Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011


I have pledged to take a picture every single day of this year.  They won't always be pretty or polished or even interesting but they will be a reflection of my year.  I won't be putting daily posts up here but will be over at tumblr

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I wrote this on Tumblr a few weeks ago, in floods of tears and the reactions and messages that came out of it were such a balm to my soul.  I wanted to put it on my Fierce blog too cos I love what it has meant so much.

I have reached a stage in my life where I am utterly unashamed of claiming my ‘angry black chick’ space, my ‘angry black chick’ words because by God there is so much I have to be angry about and being fat and black has burned into the very core of my soul that I have a right to my anger - that often my anger is the beginning of my strength.

My niece said to me today that she wishes she was white.  She refused to play in the sunshine today because she says she can’t afford to get dark because very black people are ugly. I cried today because of the poison that has already touched her soul - the ugly, ugly shallow shit that the world has already managed hurt her with. She’s 6.

I sat her down and asked her if she thinks I’m ugly.  I’m the darkest person in my family.  The women in my family are all fair, all smaller than I am. For years I was openly called hideous to my face because of my darkness and I can’t pretend here that I’m not…sensitive about the subject.
So I asked this little girl who is my heart and my soul if she thinks I’m ugly because I’m dark.  She said no - shock in her eyes.  I try to live every day as an example to this child.  An example of womanhood who loves her body and her skin and her hair and yet in this I’ve failed.  Somewhere I failed her.  I asked her who had told her this - that dark people are uglier than light people.  And she said nobody told her she just saw it.  I hugged her then and cried because ofcourse she saw it - how could she help but see it.

It’s in the thousands of creams that are sold daily on television advertising how black women can find their ‘true’ and more beautiful complexion.  It’s in the millions and millions of black women who hate their hair and openly speak scorn against their own, natural locks.  Women who spend thousands and thousands of rands on looking as not black as they possibly can.  She sees it in the music videos, in movies - the endless odes to fair, long haired women on our screens 24/7.
I love my weave.  I love my braids. I love my wigs. I love looking as different and varied and colourful as I want to when I want to.  I also love my kinky afro - love my wooly, glossy black curls because they are mine and because they are beautiful.  But she’s 6 and maybe I’m sending mixed messages her way by changing my hair, by looking different??   I don’t know.  I just know I never want to hear her speak such pain again.  I don’t want those words coming from her.

I have no remedy here.  I have no solution.  I’m just angry and so hurt.  I’m angry that this golden child is growing up in a world determined to crush her God given beauty.  I’m angry that she questions her worth, her power because she isn’t white or blonde.  I’m angry that my 6 year old darling is already measuring herself against other little girls for this nebulous, sexual approval from a world twisted so far from rightness and goodness and beauty that we fail to see our path even when it stares us in the face.

I’m angry too, I know, at myself.  At those moments as a girl that I would have sold my soul to be thinner and a little yellower.  I’m angry that those moments existed at all - that there wasn’t a single adult who could tell me that I was lovely as I was - that me in my fat, black darkness was beautiful.  Because I was.  And I still am.

I wrote this to bear witness to this moment of anger and thank God for the peace already welling to fill my core.


I have long been familiar with that peculiar situation of being the only black female in a room full of white and often male peers and being treated as if the words I spoke had not been said – like my speech was invisible and my physical presence just barely tolerated.  When I first started working in corporate public relations I would go home after a day in the office - a day of meetings and press releases and events – still shy and uncertain about what I have to offer and wander if perhaps my speech was not clear enough, not loud enough?  Was I stupid? Did my words not link together to make coherent sentences?  The blank stares I would receive when I offered an opinion – looks that seemed to say: “Oh God the monkey spoke!” ... I cannot deny that those looks are still burnt right into the core of me, that every time I brace myself to speak in a boardroom, in a presentation or meeting I have a moment where my voice stumbles on the memory of that blankness.

I am not every woman.  I am not every black woman and I do not claim to speak for all the multitudes of black women in South Africa.  But I know how I felt in those early days before I reclaimed my voice.  I see that same look, that same feeling in the eyes of black women who open their mouths in places of importance, watch as they speak words with relevance and meaning, and then flinch as their audience tries desperately to pretend not to have heard them.  This happens every day all the time.  I remember in those first years of work my friends and I would talk about why it happened.  We would have long, rich conversations where we poured out our shame and fear – where we sought reassurance from black sisters that we were not mad or dim-witted.  That we could be heard, should be heard. Had to be heard.  

I do not know why my speech was overlooked in those early days.  That is not my reason for writing this today.  I write this because I want to say this to you today as a black woman who is reclaiming her voice, who is speaking out loudly and endlessly despite the blank stares and nervous laughter and cold eyes.  The only way that we can move from being the soundless noisemakers; the big bootied, glossy haired business suits; the token tea-makers; the only way we can break the oppression of our voicelessness is by speaking.  Speak constantly.  Offer your opinions, over and over again.  The temptation is to only share your soul and your grit and your liver with those same black women who have always heard you but you cannot yield to this! I urge you to speak! Living in fear of the criticism or the blank stares is simply another form of bondage.  Speak and speak and speak.  Write and speak some more and you will be heard and you will find liberty in your voice.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Tech Creepiness!!!

So Tumblr is doing this weird thing where it reblogs posts I've put up here without my putting them into Tumblr...How?? Why?? WTF even??!! I am creeped out - somebody please explain!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


So i did a 3 day drive from Joburg to Cape Town.  I couldn't do the longer, scenic version because I am so broke right now but I did manage to get some fun pics all the same.


So this blog is getting a revamp.  I've been trickling through the private bits of me, trying to keep it all 'professional.'  I'm discovering that I'm not capable of that.  So this blog is turning, right now, into a celebration of me, my work, my love, my passion - otherwise honestly it may as well just shut down.

So the changes in the past few months have been major.  I moved cities.  I'm living in Cape Town now and OMG I love it with every particle of my soul.  This place is beautiful - heartrendingly beautiful.  Since beginning to travel I've been so lucky to see the truly miraculous places in the world - and yet even as their beauty overwhelms me I'm reminded again and again that HOME is where LOVE is - it could be a dry little town in the Karoo or the lush mountains and forests of Mpumalanga.  If there is no love where you are then it all might as well be ash.

I'm back at school and working too - its intense I cannot lie.  Juggling the two - as well as finding time to write and work on Fierce and start up all the other millions of ideas I have is going to be a challenge - but its one I feel ready for.

I'm studying Gender Studies and Transformation - AT LAST!!!  And I love it! LOL! I'm loving a lot lately!  I live in this tiny little bachelor flat - just bought myself these glorious striped burgandy curtains and the entire place is just beginning to feel like mine.  I miss my family and friends like burning.  That's been hard - but what keeps me going is knowing that the way I was - that closed in, lonely, frustrated woman I was becoming, could not love them the way they deserve to be loved.  I must find peace - I must have adventure! And it's so good to be living what I've been dreaming for so damn long.

Tumblr has been a revelation.  Meeting young, fat women  - feminists, lovers of beauty and race and variety - fearless, glorious creatures.  Meeting these women on Tumblr has meant so much to me...I can't put this in words right now.  I will.  I will soon.

And finally a picture - after so long! This is a self portrait again - I love it.  The gorgeous curtains weren't up yet - going to be taking pics soon where they are! :D