What we did and what we wore was ours, pure and rarely simple. They had to look at us. They had no choice…
We are the beautiful people…who scooped mud from the red earth and moulded our hair into sculptures that inspired and educated their masters. We are the beautiful ones who took what they saw as only a tablecloth and wore it as a skirt then as a shawl, then a gown then a crown, then at day’s end use it as a tablecloth and dine naked in our loveliness.
So to us, what’s a pair of jeans but another canvas on which to paint our portrait or another page of a journal to write our endless memoirs?…We turned all their punishment and persecution into possibility.
– Michaela Angela Davis
About four weeks ago, my family eagerly awaited the birth of my nephew. I will quickly admit that I was having a fairly crappy day and this was the one good thing I had to look forward to. Or so I thought.
Anyway, that evening, while looking through the pictures and video clips from my bro-in-law, I wondered what kind of aunt I would be. Which was strange because I already have plenty of nieces and nephews. So I’m already an aunt. Why was this different? Because deep down a part of me felt like maybe I haven’t been the best Aunt to his older brother. (A role that I actually have to just define for myself ’cause I have no clue what it entails) Like his parents were raising him a certain way and my being was disrupting that instead of enhancing it.
So while these and many other thoughts were swirling in my head, I get invited to the kitchen for pancakes. (I live in a backpackers) There is a huge stack of pancakes on the table. Along with syrup, lemon juice, butter and cinnamon. I don’t remember the last time I ate pancakes, but I grab myself a plate and sit down. The late night chatter and laughter from the other guests is soothing. People dish and leave. Others stay. A syncopation of sorts.
In between mouthfuls, my hair is decorated with fallen flowers while a guy takes pictures. I don’t remember pancakes ever tasting this great. I smile and wish my nephew a Happy Birthday. When he’s much much older, we’ll celebrate his day every year by eating pancakes. And he’ll think I’m weird for it. But I won’t care. ☺
“I wandered around my early twenties, paying rent and reading classifieds and wondering why the lights were not turning green for me. My dream was to be a famous musician (I played the piano), but after several years of dark, empty nightclubs, broken promises, bands that kept breaking up and producers who seemed excited about everyone but me, the dream soured. I was failing for the first time in my life.” – Tuesdays With Morrie, Mitch Albom
A beautiful review on a interesting piece I got to watch last night.
Mamela Nyamza’s recent production entitled De-Apart-Hate (2016) is a moving performance that is steeped in powerful symbolism and follows a deeply authentic journey of embodied defiance and liberation. Performed by Mamela Nyamza and Mihlali Gwatyu, both are smartly dressed in black and white formal attire, occupying the almost empty stage with a visceral sense of presence and commitment to their performance. On the far right-hand side of the stage is a rainbow-painted bench, a potent signifier of the ‘Rainbow Nation’ post-1994 narrative as well as iconic apartheid bench.
Mamela Nyamza and Mihlali Gwatyu in ‘De-Apart-Hate’ at Cape Town Fringe Festival 2016 – Photo: Nardus Engelbrecht
But this brightly-coloured bench betrays its optimistic appearance as Nyamza and Gwatyu take their first seat and we notice that the bench is in fact unstable, dipping from side to side like a see-saw. The performers precariously balance on this wobbly seat and wait. They…
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“I am the artist because I wasn’t brave enough to be the poet. I am the artist because life demands that boxes need labels. I am the artist because I exist in what I create and am consequently ordinary in what I am. I am the artist because I prefer to improvise. I am the artist because sometimes I like to hide. I am the artist because sometimes I like to communicate. I am the artist because I take it personally. I am the artist because failure is possible. I am the artist because I’m not a certainty freak. I am the artist because I like the look on your face. I am the artist because I like the crowd I’m in with. I am the artist because sins of commission are more fun than sins of omission. “
I have a smart mouth (apparently).
“I’m tired of being broken,” the mind said.
“Not tired enough,” the soul replied.