to school and they are fine, but the black child has to change their natural hair to suit school regulations? What are we teaching the black child?

 

Why is it, that we black people are always trying to fix ourselves to look white in a black dominated country? We understand if the schools are saying No Fancy Hairstyles at school, that is understandable, but our natural hair is not a fancy hairstyle and it is not our fault that our hair is unapologetically and wildly beautiful. Why would you want to rob the black child of their right to be black, and the right to feel beautiful in their own hair and skin?

Having straight hair is also perceived as being more sophisticated, it has even affected our ability to earn income. You are believed to be rich if you have a nice weave. The less African you look the richer you seem. Are these not stereotypes we ought to be breaking down?

 

If ANC was more pan africanist we would be in a better position because we would have leaders who know that EVERYTHING starts with self love and self belief. But unfortunately, we have apologist grown ups who listen to ‘Clever Whites’ and follow their narrative. If you are so concerned about seeing the blackboard are you going to put a height policy on all the tall pupils too?

 

We should not even be having this debate, this was a simple issue of setting the record straight:

Every black child has the right to be black…. leave the childrens’ hair alone.

And Madam minister…it IS controversial that a black child can’t adorn their natural hair in a black country.