#Me too? #MeTwo and #ProbablyAllOfUs

 

Text: Athinangamso Esther Nkopo

Photograph: Supplied

If you did not see the many stories shared by women on their experiences of sexual violations under the hashtag ‘Me too’ recently, then you probably aren’t on social media. Sparked by recent disclosures of Hollywood women who experienced sexual violations at the hands of Harvey Weinstein, the ‘Me too’ campaign has impacted women world wide. The crusade was originally started by a black woman and activist Tarana Burke 10 years ago to encourage a conversation and support among women who had been victims of sexual violence, long before the time of hashtags. She was scarcely recognised for it this time round, an issue that resulted in heated conversations about appropriation and solidarity among black and white women, an issue I will later reflect on.

Thinking about this campaign in our own context is perplexing considering that South Africa leads the world in terms of sexual violence. We, of all the countries on earth that are not at war, host among the highest ratio of men who violate, in some form or the other, women.Think about that! If there were, between April 2016 and December 2016, 30 069 cases of rape reported, 3 in 4 of which are not reported, then there are conservatively, 120 276 men raping people in this country every 9 months. This statistic scarcely accounts for the gropers, ‘dirty talkers’, spikers and cat callers.

Over the past week, the many women who shared their stories of sexual violation represent only those on social media and capable of expressing their suffering through these means. But as many as did share demonstrates that not many of us, if any, are untouched by the ugly and routine reality of men to violate us at will and often with impunity. In South Africa then, the revelation of ‘Me too’ does not have the shock value it does for the many who clutched their pearls upon seeing the hashtag. There is no surprise when statistically, out of the 1 in 4 cases of rape that are reported, 1 in 5 of us will be raped in our life time. Add to this the cases of sexual harassment in the work place, on university campuses, at our schools and so very often in our own homes. We are, in Hortons Spillers’ famous formulation, marked women.

Issues of sexual violation are further compounded by the racialised disparities of sexual violation in our country. This may be how my timeline on Facebook was lit with arguments about how my ‘Me too’ and that of a white woman, do not have the same powers of communicability. If that were the case, white liberal feminism in this country would not have ‘chilled out’ once Affirmative Action had helped them exceed their quotas in the work place, for example. Many made the case that there can be no solidarity between black women and white women when considering the ways in which they are violated at the intersections of racism and patriarchy. When white women only recognise the possibilities of violation only at the point where they are able to say “MeToo”. This is reminiscent of James Baldwin’s experience in “The Black Boy Looks at the White Boy”.

In this essay Baldwin takes us through a friendship with a white boy and those moments when his state of blackness inspires, in the white boy, emancipatory dreams. In the end he expresses how it felt for him to suddenly realise the impossibility of these dreams emancipating him. “[T]he really ghastly thing about trying to convey… the reality of the Negro experience has nothing whatever to do with the fact of colour, but has to do with this (the white person) man’s relationship to his own life. He will face in your life (the black person) only what he is willing to face in his” (1961, 175) brackets mine. Baldwin is speaking to relations among men but what is analogous here is the racial factor that mitigates these relations of solidarity. He demonstrates that their solidarity was fruitful only to the extent that the white boy was able to say, “Me too.”. Beyond that was absence and glaring silence.

No silence is more glaring on the part of the South African feminist movement (The feminist movement as it REALLY matters, the white liberal feminist movement) than that on sexual violations enacted, amass and by the hour, on the bodies of black women. When black women, young and old are routinely raped and killed, white liberal feminists are silent, that is if they are not cashing in. When black lesbian women are brutalised, ‘correctively’ raped’ and murdered the white LGBTQ+ movements cannot even spare a moment of silence at their suburban Pride parties. When young black women are raped harassed and violated at, say, Wits Junction, Azania house(UCT), the UCKR (Rhodes), at NMMU or literally every institution of higher learning at disproportionate rates in this country, white feminist academia is mum. No #RapeMustFall marches to shut down cities, no days off work, no ‘Zuma Must Faaaaall’ grannies choreographing lit moves against the sexual violation of black domestic workers in their kitchens or the endemic rape affecting the majority of black women in this country.

Understandably, black women are skeptical of saying ‘Me too’ with white women when the champion of that very healing crusade cannot be acknowledged as Tarana Burke but credit is given to Alyssa Milano. What happens when they are no longer as affected? What happens after their research is concluded? Where is their cause without our bodies to vivify it? What refuge do we have with whiteness? What solidarity as ‘just’ women?

Sadly we have no refuge in the arms of our own self-identifying black movements either. Not only because black men are, in the main, the ones raping black women, or that black men comrades are raping black women comrades. But because black men continue to protect each other at the expense of our bodies. Yes even those black men who are suddenly ‘shook’ because it is happening to women they know on Facebook (sisters, daughters, friends and family) as though sexual violence against women they don’t know matters less. Supposedly good men and cadres laugh at the jokes made at our expense, they defend and play devils advocate when we come out and say we have been violated and they turn a blind eye at violent behaviour from other men, euphemistically calling sexually violent behaviour ‘tendencies’.

There’s nobody but ourselves to ‘Me too’ to. For us it’s not just patriarchy, it is the structural power of both Whiteness and Patriarchy that compound our experiences as denigrated forms of life. For us it is both; #MeTwo.

 

Tjovitjo – For Us By Us

 

Text: Kulani Nkuna

Photography: Simphiwe Mhlambi

 

For Azanians, our lives, our experiences and existence is the copyrighted sole property of a settler minority who have appointed themselves narrators of black life. In the arts and academia, this proprietorship is the normalised reality that artists of the land have to contend with in order to collect the crumbs meted out by the free market system. Continue reading “Tjovitjo – For Us By Us”

Ankobia – Essential Theatre

Introduction
Blacks should flock en masse to see Ankobia, a labour of black love written by Monageng “Vice” Motshabi and Omphile Molusi. Motshabi also donned the directorial hat on this production that wrestles violently with the psyche of an assimilated, indoctrinated and ultimately, a dominated people. This is honest theatre that conceals nothing, forcing the audience to deal with their continued complicity in their dispossession. The production equally forces the oppressor to see their sustained privilege play out on stage as they continue to hold onto the levers of power through a puppet government. Tis dem forces of evil (“white-supremacist-capitalist-patriarchy”) that attempts to suppress what seems to be a perpetual state of rebellion for black folks in this play set in 2041. The play will leave you shook, discombobulated and feeling some typa way. – Kulani Nkuna. Continue reading “Ankobia – Essential Theatre”

An Open Letter to Prof Ngidi: The Decolonisation Rhetoric at CUT

 

Dear Prof Ngidi

“The unpreparedness of the educated classes, the lack of practical links between them and the mass of the people, their laziness, and, let it be said, their cowardice at the decisive moment of the struggle will give rise to tragic mishaps.”

Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth

Continue reading “An Open Letter to Prof Ngidi: The Decolonisation Rhetoric at CUT”

Rescuing Black Consciousness from Decenteredness & Irrelevance

Writer: Itumeleng Makale

Photograph: SA History Online

A paradigm of decenteredness and dislocation gets people swimming in the pool of “universalism” which is, in fact, a set of concepts with their branches in whatever number of irrelevant African Consciousness disorientating epistemological twist. Afrikans would do anything in their power to defend Eurocentric paradigms. Seizing the Power to Define, and not being a stooge of AKKKademia/AKKKademons and white logic, is the only entry point into independently forming self-concept as Afrikans and developing an epistemological Framework within which it will find its expression in different forms of disciplines and their related areas of practice. Black Consciousness without Afrocentricity as its paradigmatic foregrounding is nothing but a sterile intellectual conduit of a people with a decentred ideology without a worldview assuming all of the European/Arab/Asian philosophical throw-up, our minds have been raped with in the mentacide camps you call universities, as universal. That’s why you have Indian heroes in your BC tradition!

Continue reading “Rescuing Black Consciousness from Decenteredness & Irrelevance”

Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe 90 Years of Struggle, Suffering & Sacrifice

Text: Thando Sipuye

Photograph: Wits Historical Archives

Today, 27th July 2017, marks the 90th birthday anniversary of Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe, the forgotten, ignored and erased ‘Mother of Azania’ who has endured unspeakable suffering, struggle and pain.

She will celebrate her 90th birthday, as usual, in private, at her humble home, with family and close friends. There will be no glamour, no journalists, and no live broadcast. And quite frankly, the saddest part is that most people aren’t even aware that she’s still alive. Continue reading “Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe 90 Years of Struggle, Suffering & Sacrifice”

Imperialists First Capture Your Leaders Then Your Country

Text: Veli Mbele

Photograph: Supplied

Those who know me more intimately, know that one of the revolutionary movements and revolutionary leaders, I admire-is Hamas and its leader, Khaled Meshaal.

One of the things that fascinates me most about Hamas is their emphasis on internal security-as the first and last line of defence of a revolutionary movement. Continue reading “Imperialists First Capture Your Leaders Then Your Country”

Response to Richard Pithouse

Writer: Athi Mongezeleli Joja

Image: Africa Research Institute

In a recent Mail & Guardian Richard Pithouse published another of his dishonest articles titled, The ANC is Misusing the Land Question. Pithouse prefaces his thesis by way of a sequencing of historical events that trace collective resistances against the commodification and dispossession of land. Perhaps his voyage from antiquity to the present isn’t only to refresh our memory of the historical longue duree of the struggle against privatisation of public and conquered land but also to pepper his annotations with a dash of scholarly vigour it deserves. This kaleidoscopic choice of events typically begins with running commentaries on the histories of the mother countries and towards the end somewhat climaxes, as always is the case, with the classical discourse on how in Africa these dreams explode into nocturnal monstrosities. Suppose Pithouse’s earnest inclination is to compose a trace of shared struggles and that it is inconsequential that his departure point is the colonial centre, the West. In fact, through this universalist reach, a systematic mission of elisions and falsifications is under way – a deadly ideology of conquest hiding behind a semi-conscientious objection. Continue reading “Response to Richard Pithouse”

Erasing Black Women From Her-story: June 16 Student Uprising & The Erasure Of Women

Writer: Thando Sipuye

Photographs: SA History Online

Two weeks ago marked 41 years since the Soweto Students’ Uprising that took place on the 16th of June 1976, a day that ushered a decisive turning point in the liberation struggle in Azania (SA).

Today the day is a celebrated national holiday re-branded as ‘Youth Day’, a day in which contributions of young people in the liberation project are usually evoked and celebrated. In fact, the whole month of June has become christened as ‘Youth Month’. Continue reading “Erasing Black Women From Her-story: June 16 Student Uprising & The Erasure Of Women”

Ode To Black

ode to black -culture review magazine
Black is the colour of mourning and melancholy. Black epitomises stealth; it is
central to clandestine ventures and cool lonesomeness. Black is the colour of
executive cars, gadgets, accessories and clothing. Eternally beautiful, Black is the
colour of the universe, the infinite deep dark unknown abyss. Black is a wormhole,
mysterious and ever-receding, absorbing everything around it and revealing
nothing. Black is all colours mixed together, perhaps the sum of the visible. Black is
the only colour without light, though full and empty.

Continue reading “Ode To Black”

A Beautiful Struggle

Text: Flo Foundation

Photography: Flo Mokale

Thabo “Flo” Mokale, father and founder of the Flo Foundation has always been a lover of images. Whether it’s through his poetry or performances, he always strives to capture the mind with the magic of his visual and spoken imagery. Continue reading “A Beautiful Struggle”

When Malema Doesn’t Perform

Julius Malema politician in red

Writer: Thato Rossouw

Photograph: Siphosihle Mkhwanazi

I practice what any right-minded person would refer to as layman, armchair politics – ya’ know, the type to never get me invited to be part of any ANN7 political panel – and, as a result, my understanding of the current South African political landscape is as shitty as Madam Hoarse-Voice’s claim that she was suspended from the DA because she’s White (I mean really, what the fuck is wrong with this woman?). Anyway, because of how shitty my understanding of South African politics is, whenever something major happens in the country’s politics, I draw my inspiration for the analysis of such events from the grammatically incorrect and sometimes half-baked political analyses that I usually find myself perusing through on my Facebook timeline. Continue reading “When Malema Doesn’t Perform”

Zwelethu Mthethwa’s Dark Fall From Grace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writer: Sfiso Atomza

Photograph: Pregnant woman blue: Inner views by Zwelethu Mthethwa

I never knew about Zwelethu Mthethwa, a South African Artist and now Murderer. He created socially engaged work, large-scale, gorgeous photographs of the marginalized citizens of his native South Africa, they spoke of him. His color-saturated portraits made no mistakes in capturing subjects like migrant workers and Christian missionaries, whose expression speak so much of a familiar story. Continue reading “Zwelethu Mthethwa’s Dark Fall From Grace”

Review – The Suit

Writer: Sibusiso Mkwanazi

Photographs: Supplied

“Umtsetse”. That is one of those words that seems not to exist in the English language. It is the “fold” that is ironed into a pair of pants. This line separates the men from the boys and the girls from the ladies. Can Themba’s The Suit does this with surgical precision as it clearly differentiates right from wrong, no matter the justification. Continue reading “Review – The Suit”

Sabelo Soko – Umkhondo

Poet Sabelo Soko Umkhondo. Culture Review

Writer: Xolani Tembu

Photograph: Musa N Nxumalo

Listening to Sabelo Soko’s second offering, Umkhondo, one can almost hear echoes of Sipho Mabuse’s Thaba Bosiu, those of the iconic Madala Kunene’s Ubombo and even Hugh Masekela’s Stimela. Needless to say, this album sets Soko hills apart from his compeers, certainly earning him the esteemed title ‘Bra’ Sabza. Continue reading “Sabelo Soko – Umkhondo”

The Brutal Murder Of Matlhomola Jonas Mosweu


Text: The Black Power Front Statement
Photograph: The Black Power Front

Reacting to the murder of the 18-year-old Black boy, Michael Brown Jr, by a white police officer, Darren Dean Wilson in August 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri, Michael Jeffries wrote:

“…anti-blackness more accurately captures the dehumanization and constant physical danger that black people face. The “anti” in “anti-blackness” is denial of black people’s right to life.’ Continue reading “The Brutal Murder Of Matlhomola Jonas Mosweu”

Umzi Watsha – The Politics of (im)patience

 

Photography: Ayabonga Cawe

Text: Ciko Story Concepts

We live in compelling times. South Africa’s trajectory is shifting and its custodians are growing in consciousness – and in action. The times call for deep, meaningful and honest reflection and conversation. This is needed in order for us to enjoy a fruitful translation of those convictions in the immediate spaces we occupy. ‘UmziWatsha- The politics of (im) patience’ puts this under the spotlight. Continue reading “Umzi Watsha – The Politics of (im)patience”

We’re Done Talking To White People

fuck white

Writer: Xola Skosana

Photograph: Supplied

We should stop fooling ourselves, bending over backwards trying to explain ourselves to white people. We have done enough talking in this country, we have four Nobel Peace Laureates to prove our stupidity. We have written long winded speeches to impress upon whites that South Africa is an abnormal society.

Continue reading “We’re Done Talking To White People”

16 Shots

Photography: Musa N. Nxumalo

Writer: Percy Mabandu

SMAC Gallery is proud to present 16 Shots, Musa N. Nxumalo’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. This new body of work comprises sixteen photographic prints that continue the themes and focus of Nxumalo’s ongoing project, The Anthology of Youth.

Continue reading “16 Shots”

The Contested Legacies And Continued Erasure of Bantu Biko and Mangaliso Sobukwe After 94

Writer: Veli Mbele
Photograph: Supplied

The state ceremony that took place at uMgcina’s grave (Bantu Biko) recently, predictably ignited endless and emotionally-charged conversations, particularly within the Black Consciousness and Pan Afrikanist circles, with some going as far as describing what happened at Biko’s grave as a “disgrace” and “insult”, to both Biko and Mangaliso Sobukwe. For those who don’t know, there is a deeper and more painful context to these emotionally-charged and legitimate reactions. Continue reading “The Contested Legacies And Continued Erasure of Bantu Biko and Mangaliso Sobukwe After 94”

Marat/Sade: A View From The Colony

Writer: Ziyana Lategan
Photographs: Oscar O’ryan

The Baxter Theatre’s 2017 staging of Peter Weiss’ The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of Marquis de Sade or Marat/Sade is without doubt, superbly performed. The stage, made to look like the inside of an asylum, made to look like a stage, was perfectly Brechtian in its effect. The audience, functioning as the actual audience in the asylum, was constantly made complicit in the spectacle of the performance Continue reading “Marat/Sade: A View From The Colony”

Celibacy Blues

InGlorious_Home_Emdeni_Soweto__0008 (1)

Writer: Ms Doo-Wop
Photograph: Musa N. Nxumalo

I had a conversation with a friend of mine the other night. Both of us are new in America, five months into our ‘international degrees’ and already feeling the emptiness of the promise of awayness.

We have both left lovers back home.

It is not that he does not have the opportunity to cheat or that he doesn’t want to. What he is afraid of is the freedom that comes with being anonymous. Continue reading “Celibacy Blues”

Blackness As A Permanent State of Nervousness

race-diversity

Text: Veli Mbele
Photograph: Supplied

Nothing best expresses the totalising-all-consuming-debilitating power of whiteness than the psychosis wherein statements by Blacks such as “we want our land back or “we must build Black power”- makes some Black people so nervous that they sometimes slide into self-induced depression (on behalf of the whites they know or love).

Continue reading “Blackness As A Permanent State of Nervousness”

Ke e rekilemachina-eng

bhk
Writer: Blackhouse Kollective
Photography: Blackhouse Kollective

the blackhouse kollective educational exhibition at bree taxi-rank,during december 2016, publicly defied the rainbow reconciliation farce. displaying work titled sankofa – lest we forget, our exposition was greeted by police bullying. shabbily donned street-vendors poised helplessly at the receiving end of that police violence.

Continue reading “Ke e rekilemachina-eng”