Untitled 17/3

Nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen…

I don’t know how much of who I am and who I could have been has been eaten away by this dark acid cloud that engulfs me. I wake up shaking like an addict asking myself ‘what if I can never write again?’
My therapist says it will come. Honestly, I don’t believe her but I allow myself to hope. I do. Hope. Sometimes I cry for who I was once, and other times I cry out for just a sign that I will, one day, write again and write well. Who am I if I can’t call myself a writer with the hope that one day I’ll be called an author? If I can’t teach, give hope, nurture through my words, then who am I? What is the point of everything that makes me me if I can’t put it into words and share it with the world?
I spent the better part of 2017 struggling to write and struggling alone but faking like I was a born conwoman. It was hard, it was lonely, it made me question everything about myself. In 2018 it was write or die, almost literally. I sat up late every night and forced myself, I can’t tell you how difficult that was, but I forced myself to write my book. The truth is I haven’t been able to face it. I wrote what I wrote and never looked at it again. I couldn’t because I knew it was far from my best work but I also knew it would have to do. I lied to myself because actually I cannot live with ‘good enough’ writing. I, the writer, must believe that I have given my best, and I didn’t really believe that. Each day it became harder and harder to access that place from which my words flowed forth. Each day my words were less me and more ‘just do’. And then came the day when I couldn’t break through to that place at all. When I found blank greyness, impenetrable, inaccessible, my creative mind locked away from me. Not a a single line flowed, even my terrible rhyming that everybody laughs at (politely) but that gives me peace in myself because of its unique terribleness- it was my very own thing and here I was, unable to do even that. It feels like I died and I should be mourning myself. My SELF.

I don’t know if it’s coherent, the book with no ending. Not a single person I’ve asked to read it has given me feedback. Not one. I asked three. Including my supervisor. So I guess that’s an indicator of how terrible it is. Which doesn’t surprise me because I’m no Mark Twain and it’s ridiculous to think I can write a book in six weeks, which is essentially what I did (shh), but begs the question – what good am I if the one thing I had, my identity as a writer, is no longer available to me?

While my mind was breaking over my identity my heart was breaking over the thousands of our people who are still, somehow, misinformed about the basics of sexual and reproductive health. I’ve been working in this field in one capacity or another for the past five years, and I like to think I do my part to give accurate, up-to-date information where I can. But our people are still dying at alarming rates. Infection rates are still unacceptably high. Young people, 19, 23, starting on ART before they even finish school. Yeah ART saves lives, but do you know what would save even more lives? If we told the truth about who we really are and dealt with the root of this issue. Toxic masculinity (I’m too lazy not to use that much-bandied-about phrase) and powerless femininity.
When young women talk about having raw sex because they need these men for financial support and because they can’t be manless. Life is hard when you’re manless. Don’t ask me how I know. It’s getting them to understand what a man is and isn’t that’s difficult.
When young men talk about raw sex because ‘kuyafana ama condom vele ane AIDS’.
When women of all ages speak about rape, date rape, incestuous rape at the hands of men who should have been their protectors who turned out to be sources of never-ending unimaginable trauma.
Who thinks about all the women, the walking wounded, who need psychiatric care and will never get it but who must nevertheless raise children and somehow function, their brokenness both a shield against further trauma (you can only hurt so much before you become numb) and the source of yet more as they live what they know? They say hurt people hurt people. They did not lie. Generational trauma so heartbreaking that it broke me again and again until I could not stand under the onslaught, until I wanted to run from the blows that rained down on me like I was caught in a hailstorm with no hope of shelter and no hope that the storm would cease.


On PPD And Why It Wasn’t A Thing (but it is now)

In those days the homestead was filled with people and work that needed doing and there was much that the father had to do for his growing family. He would have had little time to be thinking about sex but in any case, the post-delivery period was not about him. He had to man the fuck up and put his needs aside and give his wife and child what they needed. You know, like a good husband and father and not a selfish P.o.S?

PPD isn’t a new thing and MY people had ways to avoid it. Like not burdening a new mother with the responsibility of also ‘keeping’ a man.The new mother had time to heal her body and her mind, to strengthen her bond with her baby, and to do whatever she needed to do for herself and her newly expanded family without worrying about her husband, who was in fact expected to carry himself like a real man. Real men delay gratification and put the needs of the family first. Yes, always.

Today’s men (weaklings all) can’t (they claim) go more than a few days without sexing someone, anyone. Self-righteous ndignation rises – even anger – at the mere suggestion of fidelity while waiting for a new mother to heal: ‘men can’t go long, we have needs…’ RUBBISH. Men can, they just don’t want to.

A man who had several wives had his sexual needs met but again, these were wives, not concubines, not side hos: a MAN had to have worked to create the wealth that allowed him to sustain more than one wife. You can’t be talking about ‘I can’t go longer than a few days without sex’ when you haven’t the means to support multiple wives to give you all that sex. Fuck all the way outta here with that bullshit.

Y’all feminists please don’t come in here talmbout ‘her needs’ – do you know how many women have sex they don’t want six weeks after childbirth but are taught to grin and bear it because ‘men have needs’? Do you know the pressure that comes with being told that there’s something wrong with you if you don’t feel like sex six weeks after pushing a human being out of your vagina? Do you know how many women out there claim they want sex soon after childbirth not because they do, but because they’re afraid of the stigma of PPD that will attach if they don’t play along? Fuck outta here and take these bitchass men with you. Y’all deserve each other.

I’m a third of the way through this book and I’m waiting for the part where women were oppressed by the patriarchy. Seems to me that the patriarchy came on a ship.

Yes I’m ‘stroppy’. Because untreated PPD. Because mental illness. Because my people knew this shit and y’all called us backward savages.

How Now Mr Sun?

The scent of him lingers on my skin feeling like warmth and his name fills my mouth tasting like ice, like cold, cold nothingness. The wind misses him too and sighs with me, wiping my tears away and bringing me tales of fellow travellers in this dark land. And the sun? That traitorous star once my closest friend speaks his name long and loud, whispers it to my skin, tattoos it there where his hands roamed, threads it into my hair making me remember when all I want is to forget.

I live in the shadows now because out there, the light reeks of him.

On Courtship EsiNtwini

You can’t know what is in my heart as I read. This book is destroying my life and I’m still here for it.

Consequences for misbehaviour were harsher for women and women were still vulnerable to abuse, yes, but also women had very strong support systems and if the family unit was intact, were well-protected. In addition, Ndebele women in pre-colonial times had quite a bit of autonomy and agency about their romantic and marital choices; I daresay a bit more than many women in ‘traditional’ southern African cultures today.

From the beginning of Ndebele courtship the woman is placed in a position of power, and it’s power as wielded by women: the power to choose.

If the feminine truly rests and receives as the ‘femininity coaches’ teach today, then the Ndebele had it right from the beginning. In this society the man presents himself to the woman and states his case. At her discretion he is given opportunity to convince her to accept his suit. He requests (from her) permission to court and he does so until she is satisfied that he can propose engagement. They stay engaged until she is satisfied of his willingness and ability to protect and provide. It is she who determines whether the wedding ultimately takes place, once he has proved himself. Make no mistake, at no point is she leading the relationship alone. He is an equally independent thinker with his own agency, doing what man does best: making things happen. In other words, he is in many ways the author while she is the perfecter and finisher of their dream.

Picture Post: A Cup of Tea, Fantasy, And A Book

I’m reading this book and falling in love with it, really falling in love with it. Reading Chapter 3 felt like falling in love with my history, with my people, and with myself for the first time, like coming face to face with something celestial. I can’t explain it. Look at that: WOMEN were the gatekeepers of marriage (and therefore sex). I’ve been saying women need to get back to that because when women devalue sex, men devalue women as is happening now in the dating scene. But that’s a story for another day. For today, my love for this book and the awe I feel for the unerring instinct of the person who gave it to me.

No comment on this except to say it kinda sucks when you know what amazing chemistry feels like because there’s no settling after that. If you can’t have the one you want, drink the tea you have.


Seriously, this book though! *insert heart-eyed emoji here* Mineral foundation, anyone? How about natural skincare? We been having it!

Wanna know what book? Everything is not for everyone. Stay in your lane. 😂 I’m just jealous of everyone getting their grubby hands on it and spoiling my ‘discovery’ so for now, I’m enjoying it all by myself without commentary from anyone while I tease you with little excerpts. Isn’t that fun?

P. S. I know I said picture post. Well, I added text. Sue me.

Untitled 27/2


Red dust rising.
A lowing herd seen through morning mist
Curved horns piercing the sky.
Musical bells heard from far
In a rhythm like that of the earth itself,
Painting the sky with the sounds and colours of truth
And of life beholden to the farmer’s hands.
My cries and his mingling with that morning air
Speaking life into the day.
When I doubted he gave me hope.
When I fled he called my name.
When I cried he held me close and covered me,
Nkosi yami he covered my nakedness and my shame
While I carried his fears and his pain.
He showed me what it is to be loved
And I taught him the secrets of our ancestors,
Those men and women who tamed the land and made it home
When they were written off and given blame.
Like those pioneers from whom we come
We see the dream and bring it to life.