the goodbye letters (final)

the goodbye letters



/ʌnfə fəˈɡɪvnɪs/

  • not willing to forgive or excuse people’s faults or wrongdoings
  • anger or resentment towards someone for an offence, flaw, or mistake
  • feel angry about or wish to punish an offence, flaw, or mistake

Dear Unforgiveness,

It’s so hard to say goodbye.

Holding onto you was how I punished the perpetrators of my hurt. It’s how I would mete out justice. Felt like if I let you go, they get away with it, and that just made me angry as hell.

But you’re too heavy for my shoulders, comrade. I don’t get to keep you and be free from pain, too. How’s that work? How’s joy and love and peace live in the same house as vengeance and resentment and bitterness?

The weight of your presence makes me a prisoner.

The wrongdoing isn’t mine to punish – you had me believing I was qualified to play judge and executioner, but I won’t be fooled anymore – I have better things to do than to hate the people who (and the things that) stole my joy from me.

Even sans apologies – I choose to forgive.

I acknowledge all the harm done against me, but I will not be held hostage by it!

This is for my emotional wellness. This is for victory.

Listen man, I’m not about to be besties with the people who hurt me, but I can release them from the really big, really unhealthy room they’ve occupied in my heart.

And I’m forgiving me, too. Yes – I forgive myself – over and over again. I am worthy of that bit of kindness.

This is farewell, and I’ve sealed it with a prayer and a mustard seed.

So then, goodbye, old friend.

And good riddance!

Weight-less and free,


“Hard time forgiving/ Even harder forgetting/ Before you do something/ You might regret friend/ This time I will be/ Louder than my words/ Walk with lessons that/ Oh, that I have learned/ Show the scars I’ve earned/ In the light of day/ Shadows will be found/ I will hunt them down.” Seinabo Sey, Hard Time

“People withhold their forgiveness, thinking that it makes them badass. But really, the unwillingness to forgive is merely the wishing that things were better. You wish that you had better, you wish that someone else were better so they could have treated you better… it’s you making wishes. And that’s not badass. To forgive is to be able to look at the person and say “I accept that you weren’t any better than what you were”, “I accept that you were you and couldn’t have been what I wished you to be”, “I accept that things were the way they were and weren’t any better.” The ability to forgive is intertwined with the ability to accept the reality of the way things are/ the way a person is or was. You stop wishing things and you just accept. And hope is what says to you: “One day you’ll have what’s better.” 
― C. JoyBell C.


the goodbye letters (#3)

the goodbye letters




  • a means of limiting or regulating something
  • the power to influence or direct people’s behaviour or the course of events

Dear Control,

The funny thing is that my struggle to let you go is part of the problem, isn’t it?

On Sundays when I lie in bed and think of the week ahead, I like to know that I’ve already sorted out what’s coming ahead. But sometimes life doesn’t work out the way we plan for it to.

Sometimes life is the maybe, the what if, the in the event that. Sometimes life is full to the brim with variables, and all we can do is let it be.

That drives me crazy. I like for things to go according to Plan A, to be set, to be certain. To complete the sentence with a full stop, not a question mark. Finality.

I lowkey think I wasn’t built for the variable, but I know that’s not the case, hard as it is to accept this truth.

So I’m breaking up with you. I’m letting you go because I know that if I do, I open myself up to a life of adventure.

I know that if I do, there is an endless world of surprises waiting for me. Some are good, some are bad, and that’s okay. Both these will make me better, if I learn from them. If I l view surprises as art, then I can appreciate the creativity of life.

I know that that a hand that is closed cannot receive.

I know that a mind that is bogged down with details and blueprints cannot expand.

It’s not me, it’s you.

This is farewell, and I’ve sealed it with a prayer and a mustard seed.

So then, goodbye, old friend.

And good riddance!

Forever free,


“For now he knew what Shalimar knew: if you surrendered to the air, you could ride it.” -Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon

Let them eat (cup)cake(s)!

What is it about power that corrupts so? What about being in an authoritative office causes politicians, of whatever scale, to betray their original goal of “power to the people”? Yes, some have fared better than others, but history testifies to the fact that most often than not, those in governance descend into a moral degeneration once they occupy office.

Rhodes University has its own season of “SRC Behaving Badly” playing out.  Never mind a bad week, they’ve been having a bad year. In house fighting, councillors leaving their posts and being replaced with new people (we still have not received a satisfactory statement as to why the councillors resigned/ were dismissed), chaos surrounding management during O- Week, and an unclear vision have meant that the bulk of RU students who are not apathetic are unhappy with the SRC. As if that was not enough, as if there are no real issues to be dealing with, the SRC presented a proposed exam time-table from the RU administration, which entailed the removal of SWOT Week and the inclusion of SWOT days at best and Saturdays off. That’s really great. The presentation of options is always good in a democracy. What is not good, is the non-representation of the majority voice concerning a matter. When a vote was taken, most people, the informed and non-apathetic section of RU, voted that the matter stay as is, with SWOT week intact. Not your dictatorial SRC and Administration. No. They decided that the results of the vote were “inconclusive” and went with the minority option. Why? Because they have lost touch with what student governance is about. REPRESENTATION.

Let’s get a little context. Rhodes University students are infamous for their apathy. I believe this is partly because the times they DO participate and voice their opinion etc, they are ignored; much like our friend the SRC did for the better part of last night, when there was furore over facebook and twitter over this debacle. The President says there will be a press conference. That’s nice. In future, can we be informed of other decisions and actions they make beforehand, also? Transparency, you know.

Being my cheeky and, often regrettably rude self, I posted this on the SRC wall: This #examtimetablefail business is rather like a badly scripted ‘reality’ TV show. Hier’s ‘n gemors mense. Ons kanie so aangaan nie. Its only April bathong!

Then, after viewing  a poster by the SRC on “Purple Thursday” and how wearing purple that day would possibly earn us cupcakes from Haricot’s, I cheekily posted once more:

“P. S. Why must I wear purple this Thurs? I don’t want a cupcake from Haricot’s, I want to graduate w distinctions. #examtimetablefail.”

You see, it amused me that the SRC is excellent when it comes to throwing parties and giving away treats, but they are silent on more serious issues. The results of the vote were in favour of SWOT Week and writing on Saturdays, yet it was ruled as “inconclusive” by the SRC, and the minority vote was picked over the majority’s preference. I personally have problems with democracy as a political system, but since we are operating under it now, why not try and behave as an egalitarian campus? Like I said, “…I’m still waiting for a Marie Antoinette-esque figure from the SRC to say, ‘Let them eat (cup) cake(s)’. Phantsi w that, we want bread (swot week)!”

I’m not advocating for the SRC to be dissolved. I’m asking for it to be improved. It is not fair for a student to write two majors on one day, or to end lectures on Thursday then write their first exam the next day.

As one of my high school teachers said back in my hey day, “if you’re the only one who’s right, there are two options: everyone is morally corrupt and you are the last Moral Woman standing, or you are actually wrong. Chances are, mate, you’re wrong.”

**There will be a Black Thursday demonstration tomorrow starting 8am outside of the Main Admin Building. Petitions are being handed out, please do sign. Also, Mass Demonstration Friday is happening at the same place at 12. Let’s demand that our right to education, our right to proper representation, and our right to be heard, be taken seriously.



The problem of power is how to achieve its responsible use rather than its irresponsible and indulgent use – of how to get men (sic) of power to live for the public rather than off the public.

– Robert F. Kennedy (1925 – 1968), ‘I Remember, I Believe,’ The Pursuit of Justice, 1964

Freedom: A rare flower. A review of Adichie’s “Purple Hibiscus”

“Things started to fall apart at home when my brother, Jaja, did not go to communion and Papa flung his heavy missal across the room and broke the figurines on the étagère.” (1)

So begins Nigerian-born Chimanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Purple Hibiscus. The opening line to her novel is reminiscent of the title to Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, an effort made by Adichie to deliberately create a link between some of the themes that she covers in Purple Hibiscus, and that Achebe’s work is concerned with.

It is not always that a writer can craft words together so expertly that the reader does not merely look into the characters’ lives as a spectator, but becomes a part of the story. Adichie’s prose, through the character of fifteen year old Kambili, manages to do just that.

Purple Hibiscus is focused on the life of Kambili Achike, her brother Jaja, mother and father as well as her aunt Ifeoma and her children. Kambili and Jaja, abused by their father, know no other way of life until their Aunty Ifeoma begs her brother, their father, to let his children visit her for a while. There, away from their father’s oppression, they are faced with a new kind of freedom.

It is this new perspective that gives Jaja enough courage to defy his father, and it is Jaja’s defiance which sends his father into a rage, breaking his wife’s figurines. The fragility of the figurines, the image of them crashing to the ground, is very much like the world Kambili’s father had created for them: a fragile world, its sole purpose being to be displayed and to please others, yet not strong enough to withstand any major obstacle.

Adichie was born in Nigeria.

Kambili’s journey towards spiritual upliftment, sexual awakening, and finding her voice, makes for an altogether great read.


Dusty Soul

“Jaja’s defiance seemed to me now like Aunty Ifeoma’s experimental purple hibiscus: rare, fragrant with the undertones of freedom, a different kind of freedom… A freedom to be, to do.” “Kambili” in Purple Hibiscus, Chimanda Ngozi Adichie

Goodbye my lover: a lament for freedom, free speech, public expression. A Black and Bleak Tuesday

I used to have a lover called Freedom. Our ancestors fought hard for us to have a relationship, but what they hadn’t seen coming was the unwanted third-party who we thought would bless our union, but who turned out to be a jealous lover.

We had knowledge we shared with our friends, Press/Media and Public, but the jealous lover decided our love was not valid and our knowledge was never ours to have, and should have been kept secret. He took our knowledge and locked it away in a dark vault. Immediately we knew, the jealous lover, Government, had been disrupting our love affair so he could steal our knowledge to feed his own partner, Corruption, all along. His intention was never to make my lover Freedom richer from the experience of knowing him.

My lover is sick because he caught a virus from Government, who might have caught it from having close relations with nations like China, I don’t know. Maybe you’ve heard of it, China and some in the Arab world have caught similar kinds. The strand Freedom got is called the POIB. I hear it’s fatal. Freedom’s on bed rest because of it.

Who will fight to keep our love alive? Gill Scott Heron said the revolution will not be televised – it will not be reduced to false ideas of liberation, changed into a cheap commodity and made to fit a certain capitalist agenda that benefits an elite at the expense of the majority, it will not be made (because revolutions are made I say) by sitting idle waiting for change to come on a bus. The revolution will not be televised. To keep us alive, there ought to be a continual effort to keep us healthy, by promoting the ideals that drove the struggle to see our love affair come to reality.

This virus should be ousted by our only hope and doctor, the Constitutional Court, and declared a violation of the book that sustains our love, the Constitution. But we can only make this happen if you fight this virus with us, the revolution will not be televised, after all.

Government is sounding more like my old enemy as he gets older. I heard him say the other day, that foreign spies are threatening our knowledge and I thought, sounds a lot like a road towards the old “total strategy” my old enemy favoured, of propaganda and paranoid security measures to fight an invisible problem in my name!  So Government wants to give Freedom the POIB virus, destabilise Press/Media and in so doing harm Public’s right to express herself, and set up his own channels of propaganda that will go uncontested because Press/Media has the POIB virus too. Sounds like the bad old days to me.

I remember how hard the Ruth Firsts’, Bloke Modisane’s, Eskia Mpahlele’s, Sol Plaatje’s, John Dube’s, Chris Hani’s, Biko’s, Slovo’s, Nkosi’s, Themba’s, Tutu’s and so on, fought to see the marriage between me and Freedom. How they must lament the death of our love affair now.

But I will fight to stay, if for nothing else, to keep their legacy of  Freedom alive.

Aluta continua.



“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

** On Black Tuesday we stood for media freedom and for the right to know, and although the government wants to pass the Bill anyway, we will report on news even if it violates the POIB. We have an obligation to democracy. Yours, Dusty Soul