We continue to say No:Why Akona Ndungane’s story still matters

The We Are The World days are long gone.  We’re currently smack in the middle of a culture that sees activism and story telling stripped from main art forms: music, literature, photography, painting etc.  I wouldn’t say stories aren’t still being told, of course they are, but not as honestly as they used to be.

And I guess I understand why.

As art becomes a business, image becomes [slightly more important than?] the craft itself.

For some. 

To those who continue to give us their truth, and teach, and inspire, and strengthen: Thank you.

 

 

I was going through my music collection when I found a gem.

The POWA  Mixtape. 

 

powa

 

 

 

Born from Akona Ndungane’s chilling account of her rape ordeal, POWA saw artists such as Tumi Molekane, Reason, Zaki Ibrahim, Zubz and Tuks, just to name a few, and Akona herself, collaborating to bring a project that will leave you emotionally wrecked, to say the least.

 

 

 

 

But it’s the truth.

It’s her truth.

And it’s the truth of many young women out there.

The reality of it is, we don’t talk about these things.

Society whispers to us to maybe, just maybe try and deal with the fact that this is our reality.  Few people have the lack of empathy and ingrained misogyny in them to say “Get the fuck over it. You’re walking targets and you will be preyed upon,”  but some do nonetheless and they really just verbally express what we’re shown.

It’s why sharing your rape story gets you stigma and shame, being shunned, instead of support.

It’s why people ask you what you did to deserve it before even considering that you aren’t the problem.

It’s why, when your partner rapes you, nobody calls it what it is, in their minds you signed over your rights to your body the moment you agreed to the relationship.

It’s why I’m writing this.

Because I can’t explain why I’m constantly crying at stories that other people tell me don’t affect me.

Because I’m constantly trying to explain to my male friends that at the very least, we live life constantly vigilant, if not terrified.

Because when I log on to Twitter it’s a shock to constantly see the number of women who share their stories of abuse.  It’s a bitter pill to swallow, that we’re all THIS connected… by trauma.  That we’ve formed a sisterhood because of all the things that’ve tried to break our spirits.

I’ve been an emotional wreck.

It’s not that it took me 5 years to realize that somebody violated me, it’s that there are countless other women who can either relate or never accept it, so never will.

It’s not that I know what I know, it’s that other women don’t.

It’s that I constantly have to find a new way to use everyday objects as a person.

I got excited when I found out that KEYS can be used for self defense.

 

Fucking. Keys.

 

That excited me.

And then it hit me how tragic that is.

 

 

Akona’s story, four years after it’s first telling, fourteen years after it happened, still needs to be told.

It needs to be repeated, felt, understood,for as long as is necessary.

Until our women aren’t being hunted anymore, until our men don’t think that’s a normal part of our lives, until the destruction of our society is halted.

But this is where we’re at now.

This is our reality, now.

 

Think about that.

Really think about it.

 

*Visit ISaidNo here

 

 

Nymphomaniac I: Part 1, The Lessons and Formative Years

Nympho

“As a young nymph, it was imperative for me to get rid of my virginity,”  These are the words of Joe, the protagonist in Lars Von Trier’s oddly controversial Nymphomaniac.   

Nymphomaniac: Vol I and II tell the story of Joe, a self proclaimed nympho/sex addict.  Far from being the seedy low budget smut, one would expect it to be based on the title, it is in fact a rather honest, eye opening depiction of Life through the eyes of an insatiable woman, and the experiences one goes through.

Nymphomaniac I:Joe’s story begins.

She’s found beaten half to death close  to an alley by an elderly man, Seligman.

Already?” I think. “Shit’s gone bad for her already? Jesus, is this one of those movies that depict the downfall of promiscuous women? Cos I’m not here for that.”

She refuses medical attention and instead  goes to his apartment to lay down and have a cup of tea with milk. [No, really.]

Here, her story unfolds.

 

She is not “just another girl with daddy issues”.  On the contrary, Joe has a rather close and warm relationship with her father, they bond as he tells her stories about trees. Her mother, however, is described as “cold” and often, a “cunt” [You’ll come to find, it’s not a dirty word in the movie] .   She “discovers” her vagina when she’s 2, and as she grows with a female companion known only as B, they discover the different ways in which the female genitalia can provide and feel pleasure.

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“Perhaps the only difference between me and other people is that I’ve always wanted more from the sunset. More spectacular colors when the sun hits the horizon. That’s perhaps my only sin,” she muses.  Giving the impression that there is no real shame to the life that she has lived.  She is not burdened by society and religion’s  view of the “Unholy” woman.

“Are you insisting that children are sinful?” asks Seligman.  To which she responds in a childlike voice “Not children, me.” So maybe things aren’t exactly what they seem, for her.  It is not shame that cripples her internally, not at all, but she is fully aware of her own misgivings.

She grows and is drawn to her vagina.

Curious.

Understand that  when you really start taking note of your vagina and it’s workings, appearance, feelings, it’s amazing.  As a child I personally was intrigued by it.  How simply complex it was.  Why it was a secret.  So Joe’s desire to know more, and experience more regarding it resonated with me.

She loses her virginity in a rather inelegant manner, as  most of us have, methinks, but will never admit.  A young Joe considers her target sophisticated because he as a Moped and quite bluntly asks him “If I asked you to take my virginity would that be a problem?”

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He doesn’t turn her down, and proceeds to penetrate both her vagina and anus [NO LUBE! Christ, the savagery].  Now, I wouldn’t go so far as agreeing with Asa Akira’s sentiments that it’s really practical to just lose them both at the same time since the first time for both is always rather uncomfortable. But It would make sense to lose them.. close together.  Not on the same day though, unless if you can take both your holes being sore.

He’s clumsy, swift and really, a terrible lover.

He is Shia LaBeouf, playing Jerome.

“It hurt like hell. I swore I’d never sleep with anyone again. But of course that only lasted a short while.” Oh honey, don’t we know it?

Years later, with her friend B, again, she really cums into her own regarding her sexuality, so to speak.  Young, dizzy and eager, they go out dressed provocatively on a quest.  To fuck as many men on a train as possible, winner gets a packet of sweets. No, really.

BJ

It’s not shocking, really. Not in the least. When you’re young and sexually active, stuck in that weird place where you think you’re an adult yet still have the urge to act young and stupid, things happen.

Everything up to this point had passed without so much as an eyebrow raise from me.  But when you watch the movie, you note that Joe looks rather young.  Skinny, lanky, simply childlike.  She could be a model if she were taller.  But it’s still evident that she’s a girl. This however, doesn’t hinder the men she manages to “seduce”.  Men twice her age still  fuck her, and this is not an issue for them, in the least.

The fact is a girl who thinks she can act like a woman will be treated as such by those who know better.

“I discovered my power as a woman and used it  to my advantage without any concern for anyone else.”  It’s funny that she would have guilt over this, yet understandable.  Society doesn’t condition us to do so and therefore doesn’t condone it. With that in mind, whether we know it or not, many of us internalize society’s perceptions and opinions and use them to gauge whether or not we are “good” people.

This is a recurring theme  throughout her telling of her story and the subsequent conversations with Seligman.

Joe

Is she a good person? 

What IS a good person? 

She’s adamant that she’s a horrible being, but he constantly has a counter argument that suggests that possibly, she is too harsh on herself.  They represent both sides of the conversation when it usually comes to issues dealing with promiscuity, and life really.

Are you bad? Or simply a person who’s reacted to circumstances as your Spirit saw fit?

B and Joe start a club: “The Little Flock”.   A group of sexually emancipated/promiscuous girls who’re seemingly, anti love.

The Little Flock

“It was rebellious,” she says. “We were committed to combating the love fixated society”.

But B lets the girls down when she falls in love. It’s a betrayal to the Flock. A betrayal to the inner vixen who vows never to experience true intimacy.

This is the first time that affection, love, attachment taints sex for her.

“You think you know everything about sex.

The secret ingredient to sex, is love.” says B.

“For me love was just lust, with jealousy added,” muses an older Joe.

And this is all before Varsity.

It’s amazing the lessons one learns when they jump headfirst into “maturity” and “adulthood”, blindly.  Having personally lost my virginity at 12, I completely related to Joe’s experiences.  By the time you get to Varsity, you’re weirdly both naive and relatively mature.  I loved how the story was told in a purely matter of fact manner.

She was not a “victim”.

She had no “daddy issues”.

She chose to do as she pleased with her body and faced the consequences and lessons as they played out.

There was no shame to being promiscuous, she simply was.

 

*This is the first in a series of posts to follow.

**Also, something I noted. B and Joe’s initials together is : BJ. Ha.

 

 

Kelly Cutrone

Kelly Cutrone is a Badass.
Before I get into why, just repeat her name to yourself like a mantra and savour how empowered you feel.
Done? Cool.
Now..

Why is she a Badass, dear reader?
Because she says things like this:

“I learned quickly that people have strong conceptions about powerful women, and powerful women are not viewed the way powerful men are viewed. When people see a powerful woman, they start to attack them. And that’s fine with me. If you can hold your own and withstand all that firing, they celebrate you. It’s like a gladiator sport.”

“Even though I am sometimes perceived as a bitch or a witch, the office atmosphere I cultivate is nothing like the cultural stereotype of striving women clawing each other to death to get the queen bee’s job. Women have been taught that, in order to get ahead, we have to be secretive and plotting and manipulative, because a straightforward route to the top hasn’t always existed for us, and in many industries it still doesn’t. But I don’t believe in playing into these stereotypes. We don’t have to stab each other in the back, we don’t have to take things personally and break down when we’re criticized, and we don’t have to advance at each others’ expense.”

“Your dreams are ballbusters; they’re not the yellow brick road.”

“We’re constantly getting these messages to mind our own business and look the other way if we want to be well liked, to not tell the truth or speak our mind or say anything too intense. Well, I’m telling you here that this approach not only makes you party to other people’s crimes against themselves but is a prescription for mediocrity and delusion.”

“The whole book basically says that I think women have been programmed to be the prettiest, skinniest, best girl, to be really skinny and wear pretty clothes and go to college and get a great degree and then come out and get a great job, and then find a guy and get married, and get pregnant and have a baby, and sorta live happily ever after. And my take is that doesn’t really allow for a lot of freedom for them figure out like, is that who they really are. And so, this is the book for like the village girl who doesnt wanna do things in the order that their mother said, like first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage. This is for the person who wants to find themselves and be who they are, regardless of their gender, and make the most of their life.” -On “If You Have To Cry Go Outside”

She’s not known for being nice.

She’s know for making the hard decisions and telling the truth.
She’s known for building a Public Relations empire.
She’s known by some as “The tarot card reader from that one time.”
She’s known for writing two amazing ass books “If You Have To Cry Go Outside” and “Normal Gets You Nowhere”.
She’s the Mean Demon Lady whose been on The Hills, The City and America’s Next Top Model.

And she’s a mother, a boss and a being whose constantly completely honest with herself.
At the end of the day, she’s an inspiration.

If we’re being honest: I want to be a half naked, hairy recluse

Like many of you, I feel cheated.

Deceived.

Robbed.

Bamboozled.

Misled.

 

When I was young I couldn’t wait to grow up.  When I was 8 I wanted to be 18 so I could finally change my name to Alicia [After Alicia Silverstone, I’d been watching Excess Baggage on repeat], bleach my skin and move to New York.  Where I was going to get the money wasn’t a problem, my father said we were rich [More disappointment would come in the future regarding this].  Becoming White wasn’t going to be an issue either, I was already light skinned. I could dye my hair blonde and get blue contact lenses.

In my young mind, it was all very plausible.

 

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But this is not a post about how The White Man influenced my self image, this is a post on the other lie I was fed: That you gain control of your Life when you get older.

I’m so disgusted, I’m hacked.

To think that I’ve waited all these years, only to have society continue to dictate to me what I should be and how I should act.

To think, I grew up for this.

1. I did not grow up to wear pants.

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I remind myself of this every time I look at the damn constrictors. I don’t like them.  Pants were created by The Man to keep us miserable. I also blame you society, for being unsafe, also hindering me from wearing an oversized t shirt to the tuckshop for a cigarette.

Can you imagine what a leisurely stroll that would be?

But no, I have to wear pants and ruin the whole thing.

2. I also did not grow up to shave. 

As I was engaging in this extreme sport [It really is, one wrong move and whoops! No clitoris] I wondered why.  Fine, at the end of the day, it really is my decision to, seeing as I am the only one who ever sees my Portal To Excellence anyway, but it got me thinking. Right now, we’re at a point in society where hair on a woman’s body is considered unfeminine.

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I consider the times when I let my pubes grow out my own internal rebellious act. A big “Fuck you!” to The Man.

In an ideal world though, I would let it grow out a bit longer, I won’t lie. And I know you might wanna pin this on me being lazy [TRUE!] But really, it’s a hassle.

I often wonder if the silky smooth [Yes, TV ads have brainwashed me] feeling I get is worth it.

 

3. I definitely did not grow up to have to interact with people.Image

I really did not.

When I was young I wanted to be famous. Not for the money, not really. But because I wanted two things:

1.To have people mourn me how I’ll mourn Oprah.

2. I wanted to be as far away from commoners as possible. And by commoners I mean most people who aren’t me.

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But NO!

You grow up and there’re family members you have to maintain relationships with, bosses [In my case, editors, but whatever] you have to constantly communicate with, new lovers, plenty of acquaintances, and just a shitload of human beings.

 

It is hell.

Sometimes I just turn off the network on my phone and  sit under a table because HUMANS, EVERYWHERE!

 

I feel so defeated.  Today, I have done things that go against who I want[ed] to be [circa 12 years old].

But I guess this makes me an adult, my ability to prosper [Kind of] in an environment that occasionally threatens to crush my [irrational] dreams.

 

*PS This post kind of has nothing to do with the fact that I recently watched The Hobbit 2.

I think.

 

 

“She doesn’t mean ‘no’, she means ‘convince me’.”

Why?

Because subconsciously/consciously they don’t respect us enough to believe we can or have the right to make our own decisions.

Because people say things like “When a girl is mad at you, grab her, pull her close and kiss her.”

Because no matter how old you are as a woman, someone will always refer to you as a girl. Someone to be governed and herded. Someone lacking autonomy.

This means that we live in the kind of society where you’re usually the last to have a say in anything involving you, as a woman.
And everyday, if not on the internet or on the streets, you’re reminded of this.

You’re reminded of the fact that to many, it’s a foreign concept to them that a woman can be and has the right to be assertive. That she has the right to own her body and they should respect that.

Lolita: On consent, rape culture and a woman’s autonomy

Something I wrote for ZaGossip.

Go here for the full article.

The Neurological Similarities between Successful Writers and the Mentally Ill

Cody Delistraty

Literary power couple or eccentrics who brought each other down? Literary power couple or eccentrics who destroyed each other?

Knowing his wife was upset with him for spending more time with his typewriter than with her, F. Scott Fitzgerald hatched a plan. He wasn’t proud of many of his short stories (he only included 46 of his 181 short stories in his published collections), but he knew that in order to win back his wife he’d have to whip up something quickly. Working from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., he churned out “The Camel’s Back” for The Saturday Evening Post for a fee of $500. That very morning, he bought Zelda a gift with the money he had made.

“I suppose that of all the stories I have ever written this one cost me the least travail and perhaps gave me the most amusement,” he commented in the first edition of Tales of the Jazz Age. “As to the…

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These Blurred Lines: On racism in South Africa’s school system and the White Psyche

In my Literature class we’re currently reading a book about a said racist killing, how race, class & culture are the blurred lines that intersect and the correlation between them in a South Africa that has just found the Big D known as Democracy.

Now if you’re one of six people of Colour in a classroom of 30 teenage white supremacists, with a teacher who knows no different, everything about this arduous experience will tension you.

Let’s huddle up while I tell this story.

Nearing the end of that period (which was five to the end of the day), I took my cellphone out, because that’s what teenagers do. The teacher reprimanded me & told me to hand over the phone. Now I know I was well within the wrong. Naturally however, you’d want to negotiate your way out of the situation, because yo! Who wants to be without their phone? During this though the teacher hit me with a “You’re going to call me racist for confiscating your phone, now?!”

That burned as much as her shouting did. My natural & instinctive defence was this equally loud response: “Why are you bringing up
race? Which is completely irrelevant to the situation at hand. So no, I am not going to hand it over.” Mind you, this altercation is taking place infront of a class of 30 people who can’t wait to see the action being taken against this opinionated Black girl with a shitty attitude, right?

Not only was the statement she made unnecessary & humiliating to me, it sprawled out the white privilege that she possesses which enabled her to even say that to me in the first place. Or think that it was okay, for that matter. Help me understand the white psyche. We ended up in the principal’s office whose argument remained that I had broken a rule & had every right to be reprimanded. Again, sure. But nothing was said of the cemetery growing inside me, where I’d bury my tolerance for white supremacists like them. Nothing of how stupid it is to throw what the teacher said to me around as a lame defense mechanism (Against what, by the
way?) Instead, she kept telling me about how good of a person she is, because she “hugs all the black kids”. I cannot tell you how much I wanted to laugh.

At the end of the day, that means absolutely nothing. If you’re able to make statements like that & not see your racist thinking, then I don’t know hey.
They acted like I had no idea what racism is. Or what sexism is. Giving me textbook definitions, because this dreadlocked township raised Black girl knows nothing of what she’s talking about.

Help me understand the white psyche.

Why lazy racist thinking like “We don’t see race at this school” is something they deserve a cookie for? No, sir. Please see it. My race & I are not invisible. I’m pretty sure that you can see me. Yes, I am getting a good enough education. But why is it that people don’t want to educate themselves of things that we aren’t taught at school? Especially one where adaptability & the acceptance of change are so stagnant.

Why is it that people don’t get that racism is much more than just openly treating another race badly?

Why is it that the principal so quickly & easily referred to me as a housewife & then as someone in a leadership position in the corporate world; when making an example of how I’d feel in the future if someone broke rules that I set? Because it’s already hard enough to imagine that the Black woman will ever amount to anything besides being a maid. This is the exact internalized &
deeply rooted thinking of superiority towards blacks that whites have systematically been taught.

You, a white person living under the privilege that you attained at the hands of us, Blacks, can be as nonchalant when it comes to race as you like.

I, a Black South African woman, living by a post apartheid doggie bag, cannot.

As a result I have become an openly defiant & opinionated Black girl who can never shut up. I am constantly being taken deep into the white headspace but can never truly grasp it.

People need to understand that the problem is not the skin colour the person is in. The enemy is
the white supremacist thinking. The racist thinking.

Help me understand this “I am above Black people” white psyche.

-Siwo Mata

*More of Siwo’s brilliance can be found on Twitter

Or WordPress

P.S Fuck You

I’m tired, so I’ll probably swear a lot.

 

Not an hour passes that I don’t read some violent/stupid shit aimed at women.  

“If I catch my bitch wearing a mini skirt in the club Imma choke the ho out.”

“I was trying to holler at this bitch but she was tripping so I told her she’s probably a lesbian, plus she’s ugly anyway, and walked off.”

“You can’t let these hos get comfortable fam.”

 

And these men are praised for this shit.  They have their little friends cheering them on and praising their bullshit as the Gospel. 

We’re sick of your shit, to be honest. 

Men have become the biggest bitches of Life and pretend they don’t give a fuck whether because they don’t spend enough time reflecting and so don’t know, or they lie to themselves and convince themselves their shit is alright. 

Do you know how many of you really, truly, aren’t shit

No, you don’t because you don’t think about that. 

You convince yourself that because you have a penis and have managed to get your dick wet a few times you’re a MAN. 

Listen, fuck you. 

Fuck you and your low self esteem. 

Fuck you and your lack of self worth. 

Fuck you Bringing Nothing To The Table Yet Always The First To Talk Some Shit ass men. 

The men who got emotional and stopped listening to TLC because No Scrubs described them so perfectly. 

The men who can’t understand that not all women are “hos” and there’s nothing wrong with being a “ho” in the first place.  Whose fault is it that you lack the vocabulary to adequately express yourself?

Your own. 

You know you aren’t shit. 

You know society will hardly ever chastise you for picking on the group they’ve tried to convince us is less than yours. 

You take the easy way out, because you’re a bitch. 

The same men who will call every woman a bitch, but his mother. 

Well guess what, your mother had to open her legs twice. First to make the mistake of creating you, then to push you out. 

Is she a ho too? 

To put it frankly, you’re stupid. You’re not just ignorant, you’re downright stupid as fuck. 

And you’re lazy, your entire existence is you being and doing as little as possible and you know what that makes you? 

Ain’t Shit. 

And even if you never have anyone tell you this again, it will ring true. 

You bring NOTHING worth having to society. 

You bloody ingrates. 

It’s such a shame that you’re going to reproduce and try to teach more human beings your nonsense. 

Such a damn shame you even exist in the first place. 

Destiny’s Child: A Letter To Young Women

It takes strength, determination and commitment, as a young woman, to get up from under the thumb of Society’s expectations and burdens.  We’re raised to believe we need to put others before us in a way that goes beyond simple altruism. A woman is to carry her family, her friends, her neighbours and society at large on her back and do it gracefully. 

But who thinks of the woman’s needs?  Who thinks of her dreams and aspirations?

Society’s taken strides to encourage independence in women but I’ve found, whether in a bid to keep us realistic or simply because a lot of people still feel that way internally, their encouragement always has a limit. 

A glass ceiling. 

How many of our own parents have encouraged us as young women to truly be independent?

Destiny's Chils

No one seems to discuss the fact that a degree doesn’t guarantee that.  Nor does money or a car, although they might make your life a bit more comfortable. 

Independence starts from within.  It, like knowledge, is something no one can take away from you without your consent. 

As one grows, one experiences loss.  We lose friends, partners, family, mindsets and assets. In fact one might say the only constants in your life right now, truly, are yourself, and change. 

But when was the last time you thought about your goals and aspirations? Without the little voice in your head reminding you of what everyone else expects of you. 

When last? 

To quote the author  Paulo Coehlo  “To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation.” 

It sounds a bit unrealistic, granted, but the older you get, the more important this message will become.  There will never be a shortage of people who want you to do what they want you to do, and everyone seems to know what’s best for the next person while never taking their own advice.  

As much as I don’t know anyone else’s destiny, I can tell you this, it’s never to become somebody else’s project/puppet.  Your separate existence as an entity is so for a reason.  You have a life and you have choices. 

Destinys+Child+Survivor+Crop

Independence also requires a lot of self love.  

You need to love yourself enough to want the best for yourself, by your standards. But desire is not enough, you must also love yourself enough to seek it out.  This will mean endless hours of self actualization, some of which may be rather tedious. You may become the boring [read: focused] one, and you WILL face quite a few hurdles, but the adversity faced will seem rather minuscule once you achieve your goals. 

There is no specific mold to the perfect life.  No one has the blueprint and therefore, no one can truly tell you you’re wrong to follow your passions. 

A woman is capable of so much, far more than we can ever imagine.  

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Why not achieve it all? 

Put yourself first for a change. Put your dreams first. 

Put your Life first. 

“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” 
― Paulo Coelho, Alchemist

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