Black Intimacy

xhosa17People of colour do what they can to give their children good lives and education, breaking their backs trying to secure a bright future in the “Rainbow Nation”. As a result, most of us who went to these so called prestigious white private schools speak lovely English, we don’t even need to think of how to structure sentences, the language just floats off our tongues. How wonderful. How nice…

So growing up i dated guys who came from the same background and had the same privileges as me, spoke well and attended these black hating, white loving sweat shops. I matriculated with these blacks, attended varsity with these blacks, but it was during this time that I got to know more closely other people of colour. They didn’t fit my mould. I won’t lament much on the differences and similarities; you can fill the gaps yourselves. But suddenly found my social circle speaking more vernacular, not less English, but more Xhosa, more Zulu, more lokshin kulcha. I liked it. I loved how our languages sounded; I liked the guys that spoke them so easily.
I dated a guy from ekasi. I was drawn by how smart he was, not just book smart but the kind of intelligence that came with being a lokshin boy from a poor/working class family that has very reasonable dreams: to graduate, make an honest living and know that he’ll never again need to worry about his life not meeting Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs. He was gorgeous, I lusted over him more than I loved him. I didn’t love him, in fact

Moments with him were amazing, genuine, and my heart swelled in anticipation when I was with him. Finally came the day I went over to his res for a “movie night”. I remember I shaved that day. I usually don’t shave at all, but on this day in did. I reclined next to him on his bed, resting my head on his arm. We watched some rom-com with an all-white cast and a lot of pretty intense love scenes. Of course… So, sex happened, inevitably. It was entrancing, his body was amazing. However great this moment was, I caught myself being snatched violently from it at the sound of his Xhosa sex talk. It was unusual and uncomfortable, and I would respond with a dramatic moan at best. I just did not know how to respond, in Xhosa. I understood his words, but just could not find them. I feel stupid looking back on it now, but my growing up environment didn’t ever indicate that vernacular could be playful, or lustful, or romantic for that matter. I’d never seen Xhosa romance or Xhosa porn, and the most honest form of intimacy id seen between black people that didn’t cause a type of awkwardness was a hand shaking. Handshakes were firm, sure and shared with people you liked.

Anyway that was years ago. After this kind of experience, i thought hard about what the problem is. Im Xhosa speaking myself, but the idea of sex in my language was odd. Did this taint my black consciousness? I really thought I was one with my blackness, especially as I made an effort to become more and more informed as iv grown, keep my eyes were open to things I was blind to before. I knew I was too black for Camps Bay, but too white for the hood? Id never thought about that. But wait, surely not everybody had sex in English… As I dated more and slowly tried to decolonise my mind it became easier, I becoming okay with my blackness in a context that was hardly ever spoken about. I decolonised the ideas of how my body should look, how and what I should speak and feel, decolonised my sex life.
I had a conversation not so long ago with some friends, the topic was brought up by my guy friend, saying him and his boyfriend use English sex talk. We all contributed to the conversation, but the general consensus is that we’ve all had sex using English, even with partners with whom we shared the same language, and we all struggled with the idea of speaking our mother tongues during intimate moments with our partners. It was a mix of English and venac on streets, and strictly English in the sheets, and no one felt odd about it when in fact, it should’ve been the opposite. I’m sure a lot of “model c” (I’d never really known the history behind term, but I just accepted being referred to as one) English medium scholars will relate.

Before sitting to write this I created a Whatsapp group with my girlfriends so I can have a conversation about this topic with a bigger, diverse group of people. Those that did share really helped iron out the issue of black intimacy and how there are parts of it that still need to be decolonised. It’s easy to identify some ways in which blackness has been white washed, but sex is such a private thing, one does not wonder to think if we take it into our bedrooms as well. Of course not everyone’s intimacy has been scathed, there are those that naturally engage in intercourse in their mother tongue, but most of the women admitted to using the English language, most unconsciously. And faced with a partner who spoke vernacular during this moment if felt odd. I identified. We spoke broadly, and realised that most of us were having to unlearn what has been taught to us, having to detach ourselves from what we read in books and see on screen, because frankly, these platforms, that are majorly influential in the time were living in, don’t represent us. So, how do we normalize us, be okay with hearing/seeing black intimacy and accept our languages in all spaces, but especially deep, meaningful moments? The issue here is not that we speak English, the issue is that speaking our languages possibly causes clitorises to retract and render penises limp. We also discussed the finding beauty in our languages, as we’re all trying to learn to love the sound of our mother tongues during heated moments. We exchanged some phrases and terms that affected us positively. Below are a few beautiful and sexy e-cards created by Amandlezulu as an initiative to normalize black intimacy, we should see and hear them a lot more. Like a thesaurus of black kink…

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The objective of these intimate ecards is not only to normalize, but also educate those that are still a bit uncomfortable with vernacular during moments of love or lust.

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It is only when white wash thoughts and behaviour is perpetuated in all black spaces, without the presence of the watchful white eye and influence that one realises how deeply embedded whiteness affects us. To see blacks holding hands, or kissing, or simply endearing each other romantically will rouse feelings of dissonance, and if you’ve watched My Perfect Wedding, you’ll know it can cause social media uproar. Even the producers of the show milk this angle; the “hideous hilarity” of black people expressing love. One may argue that blacks aren’t really known for intimacy or public displays of affection. OK, however, that theory is not to say that we are void of feelings associated with love and lust, or that blacks do not perform those feelings. By virtue of black procreation that theory does not hold water. This leads me to the question, is the expression of black love hidden behind closed doors because the generational training enforced that it is ugly, or perhaps it’s just understood to be a private moment between two people? I think the latter is true. However we cannot escape that with colonisation came “the standard”… in all that we do there is the white standard that is often glorified and aimed for. Sometimes the line is blurred. Wanting to live in a spacious, resourceful residential area doesn’t make you any less black, wanting a nice car and nice clothes and money in the bank does not make you any less black. These are just the times we are living in, we all want comfortable lives. Speaking English if and when you want does not take away your blackness. What does show fractures in the black psyche is the lack of self-assuredness, needing the white template as a reference for everything we do.

As I’ve grown and familiarized myself with wonderful things that I hadn’t realised could be black I’ve come to love truly love hearing my language and like how its evolved and can shift form. The phrases, the colloquial, the gestures, it is poetry. One cannot dictate how all these inherent problems should be destroyed, but they must be as they are just as urgent as those that are performed physically. It doesn’t need to be a “movement“. It can just be you, and your partner, then friends, and likeminded people, then family and so forth. People like to wait for heroes, but heroes are often busy or also waiting for a hero, just as much as you.

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Big beautiful and unloveable

29 and never been loved? Its 2017 and im yearning, for love love, not that fast food kinda love. Some of my friends will be shocked because falling in love has never been a priority. Now here I am begging God, praying daily for someone to love me.
I the last time I felt anything close to a love secure and transcendent I was in high school. I’d met my boyfriend at the time through a mutual friend of ours. And he loved me; he moved cities to be with me, left his family and friends just for me. I was his only plan. How whimsical. I was still in matric, he had finished 3 years prior. Being 18 years old I was pretty convinced that I was a grown ass woman, and I sank deep into love and it felt amazing. I remember.
Our relationship lasted a year. I can’t remember why broke up, but we did anyway. I went through the heart ache. What followed thereafter was a series of situationships that left me a little sore but I moved passed them in one piece, because love, heartache, joy and pain are all the flavours of life. Being single is very familiar to me, it’s what I know best. For the most part I didn’t mind either because of the full awareness that none of the men I’d met were people I could tolerate for long periods of time, or honestly, because some were just not that into me. A lesson and sidenote: Ive got that bombass pussy, but I’m not good enough to love. Truly love… This has become a painful part of my existence. What’s wrong with me? No one wants to love me and yet I have a whole ocean of love to offer. An entire ocean dear God, I think I’m owed receipts.
Years after my high school boyfriend I fell in love with a beautiful man in 2009, with the biggest heart. He was sincere and gentle. He was big, a rugby player, and a coach for one of our provincial teams. I fitted perfectly in his arms. He was based in Joburg, whenever his team had games in Cape Town we would meet up. I think I loved him… I think he loved me, but it was definitely a situation, and one I entered into knowingly. Our lives were just different. I don’t regret anything. Love is energy, and energy is always moving, so eventually we both moved on.I don’t remember him doing me wrong or disrespecting me. He’s married now, to a woman who loves him. He’s the type of guy who deserves love, the deepest kind and I’m happy for him.
2012, December. The weather in Cape Town was amazing, perfect for love, lust, dancing and laughter. It was the perfect summer, my God. Chumisa insists that we “have to go to this concert, it’s going to be A-mazing”!! I can still see her excited face. I agreed to go because the Cape Town art scene was ablaze, we knew all the right people and occupied all the right spaces. That Friday after work Chumisa and Lerato arrived, we had pre-drinks then headed to The Afro Galactic Dream Factory. It was trippy as fuck and the best art experience I’v been to to date. That’s where I met the man who made my 2013 out of this world. Most of this relationship existed digitally, I was never more grateful for Skype and Whatsapp. I only saw my visual artist, musician, poet lover when he was in the country performing. He was based in Holland. I don’t think the fact that our relationship was supported by technology minimized the intensity of our love. Not at all. I loved this man and he loved me, but I could not have him in his physicality. Our shit was complex, painful. Life and time happened, and the space between our correspondences grew larger. He then went on to have a kid with some white woman, another addition to his two other brown babies. That was all the closure I needed. I knew he wanted a kid, I just we’d wait for each other.
Then, let me tell you about this trifflin ass lowlife I met in 2015, December in Lusikisiki. Lol we can cry laughing about it now, but when it was happening to me it was all tears of pain, the older I get the more urgent my realization for love is in my heart. And though it is scary, my heart is wide open to the prospect of happiness and devotion of one to another… When I met this Mpondo dude I was more than will to give myself to him. I mean, why half-ass it? Ridicule me if you like.
I had just returned from the Middle East where I lived briefly with a friend of mine who is originally from Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape. During her leave from her job as a flight attendant she invited me to visit. It was a bomb vacation, Lusiki is quite a crumby little town but its inhabitants are firebombs, always creating their own fun. “Amagoduka”: village/small town people who’ve returned home for vacation. Lol, don’t get me started on the God complex!!! I met this brother, he was a resident DJ at a local pub. What good can come from meeting someone etywaleni anyway?? We swapped numbers, called and texted briefly, then before I knew it the following month I was back in his hometown as his girlfriend, meeting his friends and family. I later learned that Amampondo throw around the term “Makoti” (wife) very loosely, and that the whole time the joke was on me. I was a made a door mat and a glorified booty call by a man who didn’t care for my feelings or dignity and always failed to be honest. This man publicly humiliated me on a number of occasions, directly and indirectly, each time minimizing the validity of my grievances. The heart wanting what the heart wants lead me densely astray on this one. Anyway good riddance. Hes married now, to his girlfriend of four years. I wish his wife all the best, anyway she BEEN knowing wassup. What a fucking knob. The sex was good though.
Each time, left alone. Any of these brothers could’ve easily chosen me, our circumstances could have been different, or I could’ve have just met someone who actually sees me, hears me, feels me… but this was never the case. I look around me and see things aligning for people, my friends, family all kinds of people. And though I am unaware of the complexities of their relationships, the point is that they are at least presented with the opportunity to try knead it out, make it work, submit to each other, support one another. But not me. Am I comparing? I don’t know. I don’t care. I just feel duped because every day I pray to God, creator of all things, my protector and provider. Can You respond? I pray, daily, silently and out loud: Give me someone to love, someone to love me, not for a few weeks or months. I want forever. Shit man, or at least a very fucking long time (Look at me compromising ALREADY). I don’t know this experience, and I will not apologize for wanting it. God, You sure make a lot of promises, and You fulfil most. I am not ungrateful for all that You have blessed me with. You hear my prayers daily, so NO I will not apologize. Right here and right now this is what I want!
Its 2017 and I was enjoying being single, zero complaints, soaking in the love and laughter I always shared with family and mates. I was minding my business during a night out with friends when I met a brother who totally swooned over me. I cannot over emphasize eagerness and seeming sincerity in this brother’s approach. I took a week to pray about. I figured, surely, meeting this man had God’s hand. I made a conscious decision to be present in this experience with this man. Three months into it I’ve never cried so much in life, or felt such deep heart ache over someone whose intensions seemed to be so pure. I do not feel loved, it does not feel like a relationship. Ok Tatu Thixo, so what the fuck now?! How could you allow this?
Too often I have been lured into traps that leave me doubting my worth. And as much as scream at You, You don’t answer. It’s just silence. You must be a man, a misogynist and a bigot… You know all I have is love and commitment and devotion. I thought the reason ive been mostly single during my lifetime is because You were preserving me for a man who’ll love and cherish me. But seemingly not. How will I know if I am a factory reject and destined to be alone and unloveable forever AMEN if You don’t communicate? How will I know to just continue praying for things like good health, blessings and peace in my heart , and STOP praying for love? Maybe im too ugly and too fat. But how when I am made in your glorious image?
And again: silence.

Welcome home, Makhosi

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I have lamented on the subject of this piece for a long time. Thina will tell you. Thanks for the patience, Makhosi😊… There’s so much I wanted to say, with passion and conviction. The reason for this delayed post is analysis, looking at the subject from different angles and avoiding writing a lot of hogwash about a subject too deep and wide and heavy to even know a fraction about. My lamentations lead me to conclude that I owe it to Thina and other Sangomas not to speak out of turn, and to anyone reading this not to go on on a tangent about my beliefs and opinions.

So I’ll present this just as is, a shared moment in the home coming of Thina Nondize. uMazulu. Thokoza gogo, we give thanks for your gift and hope that it brings light and comfort to the lives of those around you and yours, of course.

Ubungoma is a gift of spiritual divinity. It opens a channel of communication between the realm of the living and those who have passed into the realm of spirits, that is, our guides, our light bearers, our ancestors. As humans we all have a connectivity to those spirits that guide us, some call it intuition, a gut feeling, or sixth sense. It cannot be better described than just knowing, without knowing. Sometimes the result is what some may call coincidence. Sangomas, or diviners, or faith healers, psychics have a heightened connectivity to the spirit world, one they cannot shake or ignore. It is a destiny that higher powers (whether we believe them or not) have chosen for these gifted people, and often times it calls not only with the gift of “seeing” but also healing.

Modern day Sangomas have started using their divine gift of healing with conventional methods of healing, both medicinal and psychological. The impact of this is that it widens the scope of methodology of healing and also those that need the help get the help. And I am grateful, because how do you go to a western trained psychologist to try deal with the trauma of witchcraft, without being diagnosed as fuck up crazy?? Now it is possible, to deal with the external and internal scars.

Religion has also conditioned many people to abandon their indigenous faiths and submit to western religion, don’t get me started… However, in many intimate conversations, especially lately (I think it’s due to that increasing state of enlightenment in the formerly colonised) people have admitted to visiting faith healers and using muti for healing, cleansing and good luck. Ain’t no harm in it, I say. The world is rife with evil and darkness, seen and unseen. Self preservation makes a lot of sense.

I have engaged with some spiritual healer friends about subjects i battle a lot with, such as the concepts of hierarchy, race, religion and sexuality. I am desperate for clear concise answers. I want receipts. Dates and times!! But from my conversations I’ve learned only patience, with myself and others around me, seen and unseen. Initially I had hoped this article would unpack all these things, but they are not yet ready, perhaps nor am I.

Below are some more pictures from Mazulu’s special day, on a beautifully warm day in May, where all her loved ones, fellow Sangomas included, came out to show loved to this wonder girl, Thina ❤❤

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Moving through my space and time

Constantly in transit, even when lying perfectly still, in the deepest sleep, immobile, just breathing. Wishing. Thinking. Ever imaging, a brighter tomorrow, greener pastures, and for better days ahead. It is by virtue of all these things that we are always in the process of something, within and through time. The present.

I often roll my eyes at fake deep, pseudo conscious intellectual artist types, the “gentle brother/sister” and bazalwanes who often times (Especially on social media) make their stances vividly clear, on some “Here and Now. Live in the present” blah blah blah. However, when one takes time to cut away all the fat and dust off the fluff. Our truest truth is Here. Now. And Self.

“Be kind to yourself”a tshomi of mine once said after I had unpacked for her what a hoax my attempt at realizing my imagined success was, how my 20s have been a series of “WOW REALLY?” And “KWENZEKA NTON KE NGOKU??” and most of all, what consumed me the most- how im not allowed articulate my struggles and how, like many people, I have been programmed to always paint a pretty picture. Never failing. Ndicela sithethe inyani guys, that shit is tough. It is heavy. And sometimes it hurts, hard.

Being black, middle/working class, living in a recently [not so recently] democratic  South Africa comes with a lot of dreams that were sold to our parents, who later sold tose dreams to us. Most of my friends and I have parents who work very hard and encouraged us to work too because VIVA UHURU! Right? But there is nothing more heart aching than waiting patiently for the ends of a valiant battle and having the sun set on those dreams time and time again.

Dear Democracy, there are far too many of my brothers and sisters who work their asses off to pass matric just for them not to have a means of getting to varsity, let alone completing a course., there are far too many of us who are well studied and qualified at tertiary level just for us not to find decent work. There are far too many of us who settle for shitty jobs, because rent is due and life is happening, but don’t earn enough to live comfortably above the breadline. We have been guinea pigs of democracy, knowing it very well, from a place of Blackness. Maybe we’ll raise our children differently, having tasted this version of freedom, and understanding the power prayer and truth.

So im constantly having to edit the timeline I had planned out for myself when I was 18, I don’t have a companion to have and hold unconditionally, and exclusively, my six pack is still pending, and my bank account sertainly does not have enough zeros in it. Dear God, Uphi kanti?! Are not the ultimate Blesser? Uthuleleni? Where the fuck are You? Uthini ngam umntwanakho? Sound familiar? That desperate aching, vision clouded by fear and doubt. Its during these times (sometimes. Not often enough) I remember Here. Now. Because honestly, that’s all we have.

Here and now I am sitting on my beautiful four poster bed, sipping a delicious red wine, navigating my way through this text that you are now reading. Here and now I am strong because I know love from all the right energies. Here and now I embody a beauty organic, must be how my lox land so perfectly around my face, or the caramel glow of my skin. Here and now ndimhle shem… Here and now I am tuned in, happy. And that is everything.tumblr_n8h2513gK31rsadwno1_500

Black Woman in “The World”

Not only am I over weight, female and black, but I am also wide awake to consequences of being all these things in “the world”. Existing somewhere at the bottom of the food chain, the food that “the world” does not even want to consume. Everything that lives and exists in the world is measured and dictated by the white men, sometimes women who come from a lineage of enslavement, oppression, capitalism, misogyny and fetishization of everything they manipulated and killed to owning.

Violent and difficult to swallow as this may be it was the truth at the beginning of colonisation and has morphed with time into an animal that devours black culture and spits out black people. This is not written with the intent to anger black people to mobilization and “burn it all down” (That’s a conversation for another day). However with all the above said, I’m lead to wonder, does the world really not see the beauty and strength that is black women, in all their shapes and shades? Nyani?…

This excerpt is taken from my Tumblr blog. Read more here Black Woman in “The World”

Reboot. Refesh. Restart.

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The beautiful view of  Durban City Hall from our hotel room at The Albany Hotel. Was so good to be kissed by the sun while the rest of SA was in the depths of Winter.

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Cafe Limone on Florida Road. Here we met a brother whose mouth what stacked full of gold teeth. Really felt like Durban 🙂 The service was good and so was the food, I would definitely go back. Shout out to our waiter for always making sure my glass was never empty 🙂 This was Friday afternoon, we popped in for brunch so it was not busy at all and the scenery through the big french windows was great.

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These women showed me so much love during my stay in Durban, it was truly a time of more transition, a time where i really needed good friends and support. Kuli Mankayi, Ncebakazi Dlamini and Takalani Ndou are real inspirations and what i believe all young black girls should be taught to aspire to, living a life of faith, ambition and liberation. The kind of stuff fairy book tales should be made of; black excellence, happiness and things…

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I’m sure some of you will remember the TV series by Mara Brock Akil, Girlfriends. The sitcom was based of the lives of four friends, Joan, Maya, Lynn and Toni who face life’s tests and triumphs together. From dating to divorce and friends, to family to relationships. Ring a bell? During this week with these women i felt like i was in one of the episodes, and it had a happy ending.

As some of you have come to know, i can be an inferno of more emotions than brains, taking decisions at a whim, especially where my pride is involved. Yet again i had reached a fork in the road, as far as my career is involved. It was during this week that i had to decide whether to go back to a job that did not satisfy me or continue riding the wave of inspiration in which the company i was in had engulfed me. Well, of course i chose the latter, it was during this refreshing trip to sunny Durban that i made the decision on my next career move. And i fear it, i love it, it is everything i love and hate, but is this not what ones twenties are about? Taking chances; crashing and burning,and rising to meet your happiness… I dunno man. YOLO. YOLO Zime, always remember, you only live once.

Day Ones

2014 I am glad you are gone, and will never visit again. Thanks for going. Thanks for the goodness you gave me, through harsh lessons and the occasional warm feeling each time I worked on a project I loved or spoke to my Day Ones.

I spent too much of 2014 in my bedroom, windows closed, eyes and ears wide open to the sounds of other peoples laughter and conversations as they went about their day, living. Tears always elude me, but in this year I knew tears like never before, like a night time ritual. The tension in my throat, the warmth of my tears, the puffiness of my eyes, the blocking of my nose, and the irritation of not having a tissue at hand should forlornness arrive unexpectedly in my bed. What a mess.

December came; it was very silent, I needed and appreciated the peace. Most of the people who live at my complex had all “gone home” left the city and gone back to their hoods, small towns and villages as usually done by black South Africans come the Festive Season. I was not looking forward to my 8hour, 687.6 kilometre trip home, jobless, empty handed, with no good news to tell…

My favourite fruit and veg spot. Downtown Jozi!

My favourite fruit and veg spot. Downtown Jozi!77608x204x179

Mihlali and Nhlanhla Mimi and Charlie arrived in Johannesburg on the 17 December, it was a Wednesday. I remember using my last R 40.00 to buy veggies and braai pack so I can feed my beloved guests. I arrived at O.R Tambo International airport to pick up my homies, and they looked beautiful. Packed in their bags, amongst other things, was happiness. These kids brought me so much joy. Nothing else mattered. And for the 1st time in 2014 I hosted the best dinner party ever, good food, good wine and the best company. I laughed, with all my heart and with all my might. This is how it feels to be loved.

My lovers. Light bearers. Truth keepers. Comedy central.

My lovers. Light bearers. Truth keepers. Comedy central.                                                                      (Roadtrip 2014, 18 December 2014)