"Immature people falling in love destroy each other’s freedom, create a bondage, make a prison. Mature persons in love help each other to be free; they help each other to destroy all sorts of bondages. And when love flows with freedom there is beauty. When love flows with dependence there is ugliness.
A mature person does not fall in love, he or she rises in love. Only immature people fall; they stumble and fall down in love. Somehow they were managing and standing. Now they cannot manage and they cannot stand. They were always ready to fall on the ground and to creep. They don’t have the backbone, the spine; they don’t have the integrity to stand alone.
A mature person has the integrity to stand alone. And when a mature person gives love, he or she gives without any strings attached to it. When two mature persons are in love, one of the great paradoxes of life happens, one of the most beautiful phenomena: they are together and yet tremendously alone. They are together so much that they are almost one. Two mature persons in love help each other to become more free. There is no politics involved, no diplomacy, no effort to dominate. Only freedom and love.” — Osho
The raw pain inside black South Africans surfaced to remind us we have laid a path back to human dignity for all, writes Justice Malala.
Every so often something comes along that affects you so deeply, it shifts the very essence of your viewpoint. When Advocate Gcina Malindi, the senior counsel arguing for President Jacob Zuma in The Spear case, broke down and cried on Thursday, something happened to me.
The very centre of my being moved. I remembered a huge chunk of what I had put away in the deepest recesses of my mind.
I remembered, I was forced to remember, that there is hurt, there is pain, there is anger and there is even hatred in my and my fellow black people’s hearts about what has happened here. I remembered apartheid.
I remembered the disdain with which, whenever I went into the Pretoria city centre, white people treated me. I remembered how, when I was working as a gardener when I was 15, a white man made me work all day and at five told me he was not going to pay me because he did not have money. After an hour of this tawdry squabble, which he thought was hilarious, he finally paid me.
I have had this feeling several times in the past few weeks.
When FW de Klerk, the last president of apartheid South Africa, told Christiane Amanpour of CNN that blacks “were not disenfranchised, they voted. They were not put in homelands, the homelands were historically there,” I recoiled with shock.
I grew up in a village called New Eersterus, in the Hammanskraal area just north of Pretoria. The first residents of this village had been forcibly moved from the “coloured” Eersterus near Pretoria because they were too dark, not “coloured enough”. Those of us who came afterwards and were incorporated into the heinous Bophuthatswana homeland knew this homeland “democracy” was a sham.
Not once did the people of my village vote for Lucas Mangope, the puppet who acted for De Klerk’s government. When the Bop army attempted a coup in 1988, guess who came to Mangope’s rescue? The apartheid government, of course. So much for sovereignty.
Recently, a friend of mine in Cape Town participated in a charity bike ride. Afterwards, he went to a bicycle shop stall and asked to try out their cycles. He and his two boys hopped on the bikes and rode out.
"Stop that thief!" shouted the shop owner. Tens of people ran after my friend. He is black. Virtually everyone there was white. The shop owner, a white man, refused to acknowledge he had acted in a racist manner.
All these incidents, small and large, bring back that hurt, that pain, that remembrance that once, not so long ago, we were subhuman in this country. They bring back the remembrance that the black man was viewed as a sex-obsessed, lazy … well, animal, really. We were not human here.
In the sound and fury that has accompanied the decision by Zuma and the ANC to take the Goodman Gallery to court for displaying the Brett Murray painting of Zuma with his genitals exposed, I have been firmly on the side of those who declared the action ill-advised, nonsensical and a poor pandering to one man’s whim above those of our constitution. I wrote that Zuma brought this upon himself: the past seven years have been defined by his flaunting of his sexuality in the guise of nebulous precepts of “African culture”.
Yet I cannot escape the raw and real pain and hurt that Malindi’s breakdown in court underlined. Perhaps, in my defence of the freedoms to express oneself, the freedoms to artistic creativity, I missed something. Perhaps I - and many of the people who have been batting on this side of the field - forgot that these freedoms cannot be exercised in a vacuum.
There is a hurt that is still not processed. There is a pain so infinitely deep and huge that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has done virtually nothing to assuage it. To many of the people outside court this week, this pain is raw and immediate. To them, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, with talk of reconciliation, are deluded dreamers.
I know this is true because one of my best friends was standing outside court supporting Zuma on Tuesday. For him, the Murray painting is an assault on blackness. He feels that “whiteness” still has the upper hand and that it continues to dictate to and defile black people in South Africa today.
His words echoed those of ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe outside the court in Johannesburg: “Even after 18 years of this democracy, they still want us to dance to their tune.”
"They", in this case, are white South Africans. This pain we carry around inside of us, exacerbated and reopened by every new slur, is what Dr Mamphela Ramphele has called our woundedness.
We blacks are not the only wounded. Whites, too, are wounded by 46 years of formal apartheid and centuries of colonialism. You cannot be fine when you are fed a diet of racial superiority all your life.
What has hurt most for me, therefore, has been the sheer failure to appreciate the monumental nature of these slurs by many in the white community. De Klerk’s casual dismissal of the fact that the homeland system was an assault on every black person’s very being reopened all the slights that my formative years were made of. Worse still, he reminded me of my brother being asked for a pass, my father being harassed for one, my friends’ incarceration and torture by his regime.
Eighteen years into our democracy, reminders like De Klerk’s, like the racist bike-shop owner, occur. It does not help that when these occur, and there is black outrage, the likes of Western Cape premier Helen Zille brand those blacks who make noise as “professional blacks”. It is as though it is fine to complain if you are white, and not so if you are black.
Did the failure to recognise the deep wounds of our past make us miss a moment in which we could have defused The Spear issue, then? Could Zuma, in his anger and his shame, have decided to let the matter go - or was his and his advisers’ anger so overwhelming they decided to go ahead? Could Murray have, before he raised his brush, wondered about the hurt that we all still carry inside us? Could City Press - despite the fact that in my and its editors’ view it is absolutely within its rights to report on and keep the offending painting’s picture up - have done things differently?
These wounds that are reopened today make Zuma - a flawed character at best - suddenly resonate to more than just his core support base. His pain has reminded many of the slurs of recent months and of the callous, casual, denigration of the black form in the past.
These are painful matters. The most painful and challenging, however, remains the fact that we are a constitutional democracy, that we have a president who is deeply flawed at various levels, and that rights and responsibilities are entrenched in our constitution. These rights and responsibilities will not be tested by normalcy. It is when a Murray comes along, uninvited and unwanted, that we have to stand up and contest this space.
With this hurt in mind, with these bags of pain by my side and by the sides of the Zuma family and the ANC, I return to our constitution and its Bill of Rights. We wrote this constitution. We adopted it with Thabo Mbeki’s majestic “I Am An African” speech ringing in our ears and hearts. We lauded it and we brag about it every day.
It is in the constitution that our weakest and our poorest and our most ailing, in the Grootboom housing case and the Aids drugs case and the school textbooks case, for example, continue to find protection. It is in the constitution that we must find a path to resolve the divisions and the hurt that have come to visit us this week.
To read this constitution, therefore, is to recognise that even when we feel pain as Malindi so rawly and movingly did, the freedoms that we enjoy today, the dignity that we enjoy today, are enjoined in that constitution.
For us to enjoy all these and to continue to enjoy them, we have to acknowledge that this same constitution will allow things that pain us, things that kick us in the very heart of our being, to continue.
The depiction of Zuma in such a manner did so to many of our compatriots. Yet that is the bargain we struck.
I have quoted from Mandela’s first state of the nation speech before. I will do so again: “Our endeavours must be about the liberation of the woman, the emancipation of the man and the liberty of the child.”
These are entrenched in our constitution. Zuma should be judged within these parameters and not just in the context of our pain, even though I feel a sickness rise up in me as I write this.
I feel pain, but the painting must stay up, and newspapers must be able to report about it without being boycotted and burnt.
During a pretty casual discussion on interracial relationships, I was lamenting my distaste for guys who only go after girls of a certain race from the perspective of a colored girl who is often pursued primarily because of my being a ‘yellowbone’. Puke in my mouth. The dude I was having this conversation with was like “But Sindi, I’m not ashamed to say that I like colored girls because I like girls with that gooooood skin, do you have a problem with that too?” Which obviously put me on the spot because this is a mixed race dude, half-coloured and half Greek, so responding to his particular preference could not of course be angled from the perspective of “Ugh gross, this is just another fetishization of race.” In my mind, he was immediately absolved by virtue of being colored. Incidentally, dude in question is the one who imprinted the words “the fetishization of race” onto my brain and inspired this unpacking of racial preferences in the dating game. Boys can be so smart sometimes. But I digress. I went home and thought about it and realized that letting him off the hook was pretty daft because of course, fetishizing within your race is real and just as problematical doing it to another race.
But of course I first had to try and properly discern between attraction and fetishism. Basically, attraction is finding a person beautiful or sexy, part of which may be influenced by their race. A fetish however is when you find an object (or a freaking huge, diverse category that someone perceives as an object, like I dunno, say, race for example) sexy. And the issue obviously is the objectification at work here. Because first and foremost I am a human being, I just happen to be one in a women’s body which happens to have brown skin. So as such, I demand that I am responded to as a whole person, not simply a cache of racialized characteristics which fit into preconceived notions that you might have about my particular race. Yes, I am colored. But in the same way that, I do not have gold teeth/wear Carvelas, I also do not embody the fighting fire and dramatic disposition associated with colored women. Or any other random stereotypes you choose to throw my way.
When I was reading up on the fetishism of race in the context of personal relationships, I encountered super duper academic articles which placed a lot of emphasis on the ‘sacralization’ of race. Have faith, I had to look up at that word. Basically, it relates to the period during which race as a starting point for attraction is imbued with sacred qualities. Sacred doesn’t just mean godly, it can also just be things treated with great respect. Why are we respecting race this much? I’m never gonna be one to say “I don’t see race”, that’s daft. This sacralization period is of course a direct and ongoing result of our fucked up racial history.
And the issue is that admiration for certain characteristics exists on the other side of a very fine line with full blown fetishism on the other side. Fetishism is most pronounced when the object of desire is perceived as capital, sacred or forbidden. And in academic discourse, the term racial fetishism is used to illustrate the “denial of difference”, with a fixation on another race not because its different but because its ‘lesser”. I can see value in that kinda thinking. I should just throw out though that I do not exclusively think that interracial relationships are a direct result of racial fetishism. That shit needs to be destigmatized, cos I’m a huge fan of all races and their interracial loving, I’m just curious about the reasons for and unintended consequences thereof. I just think we should aware of the danger of being attracted to somebody’s “otherness” and unintentionally exoticizing them.
South Africans luuuuurve anything exotic and different. That’s why you get colored people who overplay their heritage, one uncle who married a Pora which sommer makes you tell everyone that you’re half Portuguese, rather than tell em about you very Zulu grandmother. But exoticizing race is only positive on the surface (ha ha), underneath it has the effect of “othering”, just basically reinforcing racial hierarchies, and usually in an inferior way. And the reason that interracial dating and it’s subtle fetishisms is so tricky is because it forces us to think about the racial hierarchy that we’re all obviously a part of whether we want to be or not. Like, why do Indian women love white guys and vice versa but its never white women with Indian dudes? This obviously brings in ALL sorts of gender issues but I won’t even go down that road. These are just the sort of questions floating around in my head.
And then this hierarchy gets even pettier when you think about how we fetishize with our races. Like, the preference for certain characteristics is so much more acceptable within your own race group - like colored guys who only go for girls with hair that blows in the wind, and dark-skinned black women who are only interested in light-skinned black guys. Like the dude mentioned at the start of this ramble. I think it’s because within your own race, its perceived as purely physical and purely a starting point - where a relationship is entertained because certain characteristics are attractive, not because you think that those characteristics are evidence of stereotype i.e. All Asian girls are superfreaks. I shouldn’t have to explain how that kind of appropriation of stereotypes to physical characteristics can further stereotype, homogenize, objectify, commodify, exoticize, distort and invalidate not just the race in question but the culture too. Puke in my mouth again.
Then again, on the flip side, this begs the question of whether exclusively dating members of your own race makes you racist. I am not so sure. I am attracted to people of all races and could date from all races too, cultural difficulties aside, and that comes from having been raised in an especially tolerant home, irrespective of the racial gripes my parents harbor due to their experiences under apartheid. My brother, having been raised in the exact same home, has only ever dated/hooked up with colored girls and swears its all he ever will do. Is that racist? I don’t think so, because it comes from both a physical and cultural preference for likeness. And that is logical, even though it may be boring. I want mixed race nieces and nephews maaaaan.
But THEN (all these thoughts just give me brand new thought paths ha ha) I worry about the danger of internalized racism, which may, just sliiiiightly, be indicated by presence of ideas of attractiveness which don’t include people which look the way that you do. Dating interracially based on stereotypes is objectionable, but so is dating someone because you suffer from internalized racism. And this is where the motive for dating across the color line needs the most analysis. I mean obviously, if you stay going after people with qualities diametrically opposed to your own, you either do not like yourself or else you’re tryna piss your parents off. In both cases, you need to grow the hell up. Because I dunno man, a race-based fetish can only be fun if its an experimental fantasy being lived out but it can hardly be a long lasting fun and its probably not fun at all if your partner has a race based fetish too. Like on The Boondocks once, Sara (white woman) is upset when she finds out that her husband Tom (black man) only ever dated other white women. He eventually argues back by listing all of her ex-boyfriends, all of whom have generally black names (one was apparently kicked out of the Nation of Islam for dating her). I mean its funny, but its LAME yo.
Its almost as lame as cultural fetishism. Oh you like martial arts? And you think you look a lil Asian? So now you’re only gonna date Chinese guys? I don’t see you jumping on board Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong-ism. Mxm. And then EVEN worse, people who seek out people of colour as lovers and friends for social and/or political credibility. All I have to say on THAT matter is PISS OFF. Im struggling with yellow bone fever as it is, when its motivated by social climbing, it just makes me want to squash you like the bug that you are.
I found this little list HERE. It pretty much articulates the gist of what I’ve been rambling about.
Black/White couples are NOT the interracial paradigm. Race doesn’t exist in any biological sense. It is entirely a social construct, kind of a big stupid game of Pretend that everyone agrees to play. That said…there are other races. Further, it has been my experience that people of color who think of interracial dating in terms of White/non-White have severe internalized racism. Why? Because the idea, however unconscious, is that what is prized, and what is at stake within the tense space of an interracial relationship or interracial dating, is Whiteness and its accompanying privilege. In other words, People of Colour who chose to date each other aren’t “losing” anything…so it doesn’t “count.” Nice, right?
Even ”positive” stereotypes are harmful. There is ALWAYS a flip side. Asians good at math, Blacks good at sports/dancing, Latinos skilled and passionate lovers…disgusting. Even non-malicious racism is ultimately harmful, because it reduces a person’s humanity.
Dating/sleeping with someone from another race doesn’t make you not racist. If it did, this country wouldn’t HAVE a race problem. Let’s give up the ghost on this one: people from different ethnic, cultural and racial backgrounds have been interacting, engaging and fucking since the dawn of bloody time. Racism persists. Next topic, please.
Exoticizing/fetishizing is NOT flattering OR healthy. Going on about what “beautiful creatures” Black women are is demeaning. No one who objectifies you respects you or views you as an equal. This is true for White people as well, but it’s DOUBLY true for people of color. If someone is attracted to and aroused by your “otherness” – your difference – rest assured they are getting off on your oppression.
It’s not the racism outside that destroys interracial love. It’s the racism inside. Rather, not properly addressing it, or choosing not to see it, or letting it go unchecked for fear of causing tension. There is no such thing as “colorblindness” – i.e., not seeing race. Anyone who says that they don’t “see” race is a liar. Sorry, they just are. We ALL see race. (And we should since this is the first step to removing the shame and stigma that come with being “raced”.) It just shouldn’t be all that we see.
To sum, I think that race-based dating is okay as long as race isn’t the thing bringing a couple together. Race should be the hors d’ouvres, not the main course.
Picasso and Dali dissected. Campaign for the MASP Art School in São Paulo. I’m no art fundi but whoahhh. I’d wanna see the insides of Basquiat and Warhol also man. (He he at least I know the beeeeeg names.)
I still can’t believe that I’ve seen this shit in real life. Proper mind f*ck. Went on a 2 day boat trip on a wooden boat like the one in the second pic with my bestie. Definitely one of the greatest experiences of my life.
Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt. Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench. Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.
Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.
I came across this on VICE and paraphrased for the sake of brevity.To read the full article, click HERE.
Even in the quagmire of depressing awfulness that is Iraqi news, THIS stands out as brutally distressing. Basically, an article on the medical fallout of the Iraq War and specifically its effects on children in Fallujah. This is the most moderate of the photographs, the rest are horrendous so brace yourself.
The US led coalition at first denied that they had used white phosphorus in Fallujah, then said that it was only used to “illuminate targets”. White phosphorus is meant to melt metal, so you can imagine what kind of effect it has on the human body. There’s also the issue of depleted uranium, but the US has denied using it. There is a well-known relationship between the increase in cancer cases and the use of depleted uranium. Forget being born free, all the kids in Fallujah get is cancer.
Both the US and Nato have been requested to conduct an investigation into the use of these weapons, but there has been no response.
Just got the biggest skrik. Our medical aid called my Pops to say that one of his descendants (me) is dead. But I am alive! I promise! They had my ID number right but my name wrong, but that I mean, that is pretty inconsequential in our country, beset by identity fraud as it is. On the Home Affairs website it says that in the event of any incorrect reporting of death, you must go to the nearest office like ASAP to begin investigations in rectifying erroneous death reports. I almost straggled myself with the telephone cord thats how ASAP I contacted em. But fortunately, my info all seems to be in order. I hope. This blog post serves as evidence that I am alive, and as it stands, I have no record of being married to any foreigners. Just in case yknow.
Also a bit freaky, last night someone hacked into my Facebook account, in Rome! The hell! One of my best friends is in Italy right now (it wasn’t her, she has been a victim of Facebook hacking far too many times to pull such stunts) but the randomness of the location really puzzled me.
The internet is bladdy scary, not to mention public records, especially when not properly administered. Stay vigilant folks.
This song is actually brain boner material. I wasn’t that sold on the original even though I dig ol’ Flo (as does the rest of the world), and my appreciation of Dev Hynes sorta wilted after the original Blood Orange hype but WOW! This song has a halo reminiscent of Terence Trent D’Arby and makes me think of Prince’s slow jams, which is pretty much the highest compliment I can give a male vocalist.
"You don’t need to make your tastes a self-conscious statement about who you are. Just unapologetically like the things you like." — Adulting: Step 179: Stop enjoying things ironically. Just enjoy them.
Photo’s pilfered from ItsWhatI’mInto, where I first came across this charming new spot.
I ducked work, ‘optometrist appointment’ he he, and went to this enchanting new deli type restaurant called Morrison & Co, its in the same centre as The Patisserie, which is one of my favorite sugar fix joints. I had some YUMMY french toast. QUICK ASIDE: how I differentiate between egg bread and french toast in my head - if its sweet, with honey/syrup/fruit whatever then it’s french toast BUT if you douse it tomato sauce and cheese (like I often do), then it can only but be egg bread. Both ways make me equally happy. But it is important to differentiate between these things yknow.
So it was a gorgeous little experience, to mark the end of an even better one. A Sindi-inspired sojourn made me very happy this weekend, as did White Rabbit sweets, Mi Pi Chi (my constant energy), bathrooms with courtyards, ducking and diving, strategic product placement, and a whole lot of other soppy stuff I won’t even allude to. Basically, its really great when you get to enjoy and appreciate someone who feels the same, without any dramatic obligations attached.
Anyway, its a lovely place and it’s located in the Post Office Centre opposite Thrupps. You should go just for the romance of it.
So the DA marched to COSATU House today, or well tried to. Rocks got thrown, police (the few that were present) made a young human chain, it just wasn’t that much of a win. This isn’t a political rant, I am not especially partial to discussions of things I do not fully understand and the Youth Wage is one of those things. I am however working on rectifying this gap in knowledge. The reason for the reference is because COSATU House happens to be right outside my office window so I naturally heard the chants which went along the lines of “The class ENEMY of COSATU AND of the working class is the DA!” Reds versus blues. Teehehe. I was tickled.
But I got over the ruckus and went into a meeting where a petty protocol issue had me foaming at the mouth. Okay not really, but I was mad enough to have to walk out and calm down. I abhor getting angry. The loss of control that anger brings about is so antithetical to my personality (control freak right hurrrr) that I sommer wanna cry at the sheer frustration of being mad and having to reign it in because I refuse to let it show. He who angers you, controls you. It’s an adage I live by.
I won’t go into specifics but basically one of the heads of program got angry about being directly emailed (there is no alternative bar emailing her PA who deals with administrative issues not substantive ones.) As a result of this, we, mere minions, were requested to suggest guidelines for communication and engagement. The fuck. The day I pander to egos and personalities is the day I cut out my tongue and sauté it with some garlic and onions. Imagine.
This probably reads like a very minor issue but in the context of my work environment, it called into question the way that different people get treated and the invisible hierarchies we are all a part of and the whole affair just had me fuming. I got back to my office after a much needed cigarette and then WHAM! Back into another meeting of even more disastrous proportions where two colleagues with beef bashed it out, pointing fingers and calling names. At that point I started looking for garlic and onions because I figured I might as well cut out my tongue, there is no point in talking at all.
I was so inflamed by the futility of it all that my initial inflammation totally faded. I mean, why get worked up, complain/hurl insults, and in the DA/COSATU case, rocks, over pettiness and protocol? Although hey, the DA claims that it only marched because attempts to talk to COSATU weren’t successful.
At the end of the second meeting, I was spent, emotionally drained at the wastefulness of petty emotions and even pettier protocols. This is the reason for people not doing their work: ultimately, the concerns of the individual take precedence over the actual potential for work. Because I’m sitting here rolling my eyes at the wasted time spent talking about the correct way to do thing and instead wondering why they aren’t just being done. And it got me thinking about this march. From where I sit, seems to me like it was a direct (and petty) response to Mr Vavi claiming to be seduced by Ms. Zille. Gross. I meant that in the political sense only of course.
This is just a rambling rant, no solution offered or anything, these are just two issues on my brain: the wastefulness of petty action (I mean, they could have done better things with their time and capacity) and the futility of and frustration at protocol. Okay done.