the goodbye letters (#2)

shame

/ʃeɪm/

noun

  • a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behaviour
  • dishonor or disgrace

Dear Shame,

I’m ashamed of you, how about that?!

I’ve carried you because it’s easier to sink into you than to fight you off. Then I have to imagine an existence that isn’t dependent on me fading away, and that takes a certain kind of creativity and courage I’m yet to master. I cannot master it, though, if I don’t try. Masters are merely students who kept trying. And didn’t stop learning.

You’re slick, you know that? Your biggest trick is that you make me feel embarrassed about not being able to fulfill obligations that were never mine to fulfill. Who said I had to be perfect?

You blow everything out of proportion. Damn it! Why didn’t I see it sooner? You’re just trying to make me miserable, because you’re miserable too.

Oh, dear Shame – you rob me of intimacy. I can’t be in community and covered in shame, too. You’re a leech like that (“Shame is a soul eating emotion,” CG Jung said. Gosh it’s true!). You take wellness as your sacrifice like the spiteful witch that you are.

I deserve to laugh without feeling like I’m cheating.

I deserve to hope without remembering how I failed in the past.

I deserve to dream without fear that I don’t have what it takes.

I deserve to be me without being disappointed that I’m not someone else.

I deserve better.

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

So then, goodbye, old friend.

And good riddance!

Living in love,

Dusty

“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.” – Brene Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

 “Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.” – Brene Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame

For the ones who refuse to stifle their roar

“This ability to hold on, even in very simple ways, is work black women have done for a very long time.” ~ Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens

For you,

I would do anything. This is my note of love and light to you. I have tried to write you a letter, but the words keep getting stuck in my throat. All I have for you is  solidarity, is a thought, is a prayer.

So many of us need healing. Seek yours with a stubbornness only heaven can shake. Don’t hang around in the hurt, no matter how seductive that may be. You are not what you have been through.

Strength and power,

Dusty

“Do not go gentle into that good night. / Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” ~ Dylan Thomas, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

water (part 3): Zaneliza – How the Water Moves

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I remember the year the Tsunami hit. It was the early 2000s, and we were in primary school. Suddenly we all had to discuss what a Tsunami is, why and how it happens, and how many people had died versus how many had survived. We were astounded at the determination of that tide, and the powerlessness of those running from it, weak in the face of such a frightening and mighty moving body of water.

But destruction is not water’s only expression. In thinking about Msaki’s latest offering, Zaneliza – How the Water Moves, I had this – the strength of water, and how it can take on a life of its own, and even (joy!) give you life – foremost in my mind.

So I called her up and we had a young chat about “loss, hope and the wave-like rhythms in between those two states of being”.

Dusty: Cool! How are you?

Msaki: I’m good. I’m (pauses) hectic. I’m trying to leave for Cape Town so I’m trying to wrap up things today. And I need a PA, so I’m tryna put out an ad.

Dusty: I was actually wondering, how do you survive? I hate admin, personally, and I’m like ‘How does she survive, how does she raise a baby, be a wife, be an artist –’

[Msaki is an independent artist and does all her own management and bookings through her company, One Shushu Day  Artistry. She’s basically superwoman. Jokes. But close 😉 She has also been featured on popular house tracks.]

Msaki: Am I surviving?

Dusty: (laughs)

Msaki: I’m up between 3 [AM] and 5 [AM], doing my stuff, like I said.

Dusty: Ja you can’t get me up at that hour for anything, except if the house is burning.

Msaki: (laughs) Ja that’s my time. I actually wrote a song this morning because I was just like uh-uh, need to block off all the nonsense of the admin that’s creeping up and I just had to sing.

Dusty: Yeah. (pause) Okay well the last time I wrote about you, I wrote about the EP [Nal’ithemba], this was when it had just come out –

Msaki: I love that blog post!

Dusty: (laughs)

Msaki: Ja, EP indala mfondini, what was it – like 2013?

Dusty: Yeah it was 2013, I remember because I was listening to it a lot in my last year at Rhodes.

[The EP sold over 3000 copies – all independently. Msaki plays for mostly smaller audiences, and prefers to connect with listeners this way. Her latest project was crowd-funded largely in part by her network of supporters, people she has met and connected with over the years, musicians and music-lovers alike, her “Golden Circle”.]

Msaki: For some reason when you’re playing to smaller crowds, it’s easier for people to want to buy at the end of the show, ‘cos they really get to connect, you know? Like I’ll do shows in someone’s lounge for 60 people, and almost everyone will walk out with the EP. Stuff like that happens, because it’s difficult to hide your soul, it’s difficult to hide the message [in that atmosphere]. The proximity physically also lends itself to a proximity spiritually because people are examining you from up close and the energy is right there. It almost beckons you to share the essence of the music more. I find that in small gigs I’ve got less disclaimers, I’m less stressed about what people think, you know? But in the festival gigs I’m always like, ‘Oh my gosh – are people bored? Am I playing enough upbeat songs?’ and I’m wondering if they’re not twiddling their toes waiting for Zahara.

Dusty: (laughs) So the message of the EP [the first offering] was hope and love – what’s the message of this [album]?Is it resistance, water …?

Msaki: Oh man (pause). I didn’t realise how much loss I was processing through this album, and trying to figure out how you express or share that without it being full of despair. Just thinking of the waves coming in and the lapses in between and the ebb and the flow – there’s something about the water, cleansing, that made the loss bearable. So the theme of hope is always there, it seems like it will be a central theme to all my work. At the same time this album…it kinda like leaves you in the middle of the sea there bobbing wondering if a rescue mission is coming or not, you’ve gotta sorta figure it out for yourself. (laughs)

Dusty: Ja.

Msaki: It’s more real life. There is a song full of hope but it’s also like, ‘What next? Where do we go from here? And what do I do with all the stuff that’s sore? It’s asking more questions, and I guess I’m imperfectly processing some of the things that make me sad about being young, about being in this country, about the reality of losing people and the reality of losing dreams and having to pick yourself up and do another day when things aren’t working out.

Dusty: The line “Living water for the war over your heart/ Waterfall” [from Weight (for the war] stuck out to me, and it gave me a sense of watering in your life, watering the dry spaces, watering the dryness.

Msaki: If you listen to the pressing of a waterfall when you’re right there against it, you can’t mistake the power that’s there. Continuing from the EP; even using the water metaphor, I spoke about how You are not my strength/ You rock the cliff, the edge, the drop, my landing of love, I almost pictured myself jumping into a waterfall, like free falling into a waterfall, when I wrote that. If you think you’re jumping from the cliff into water (and the water is meant to be a metaphor for love), you’re mistaken because you’re standing on love, the rock is love, the cliff is love, the water is love, the great force around you when you’re in the water…that was when I decided to become a musician full-time because I realized that grace had been covering me the whole way and it will continue to do so, and that love is ready to meet me if I take the leap. So that water theme extends itself into this album, but now it’s looking at the different qualities of water and also what that speaks to my heart. Waterfall, nyani – you realise that God is fighting for you. There are clues that are telling you this all the time. You’ve got your own inner turmoil but there’s an outer fight that also manifests itself on the inside. But there are so many clues on the outside saying ‘Look around, keep going’. That whole line, that’s kind of where it’s from. The waterfall was a very obvious sign that love is fighting for me. The power, the rushing noise, and…thing of a war cry. Hence that line that you’re talking about.

[Weight (for the war) is the first single off of the new album. It begins with Msaki chanting the words “FRIEND FIRE FREEDOM FEEL/ WISDOM WONDER WORRY WISH/ BLESSING BURDEN BROTHER BREATHE/ WAIT WAIT WAIT WEIGHT” acapella. In later verses, she changes the last line to the refrain, “WADE WADE WADE WADE”. The pause after the acapella intro is followed by a guitar playing a note suspended over a bar as she sings about the blues. Enter the drum, which together with the chorus, creates a marching sound that increases the urgency of the song. As it progresses, more instruments are layered in, until the point when the song reaches its dramatic turn, ushered in by a stripping back of all the instruments save for the urgent drum, and the subsequent introduction of a soaring orchestration. By the time my favourite line, “LIVING WATER FOR THE WAR OVER YOUR HEART/ WATERFALL” is sung; the battle has raged, and the war –punctuated by the rousing, rallying cries “ZIYADILIKA IZINDONGA!” and “MAKULIWE!” – is steady on the way to victory. An earnest ‘call to arms’ that’ll rouse the faith of even the most doubtful Thomas. If you haven’t already, listen to it below.]

Msaki: Can you hear Kwanda? She’s trying to pull off my ears, can you hear her in the background?

Dusty: (laughs) Yes I can hear her with her little sounds every now and then.

Kwanda: *indistinguishable baby talk*

Dusty: (laughs) She’s so cute.

Msaki: Hayi sana ubusy ubusy ubusy.

Dusty: (laughs) I have one more question. You were saying [elsewhere] that it is hard in the music industry, to keep the message central, to not get distracted by the machine. What are the things that you do to remind yourself that the message is important, and to keep the message intact inside of you?

Msaki: First thing is to surround yourself with a community that isn’t afraid to point out your blind spots to you. I’m in an industry where ego is king, and depending on who you’re working with, that kind of stuff can become more apparent than the inner journey. If I spend my time with like-minded people that know what music is for, and have a heart for artistry and creativity, and community, then I think I’m in a safe space to go explore, to go to different places and come back and know ba kukhona abantu that are gonna be able to tell me that I’m going astray. That’s sort of the outer section. But now…Like this morning I had to wake up at three and fight for my own union, you know? Because that’s what music started as for me – it started as a way of communion, a way of communing with myself and with God. It’s a space where I can also listen for what song is being played to me. It’s so easy to stumble into every day and completely be absorbed by your To Do List and everything that you’re chasing as well, and things like trying to organize an event for a friend. All those things can still be good and you’re busying yourself with things that are good, but it still might mean that you’re distracted and you’re missing out. Sometimes I need to reset, to listen to God even more than myself. And sometimes these songs are not even to be shared, they are just for me to get something, the things that I need to meditate on and think about and acknowledge as truth for myself. Especially with so many messages that are telling us that we’re worthless, that we’re unlovable – that’s pretty much a very strong message out there. ‘You’re only good as your next this…’ There’s so many things, and I have to fight for a space that’s more real, and that’s where I’m writing from. Uhm, I don’t really think there’s anything wrong with writing from a point of confusion, or from a point of being hurt, or processing the stuff that’s out there, I think it’s really important; but my reality, wholeheartedly, should come from the secret place, or the place where I’m quiet. (laughs) I don’t know how to say some of these things, because even that, I’m exploring it through my music.

Dusty: (laughs) It makes sense. Thank you.

*This conversation has been edited for clarity and brevity.

*Zaneliza – How the Water Moves, will be available in stores April 16th, 2016. If you struggle to find a copy, email oneshushuday@gmail.com to inquire.

Love and warm waves,

DustySoul

“The tides are in our veins.” ― Robinson Jeffers

“Though I walk through the valley low, I’ll fear no evil. By the water, fill my soul, no matter where I go.” ― SUTRA, The Water

“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me),
It’s always our self we find in the sea.”
― E.E. Cummings, 100 Selected Poems

 

water (part 2): “…we have come to be baptised here…”

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Koleka Putuma. Photo: Andy Mkosi

 

I often wonder why I feel as if I am drowning every time I look out into the sea

This and feeling incredibly small 

[…]

Every time our skin goes under

The reeds remember that they were once chains

And the water, restless, wishes it could spew all of the slaves and ships onto shore

Whole as they had boarded, sailed and sunk

Their tears are what have turned the ocean salty

This is why our irises burn every time we go under

Every December sixteenth, December 24th and December 31st

Our skin traumatises the sea

They mock us

For not being able to throw ourselves into something that was instrumental in trying to execute our extinction

For you, the ocean  is for surf boards, boats and tans

And all the cool stuff you do under there in your suits and goggles

But we, we come to be baptised here

We have come to stir the other world here

We have come to cleanse ourselves here

We have come to connect our living to the dead here

Our respect for water is what you have termed fear

The audacity to trade and murder us over water

Then mock us for being scared of it

Koleka Putuma, Water

I’ve been thinking about Koleka Putuma’s “Water” (seriously, do we walk the same earth as her? Her poetry is out of this world) and the line, “We have come to be baptised here” is playing on repeat in my mind, and I feel my body and soul craving a baptismal of sorts. A watering. A watering to halt the withering.

Yours,

DustySoul

“Take me to the water/ To be baptized […] I’m going back home, going back home/
To be baptized.” ~ Nina Simone, Take Me to the Water

 

 

Black women create – acknowledge that!

The devil does not rest sha! While Black women are out here creating, he’s erasing our names from our work. These bloody internet thieves who think our work is good enough to post on instagram and twitter but who don’t think the creators are good enough to credit will be the death of us. Stop that.

For many of us, writing is hard work. Not only because writing itself is a difficult art, but because we often write from our very unique, complicated, and often painful experiences and positions. Yes, we don’t always write from experience, but even when we don’t, it is our imagination that did the work. For someone to swoop in and pillage our sweat, blood and tears – to erase us – is incredibly violent. We’ve been schooled by life and our writing comes from that education. It’s an education that came with a few hard knocks and personal joys and victories. Respect that.

Gosh,

Dusty

Don’t feel entitled to anything you didn’t sweat and struggle for. –Marian Wright Edelman

 

Summertime livin’ (AKA Avoid facebook during the holidays because MEH)

December-time can be nightmarish.

“What have you done this year?”

“What are your plans for next year?”

“When do you plan to get married?”

All fielded by aunts and uncles with their face too close to yours, getting into your personal space about things they didn’t have figured out at 25 either.

Sigh.

You try your best to answer their questions without sounding like a loser, flexing your best PR muscles so that jobless becomes time to reflect and improve or some such flowery sounding thing, and then proceed to chop vegetables by the pot-loads so that you can quell the “She’s gotten lazy” whispers they don’t even bother to say behind your back anymore.

chris breezy

Then you sit down for a moment, behind the garage where no one can see you cry, and take stock of the year. My goodness, it’s been such a crap one! You’re tired of crying, so you wipe your hands and fish your phone out of your apron’s pocket. Facebook is full of disgustingly happy people. Three people are engaged. Thulani got his PhD. Salome got accepted for Masters at Yale. Must be nice! Jane is off to the Seychelles on a baecation. Mmm! Must. Be. Nice. And then you’re like WTF?! because there are like, five people either pregnant or giving birth. Gahtdamb! Where have the years gone? We’re getting old.

Summertime, and the livin’ is heavy.

Pause. Lemme tell ya what I know for sure: rest is a lifestyle. If I am constantly looking to “get there”, to “arrive”, to “make it”, then I will always be agitated and restless and peace will elude me. Hey man, don’t get me wrong, progress is a good thing. I have ambitions too. But I can’t keep looking at my life and thinking that everything in it is wrong. You know, something about the day of humble beginnings and all that. You’re not where you used to be. You lived through your worst and you’re still here. You’re stronger than you know. You did the best you could wethu.

I never want to feel like I have arrived. Never be complacent. Despair says, “Circumstances = stuck”. Hope says, “This is just a delay”. My faith must continuously be active.

You put your phone back in your apron, stretch your back and smile. This isn’t the end for you because you see it now. You see the most delicious thing about life and it’s this – it goes on.

Merry Christmas,

Dusty

“We were sad of getting old, it made us restless/ Oh, I’m so mad I’m getting old it makes me reckless!” ~ Adele, When We Were Young

The Secret (a short story)

Photo source: hidura.com


When the sun eventually rises they find the body lying in what used to be a pool of blood, now a dried out map of red coming from the direction of her side outwards. It shocks them at first, how serene her face looks in that grizzly scene. As though she had the last laugh over death, and were laughing still. As though she were not dead. It’s the look, the elders say, the deceased give when they know they will rise to haunt the living.

The first sighting happens in broad daylight. A boy, coming back from school on Friday finds her waiting by the tree. Her light blue jeans are stained dark with blood, and she is holding what looks to be a cellphone in her hand. Hello, she calls out. Her red lipstick is faded and her eyes are messy with smudged black eyeliner and mascara. At school Mrs Hannigan told him and his peers not to speak with strangers, but at home he’s learnt that every adult is to be greeted with respect, according to Rakgadi Kgaugelo. So now he timidly replies, Hello. Do you want to know a secret? she asks. He looks at her shyly, draws a circle in the dust with his feet. He arrives home to find that all the food has spoiled, flies everywhere. When Rakgadi Kgaugelo tries to shake him awake the next morning she finds that he is not breathing.

A little over a week later a middle-aged man is roused from his sleep by hunger. A headache that splits his head in two greets him when he first blinks. It might be the sleep, but he is sure he hears a woman’s laughter in the dark. The voice is low, guttural, and subtle like the afternoon’s first breeze. He tries to lift himself up from the bed but flops back onto the hard mattress and lies there defeated. He reaches for the matches to see, is that really a fly? In winter? The match dies out and clumsily he reaches for another. Do you want to know a secret? the low voice asks. He moves his candle around him slowly, but sees nothing. Eventually he succeeds, with difficulty, in getting out of bed, and begins to scan the room again, his movements cautious and considered. A rush of hot wind fills the room, but he begins to shake.  Who is there? No answer. The pesky fly inches closer to his face with a loud buzz and he swats it away, striking his ear in the process. Moments later he is met with another gush of wind. A grunt. A pause. Then again, laughter. It is a while before he drifts off into sleep once more. A few days later he finds himself restless again, his room warmer than he can stand. He sits up and takes off his shirt, so that now he is naked save for his dark underpants. He scratches his crotch and yawns. Do you want to know a secret? he hears. His eyes widen. By the end of that night his shack is covered in smoke, his charred remains indistinguishable from the image of the smooth talker people knew.

When the sighting first happens to a woman, the orange-red purpleness of the sky is descending into the earth, replacing the lush blue with a navy blackness. Real as the goose bumps on her flesh, the woman feels a hand touch her but sees no one around. She puts the bucket down and turns the tap off. Her throat is stuck between a cry and a scream. Hmmm, she moans, uneasy. Do you want to know a secret? a voice asks. She turns around and finds herself staring into the most chilly eyes she has ever seen. She hesitates. This must be a ghost. But what type? The elders caution against speaking with the dead unless they speak with you first, but what of ghosts with The Chill in their eyes? Some say that kind brings death to those who meet its gaze.

Do you want to know a secret? the voice asks again.

The Secret, the voice continues, is this. Death will come to all who neglected me.

Who are you? The woman responds. Who neglected you?

The young. The old. The knowing. The ignorant. Not one is innocent.

Who are you? she asks again.

I carry the Secret. the ghost responds.

Yes, but what is your name?

I knocked on fifteen doors that night, the voice continues, yours was the first. The ghost moves closer to her and she sees its form clearer.

Her eyes widen. Chriselda?

Yes, the ghost, now identified as Chriselda, responds.

The woman gasps, her hand flying to her mouth in disbelief.

Yes, Chriselda repeats.

But – you are, you died?

Your door was the first I knocked on. Fifteen doors. Fifteen.

How was I to know? I was alone.

So was I. So was I. You took their word against mine. You let them poison you.

Can you blame me?

Blame? she scoffs. Afterwards, you know, he dragged my body into the open field and did it again. And then he pushed a knife into my side thirty times and left me for dead. But now, friend, I have one thing to do.

Please, please, please! She is distracted from her cries by a rush of flies and smoke surrounding her hair. She swats the flies away furiously.

Low, guttural and subtle; Chriselda laughs. She reaches her hand out towards her friend and the flies move away from the woman and to the hand that beckons them. They vanish.

When they find the woman’s body in the morning, they are stupefied. She’s on the ground lying in what used to be a pool of blood, now a dried out map of red coming from the direction of her side outwards. No knife or gunshot wounds in sight but in that pool of blood, marked out in tiny grey stones they find these words: Do you want to know a secret?

– FIN –

Dusty Soul,

“If you prick us do we not bleed?

If you tickle us do we not laugh?

If you poison us do we not die?

And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?

~ William Shakespeare 

“We are the subjects of our own narrative, witnesses to and participants in our own experience, and, in no way coincidentally, in the experience of those with whom we have come in contact. We are not, in fact, “other.” We are choices.”

~ Toni Morrison, Unspeakable Things Unspoken

It’s Becoming Harder to Root for Black Men

Trigger warning: street harassment, molestation, rape culture, misogynoir 

I wasn’t going to write about this, but it’s been a week and I still get anxious every time I see him.

Writing through this may not make me less mad about it, but it will ease my troubled mind somewhat. For some of us “poetry is not a luxury, and writing is not a past time. It is survival. It is revival; it is the healing process of probing deeper into the collective memory of the soul“. (Word to Taylor Dominique Mason )

I was fixing to get into a taxi at Bree when one of the taxi marshalls groped me in full view of the people in the taxi. I immediately hit his hand away and told him, “Please don’t touch me.” The women in the front row laughed. Unfazed, he held out his hand; as though we were doing some kind of foreplay, and smiled like I was being a tease and actually liked that he had just violated me.

not a public space yo

Source: BuzzFeed

 

What I really wanted to do was kick him in the balls and tell him to go to hell. I wanted to turn to those women and call them out on their endorsement of such appalling behaviour. But what, if I was able to inflict any type of pain, would that achieve except retaliation? 100 bucks says the people at Bree would probably pull me off him, or he would turn even more violent. They did think my ordeal was funny, after all.

I love Black men. I am always the first to root for them. As a matter of principle, I never even use the N word, though I am myself Black. Heck, I want to marry a Black man one day. If you read this blog, you’ll know I’ve written about my love for him too (Ubuhle bendoda: on the beauty of a Black man.

But I’m finding it harder to root for him, and I am painting ‘him’ with a very broad general stroke unapologetically, because I can. He has a whole army of fvkboys who will come to his defense always, anyways.

Being a Black woman in this country is traumatic. On a daily basis there are at least 10 men who insist on calling me “My size” / “Sweedat” / “Lovey” etc and/ or pulling my arm and demanding to see my tattoo, get my number, start a conversation. Where is it safe to walk down the street without being a accosted by seventy men? And when?

From an article I wrote for The Con about a year ago:

“From the time a girl enters puberty until the age men stop seeing her as ‘desirable’, the idea that her body is not her own is systematically imposed on her. On any given day, as she moves from A to B, she will have to fend off unwanted attention, she’ll be whistled at, grabbed, groped, insulted for not responding, and, in some cases, the attack becomes serious. For many men, there is just no desire to see street harassment as harmful – it is just harmless fun, and is often perceived as doing women the ‘favour’ of complimenting them. But harassment on the street is nothing less than an attack on women’s bodies.

[…] Men’s failure to empathise with women is also because the harassment is not really about the women themselves. It is about male sexual entitlement and it is about performing manhood – perhaps more for the sake of other men than for women.”

I have conversations with my girlfriends almost weekly, I see tweets and Facebook posts from friends almost daily, about such experiences. No matter how many times we say, “Leave me alone”, or show no interest, or put earphones in to block them out, they just don’t seem to accept that “No means NO”. This is rape culture, how a man can assume that each woman who passes by is fair game, how he can touch her intimately without knowing her or asking for permission to do so, how he can grope a woman in a public area because he knows no one will challenge him, how he can be amused by her anguish, how he  can forget her face and move on with his life while she panics each time she sees him… The list is too long.

Left: K Funk + right: Tatyana Fazlalizadeh

Their message is clear – our bodies belong to them, they are here for their pleasure. Because you know, I generally woke up wondering how I could please randoms. The idea that I love myself is beyond their understanding. I look good because I want to, not because I’m looking for validation. But looking good is besides the point, because even on a Frumpy Fred day, some dude thinks he can come up to me and try to be all up in my space. The clothes aren’t the problem. The attitude is.

The liver! It still shocks me shem. I mean, it shouldn’t, but every time something happens I’m like, “HOW is that an acceptable way to treat a human being?!” Like, there’s no logic to the messed up way that men insist on performing this masculinity schmasculinity.

But we will overcome.

Have you seen this video of men talking about ST? You’ll laugh. Shout out to Tiq for being the real MVP. We need more men like you. As for those men making this about them. I can’t even.

All of the SMH,

Dusty,

“When Black men are willing to do the work to challenge their own internalization of oppression and reject the dehumanization of Black women and themselves by proxy, they engage in a very radical self-love. […] Many Black men fear this because in their eyes, not dominating Black women means admitting to being weak. They have mistaken the utter weakness, destruction and oppression that patriarchy is and the fragile volatility of patriarchal masculinity for strength and courage. It is neither. It is an endless book of matches placed there by the hand of White supremacist capitalist patriarchy. Black men use them to set Black women on fire as they too die from smoke inhalation. My desire is for us to live and thrive, not to burn.”

–  Trudy/ Gradient Lair

When Women Stand Up

To the women of the revolution
Who don lipstick like war paint
Headwraps like armour
Defying the sky defying the patriarchy
You are magic.
As we took to the streets
There was thunder in the sky
And thunder in our hearts
And the most curious thing
Is that it rained
But did not dampen our spirits.
Watch how iimbokodo march the streets
And trample white supremacist capitalist heterosexist patriarchy
In the same breadth
As we trample racism.
Because this revolution will be intersectional
Or it will be bollocks.

See how we march with grace, with fierceness, with violent spirits
With a roar
And such beauty!
How are we not magic?
Mbokodo, lead.

Yours in power,
The Black Feather (AKA Relebone Rirhandzu eAfrika AKA Dusty Soul)

**This post was first published on black on white’s blog here.

“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!” ~ Maya Angelou