But Blacks June 16 pain don’t count

 

The sketch drawn by white pupil from Selborne College

 Text: Mbuya Nehanda

Image: White Artist

#ButBlacks; Let me remind you: kaloku sana you live in a racist society. And in such a society racism is the NORM, a norm that can only reproduce itself. Meaning: fuck your pain!

 

Check (e.g.): The facts behind the theft of The Apartheid Museum by Gold Reef City Casino original-owners – which you all find yourselves loving as a reputable historical monument of the trauma we experienced under Apartheid. The damned structure was built by the same racist who sold our mothers skin whitening products during apartheid- ‘beauty-creams’ laced with poisonous chemicals. Let’s just pause and think about what that contradiction means, for a second.

 

Let’s take the Nazi and Jews case, for example. Nobody in the world would dare allow a Hitler to erect a Holocaust museum for the Jewish people. Nobody but the Jewish people themselves as the victims of the Holocaust have the right to tell the story of their pain and trauma. But you blacks have that Gold Reef City Casino original-owners, people who inflicted pain on an entire generation of black women and men- granted permission by your government to tell the story of your pain and trauma. How can the hunter tell the story of a lion he aimed at, shot, maimed, killed, skinned, and turned (its remains) into a conquest trophy?  Is it imaginable that people who left evidence of those physical scars called amachubaba on our parent’s faces (our people’s otherwise Black and Beautiful faces) – be the ones to tell the story of how we feel, and how we should remember and heal from their unprovoked assault?

 

Welcome to New South Africa: Where you have such violent people entrusted by your forgiving and peaceful Mandela to craft your memory of history. A history of persecution in the hands of colonial domination and Apartheid trauma (a system declared by UN: as a “crime against humanity”. Your humanity). Yet, in democratic South Africa you have such unrepentant racist who profited from the evil system of apartheid invested in helping you heal? For freaking real?

 

Well, if you care to follow the trail of facts leading to the cause for why our South African version of Hitler became entrusted with the task of recounting the memory (of pain) of people he persecuted, killed and made self-serving gains out of ( their pain), you will see the glaring marks of ANC collusion behind the scenes. Here’s one obvious tell-tale: Allowing the story of a people- a people persecuted by their enemies- to be told by the very same culprits or enemies is an unheard of contradiction. It is travesty that owes its brazen vulgarity not only to the fact that the ANC government knew and put a stamp of approval to this unimaginable injustice, but at the heart of it all this travesty speaks to how a Mandela-led ANC’s sellout plan in fact had in mind –from the very beginning- to work with these racist in order to help them sanitize and deodorize their racist stench so that he (Mandela and the ANC) can benefit in the blood encrusted crumbs of Black-pain that these Gold Reef City Casino original-owners were quite happy to throw at Mandela (and his ANC cabal), like a bone to a dog. We see the same travesty in Lonmin massacre- Ramaphosa going around shaking the hands of the voter with hands still dripping with miner’s blood.

 

With all that sellout ethos forming the social fabric of post ’94 mode of reality, do you really expect a white kid educated and raised in this cowntry to give a rat’s ass about your June16 pain, trauma and loss? No dali! It don’t work like that.

 

Black folk, hear me well; the pain, the loss and trauma you suffered when black children were murdered in cold blood in 1976, DOES NOT BELONG TO YOU.

 

Your pain, the loss and trauma was part of what the ANC negotiations traded in in their Kempton Park Faustian Pact wheeling and dealing. Yes, your pain, your loss, your trauma, does not matter. Because you are not human in the face of a racist society. Effectively, you are just a slave, a thing to be despised, flogged and disposed, – no different to ones we see on social media dehumanized in Libya. Racism, like colonialism, is violence in its natural form. It cares for nothing but itself. It says: fuck your loss, fuck your tears, fuck your memory and fuck the valorized minstrelsy or parade of Hector Peterson’s lifeless-body you mindlessly evoke every-“Youth-Day”. That’s racism at its most normal and commonsense state.

 

Lastly and most importantly. You may also want to ask yourself: how come a powerful moment of Black defiance became represented by a lifeless-body of a little boy, instead of the brave Black faces of young-women and young-men who read the times, organized, mobilized, led from the front of the battle line, braved bullets on that day? The Black powered youth who gave a nuclear-powered military Apartheid regime fits, headaches and sleepless nights? How does Black Power defiance end up with an “iconic image” of a dead-child as its global symbol? We know that the helpless child in Mbuyisa Makhubu’s hands was not even the first to be shot, as the media would have us believe. So, the burning question becomes: Why is the image of a lifeless-helpless-body of a child more palatable an organizing global image to represent the self-determination feat of a nation putting its foot down and drawing a line in the sand saying: ‘we shall not be conscious of who we truly are, yet quietly let white-racist-regime walk all over us’? The question to ask really is: how did this broken, powerless, desperate image of a child end up being chosen as the more palatable Black Solidarity rallying imagery over the real Black Powered imagery of Soweto youth standing up to and against racism apartheid?

 

The youth of Soweto were bold. Defiant. Beautiful. And Black! They were Biko’s children whose bravery is comparable to Toussaint L’ouverture, Dutty Boukman and Dessalines of Haitian Slave Revolution. Biko’s Black Power children are comparable only to the Sharpeville-Langa warriors – warriors lead by Prof Sobukwe in 1960. They were products of Tiro’s consciousness-raising project – a project targeted and tailor-made for school-going students. And their historical narrative of the Soweto Uprising is carried by this image? You may want to ask yourself.

 

You may want to ask: Whose interests does it serve, to represent that powerful historic moment of potent black youth with an arbitrary victim’s name and a lifeless body of a child? Who is responsible for erasing the real history of June16 ’76? Who is behind the erasure of Ongkopotse Tiro from the narrative of June16 ’76? Why are we told to commemorate “Youth Day” when white-youth were not victims of the violence on that day?

 

I ask again. Why should your trauma, your loss and pain matter black child? You have no trauma/loss/pain to call your own in a racist society. That’s the lesson of racism that this defaming, defacing and insulting portrait communicates. Dzeal!

 

#EndRacism#ReturnTheLand

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Church-boy Heartbreak

 

Refiloe Lepere 20171107_162101

Text: Ms Doo Wop

Photograph: Supplied

My little sister crept into my room late last night, her hand balled in to a fist I immediately recognized.

A selfish child, she had perfected the curl of fingers around special objects. A bully at heart, I had practiced to an art, the slow effort of massaging her fingers until they unfurled to reveal whatever delicacy our grandmother had gifted to her favourite child.

So, on this night I let her in my bed and went to work, prying gently, loosening joints, stretching fingers, to find in her palm, her heart wrapped in a bible verse. John 4, the perfect psalm for the woman who has come to understand the secret pain of the Samaritan woman.

Church-boy heart break is a special kind.

You are stale water he spits out.

You are shallow well to his holy thirst.

I tell my sister how God’s Chosen Son sat me down 12 months into our loving. In a private place so no one would see me cry, Church-boy told me They would not accept us.

His pastor said I was ungodly.

Ungodly.

I repeat it three times to break the spell but the words turn to salt in my mouth.  Raised in a family that Christian-worships on Easter weekend and burns impempho with our daily bread, thee God’s love has never been in my lexicon.

Ungodly he had said and as hard as I wanted to be free of it, I knew nobody I told would fully understand the punch to the gut. They had not witnessed the nights God’s Chosen Son, tired as he was from his journey, lay down by my well declaring forever and offering prophesies of a future I could not imagine he would deny.

Three times.

I whisper reassuring things as I rock my sister to sleep. I remind her of the Samaritan woman’s first question to the Chosen Son: “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?”

#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.

 

Black Artistry

 

Writer: Rithuli Orleyn

Photograph: Musa N. Nxumalo

 

It’s a known fact that Blacks don’t have land and are therefore without the primary source of wealth. But Blacks are talented as fuck. There is no reason why so many of us, 13 million we are told, must live under the so-called breadline. Blacks are so driven they come to Jo’burg, live on a couch (at a friend’s place who is long gatvol with their black-ass), subsist on insults, survive backstabbing, undiagnosed depression, and miraculously end up producing your favorite TV show or starring on your controversial TV series – all because they were asked to write a few songs and voila a Viola Davis intense-brilliant Vathiswa Ndara actress is born/discovered/recognized ( add ‘self-taught’ when you recognize how amazing Black people are, even against odds…. perhaps because of how odds are stacked against us).

A Viola, in her mid-to-late 40s emerges underneath the contracted musical score. A Dr Malinga from no-where mesmerizes the nation as his years trot to the grave. We, the nation, the audience if you like, are the Jonny-come-late to these amazing godly creatures. Take a black person, anywhere on God’s blue(s) earth, a Black who went as far as standard two -grade 4…. for my born-frees and former Model Cs- (don’t scratch your head, you do know of an exceptionally talented person who hardly completed primary school – the president of the republic, is actually not the exception, but rather the rule when it comes to Blacks who defy the odds of falling through the cracks. And ghetto/blackness cracks are no ordinary cracks, they are great canyons with insatiable appetites for us all).

So you get Blacks, talented as fuck, better than Vusi Nova, much better than Ifani, rotting away. Blacks who sing far much better than Lira and J Lo, packing 2kg frozen chicken at Farmer-White Chicken. Filmmakers holding a stint at a local Internet Cafe (owned by someone other than an entrepreneur from the community). You find novelists and essayists at a debt-collection call-centre. Your children’s nanny from Slovo squatter-camp with a bachelor’s matric certificate not studying but cleaning after so-called middleclass spoilt brats, all because no one went before them to inspire and open doors for them, no-one went ahead to make restless their imagination. Because Msobomvu (then), NYDP/DA (now) only sponsors projects that lack imagination. They will give you money if you want to set up a butchery or want branding for a cleaning tender company. And they will send the guy who wants to start a real competitive ghetto-bred relevant-content broadcasting station (with innovative infrastructure to cut costs) from IDC (I don’t care) proverbial pillar to MDDA dumb doff pillar.

Now I speak here of land in terms of wealth or property. Mostly I try to avoid those terms. But let’s indulge this land-property dimension a little. Land is property we don’t have, that’s a given. But our talents, in the arts, at least, produce copious property-equivalents. Take for instance copyright royalties, publishing rights, and registered trademarks (we all know about please-call me intellectual labour invention that’s worth billions, and we also all know about The Apartheid Museum trademark that’s worth billions). Those two billion rand worth Black inventions aren’t the only ones. I know of young people who invented battery devices from studying YouTube videos, others invented television infrastructure that confounded Prime Media bosses. All that imagination by restless young Black goes to waste because people who are supposed to take these young people by the hand look forward to state tenders and political connections for get-rich-quick schemes.

Let’s go back to the easy music examples. If artists owned their publishing rights, by the time the artist’s song features in an advertisement for 15 seconds it collects between R50 000 to R 100 000 depending on whether you are Jonas Ngwangwa (with Grammies and Samas) or Mgarimbe (with dololo nominations). Same with your song featuring in Tsotsi. My point: with little horizontal imagination from our already hard working people and vertical support of that imagination we can get our people above breadline and off the grant-grid into proud thinking innovative successes in their varied pursuits kind of grid. This ability to know that radio and tv are playing your intellectual-labour property and the content you are watching on tv and are reading at school comes from your neighbourhood, Papa Ramps, Mgqolozana, Phakama, Jackie the poet, Mpho, Sbu, Zongi, and Thando, will cultivate not only belief and trust in one another’s ideas, but will concretely sustain our projects, lives, and give birth to more rewarded and rewarding innovations. Land? We will have to kill a fathafuka for land, but we must run to our people for harbour, people who are not so weakened by hunger that they can be bought to derail our historic mission.

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”

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”

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”

Mama Sobukwe: The Mother of Azania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Text: BlackHouse Kollective

Photographs: BlackHouse Kollective

“My mother is a very private person”. Dinilesizwe(bra Dini) Sobukwe – Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe’s eldest son – restrains our expectations in a sing-song deep-baritone voice that threatens to break into Barry White’s Acapella every time he opens his mouth. Continue reading “Mama Sobukwe: The Mother of Azania”

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”

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”

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”

Gwen Ngwenya & The Limitations of Neo-Liberal Selective Constitutionalism

Jobs-march-PE

Writer: Wanelisa Xaba
Photograph: Supplied

One of the consequences of challenging hegemonic Euro-Western white supremacist patriarchal canons in a colonial society are paternalistic views depicting one as a rogue or an empty vessel unable to engage ideologically. Living in occupied Azania where knowledge is centred on Euro-imperialist colonial hetero cisnormative ideals as the standard, renders white-supremacist defenders like Amanda/Gwen Ngwenya unable to engage with the content of decolonisation. Continue reading “Gwen Ngwenya & The Limitations of Neo-Liberal Selective Constitutionalism”