“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
This is my story through an endless journey through Zanele Muholi’s Somnyama Ngonyama at the National Arts Festival 2016:
So, I saw Zanele’s work once more. I’ve seen this particular work last week, twice already. I was so amazed…again! I couldn’t get enough of it and what the work did to me was beyond expression. I remember the very first time I walked through the gallery, it was as though I had been there before. The only slight problem I had was not viewing it with someone I know, well more like someone who knows me very well. So, what then???
Today, July 8th, I went back to the gallery and funny enough, it felt like the first time ever to see this exhibition… never mind that the two young ladies (Rhodes University BFA & Chemistry students) were once again there, smiling at the entrance 🙂 AAAAND laughing that I was back again. I talked with those girls like we’ve known each other for years. We talked about mostly about the exhibition, well, that’s all we talked about and how we related to it. I was grateful to hear that a group of art students I’d met after my first encounter with Zanele’s work made it through after I (surely) bored them with this piece and that piece and “aargh, I can’t explain it man. You just have to go check out the exhibition yourself”.
I once more went through the gallery, I loved what I saw. I couldn’t comprehend entirely of the different emotions that swam deep within as I feasted on her work. Piece by piece, I was drawn in more and more. I smiled. I laughed. I was saddened. I almost cried. I smiled some more. I wanted to scream. I wanted to shout. I wanted to jump up high. I wanted to bounce all around the space like a child who just discovered the toy store. The vast use of texture. That just got to me…as I was walking through, someone who knows me more than most walked right in… 🙂 I smiled. I was excited. Finally! Someone who will relate!!
Upon leaving, we conversed about the “Brave Beauties” and who my favourites were, and why. This is part of her work, with gay men.
How these “Brave Beauties” were not bothered or boxed by society’s so-called perfect body – which doesn’t exist, really. These were beauties striking their best poses, my favs in undies. They had beautiful natural expressions on their bodies that have over the years been dubbed as imperfections…crazy world we live in…they had beautiful stretch marks, wound scars, chipped nail enamel. I totally related to that. I am yet to get the bug of fake nails or putting on layers of make-up to perfect what’s already naturally perfect… I wonder how many “women” or “ladies” would actually strike such a pose with all their natural marks.
I fell in love with “Somizi
Sincwala, Parktown, Johannesburg, 2014” this was before I knew of the title. I just fell in love with the pose, the “yeah whatever you say or think about me doesn’t matter to me. It only reflects how uncomfortable you are about me” I just love the pose and the hair, so powerful – I don’t think it had anything to do with the so-called “yeah we’re all natural now” trend. It’s an expression. A statement. Then there’s a chain accessory. I remember throwing it out there 🙂 “I wonder what’s the significant of that chain”… Could it possibly be the “box” or “discomfort” I’d mentioned earlier???
Before we left the gallery, I just had to take the last drool over my favourite piece of this work…so, eventually I asked “what do you think of this piece”? and to my surprise, standing here with someone who knows me more than most responds “it actually reminds me of you. This is so you in all measures.”
I was amazed that someone else other than me would tell me that they see glimpse of me in this particular artwork. I remember talking with the BFA student when I first visited the exhibition and when I entered the gallery today… so on our way out, I called her and asked my friend repeat what we’d said about that piece and she was amazed that I didn’t see myself in it alone 🙂 AND then there was the “what’s the name of the piece?”…. guess what?
“Zodwa II, Amsterdam 2015”. Now, isn’t that mind-blowing???
So today I remembered something that I heard in one of the conversations I either had or a conference/seminar/sermon I had attended when I was still at varsity. Are you proud of the person you are when there is no one around? What you do. What you text. Does what you do when you’re just with yourself define who you truly are? I remember when this was brought to my attention I freaked out a bit. Now I remember, it was one of the sermons we had at church. I remember sitting there and my mind wondering back to what I had done that week on campus. Ps. Nigel’s words cut so deep I knew what I had to do. I had to return that remaining toilet paper roll that I had taken from campus toilets that week. Sure I felt like a skunk with its tail between its legs, but I knew I had to do it. I wasn’t proud of what I had done, regardless of the endless reasoning thoughts I privately had. It wasn’t easy no, because I knew deep in my spirit that I had to apologise to the lady who supplied those toilets. O my word, I wanted to just die! But at the end of the day, after all the scolds our relationship was mended and I never ever again took a roll of toilet paper tissue that did not belong to me. Funny thing is, a friend did the exact same thing to me when visiting my place…lol
Here’s a scenario to feast on; a couple – let’s say engaged couple found themselves with a similar predicament as above. She takes his cellphone, goes through his private chat; to see how he behaves when she’s not around… could she find something to be proud about or is his behaviour something to boast about. Well, let’s say she finds a few disturbing traces like, intimate emoticons sent to females and conversations and lines where her fiance talks about how he makes great couple with somebody else, how he imagines kissing one or two lips down to the neck, and about being naked with somebody else…or maybe sends kisses and sweet talks. So, what happens next? She is obviously perplexed, because nobody wants to be in a relationship; long-term or otherwise with a perverted flirt who laughs this off as “sh¡tty cellphone talk” and nothing more.
This reminds me of Caleb and his wife from the movie Fireproof, how he demeans and degrades her with his porn addiction, and overall behaviour. In fact, this is a similar type of thing. Neither “sides” is willing to apologise because both feel wronged…huh! Crazy as this may sound, but hey, as Caleb’s dad give insight about his relationship with his wife, it is relevantly true; he can never truly love his wife the way she wants to be loved because he has no love and does not know how to love…Watch the movie 🙂 or when he is scolding his colleague and utters “you never leave your partner behind; especially in a fire”. Powerful words??? Watch the movie!
Back to the scenario now, regardless of what she did or what he did, or who is right and who is wrong…the bottom line is that she went through his phone, and his phone etiquette left little to be desired. He is secretly living a different lifestyle when there is no one around. Could this be the grown-boy syndrome that Tony Gaskins, jnr mentions in his books. So, what’s your view on this? Is there possible future here, like with Caleb and his wife in the movie? My thoughts, well I can say a lot, but may share some of these upon comments on this post.
“The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.” Psalm 34:18
You hurt, I cry – we’re spinning
This seems to be part of us.
You shout, I’m deaf – we’re not communicating
This seems to have entangled us.
You point, I shriek – this is hurting
This a norm for the both of us?
You glare, I’m blind – this is killing
No norm like this should be part of us.
You cheat, I creep – it’s my fault
Why are all our wrongs dished on my plate?
You hurt, I cry
You shout, I’m deaf
You point, I shriek
You glare, I’m blind
You cheat, I creep
The blame game is all we could create.
June has been deemed as Youth Month in South Africa, and for quite some time I have been wondering what it really means. I have looked at how the youth wears their school uniform; how they handle themselves and others around them. What common factors do they share with their peers, seniors and juniors… So, I have decided to be dressed in my high school’s full uniform and journey on in this “youth life” once more.
Today marks my 7th day in this attire. Already I have noticed a few things that I am happy and some not so happy about. I have visited the same shopping centres/malls that I visit in my “normal attire” and the attitudes of some people that I had once labelled as amazing was surprising. Like on my 5th day; I went to the same Pick ‘n Pay that I enjoy visiting and I was shocked at the effect a school uniform had carried. I was assisted by someone I would give a 5/5 every time I visited the store. She always carries a smile and assists me like I was her very first customer for the day; even at 18:00. Now, this Tuesday it was just after 17:00 and I was in my school uniform. There was no response to my usual “Good afternoon ma’am”, her smile had disappeared and she did not scan all my items…and she made me pack my own things. As I was leaving her Express Till, I called her by name and she finally looked at my face, and when she recognised me her response was “I thought you were these annoying school kids”. Woah! Major disappointment.
I visited the same Spar that I visit to buy my chocolates from and it was so funny how they embraced the cause and there was no change in attitude when they assisted me in school uniform. Maybe this is because they are already surrounded by two high schools in the vicinity? Maybe this is because they just treat each customer with the same level of respect? Well done Spar Tellers & Packers & Merchandisers. I must admit that it was kind of funny when I had to give some of them a nudge so that they would recognise me again…
In any case, I have learned that I am a “greeter”, in general. I greet a lot of people (including strangers) on any given day and they greet back. Since I have been in school uniform, some have been reluctant to greet back, some have given me weird looks and yesterday one said “I haven’t seen a schoolchild who greets elders they aren’t related to in ages. What’s your surname? Where are you from?”. Woah! I was amazed. So, the youth of today have missed the mark on manners? Could this be because we as parents have failed to pour down the same values that our parents had taught us? Or maybe “democracy” has given them the “right” not to uphold those standards? Mmmmh, maybe it’s because of the culture they have adopted? Or maybe it’s because there is so much distrust in the world? Or maybe it’s just the “way of this generation”…either way, I remember how I was told and shown to treat elders in a certain way and this is what I have taught my son from early on, even in this “scary” world we live in. I’m not claiming to be perfect here, surely I’ve missed the mark more than a couple of times too; especially as a teen; but I’ve got this now and that’s what matters…
I walk along a long stretch of road,
where I encounter numerous valleys and hills,
My mind consumed with thoughts of you.
I wonder to myself if every step I take leads me further or closer to you.
Surrounded with great company, yet I find myself alone,
deep in the thoughts of the possibility of you and I;
I cannot help but wonder if I am alone in this,
Could I be alone in this or do you too wonder about me?
Different scenes of how we will meet play out daily in my head.
Daydreaming about you only hurts in the end;
For I no longer want to meet where seasons do not exist;
Maybe my strides are too long for you to catch up,
Next I see stop sign, maybe I should wait there for you.
At the crossroads where you and I made an appointment to meet up;
This cannot be just one-sided because you take up my time.
For months long I started writing notes on my macbook after I had lost my gran; who was more of a mom and best friend to me. I could not see passed and beyond the landmark of our last conversation. I said “I still love you so much young lady”… “see you next weekend”, to which she responded “dress very smart”…who knew that the weekend we talked about would be that of her funeral?
When I eventually got passed choosing my username, this time around, I knew this was a new beginning for me. I am yet to see how things go, but all I can do is be me and write what sits well deep within. So, let thopefaith journey on…