…Do tell your story…it matters

Anyone who knows me would know that I don’t do well with a set routine, I grapple with the concept of doing things the same way all the time always. I am in no way disorderly, quite divergent I like order. It’s amazing how we remember the things that we thought we never paid much attention to. Growing up my life was centered on church, school, home, church school home (You get the idea).Church was fascinating  every other preacher made a point of reminding it to us that our church was not like any other, but a methododist(they would say) it meant that there was a method in which to be followed in how things were done every time all the time, for instance not anyone could burst into a song, that was a duty assigned to specific dedicated member(s) of the church with an acceptable singing voice. It was the same with prayer, preaching and worship (Lead by the Holy Spirit, What??Never!!)

After countless failed attempts to miss church on purpose by waking up late and inevitable causing everyone to miss the most important part of the worship, my mom eventually gave up on forcing me to go to church, that’s when I would lose myself browsing through the old You magazines, it was then that I would read the Danielle steel novels given to my dad by his employers. It was not out of lack of Xhosa written novels but somehow they never engrossed me quite like the blue eyed women that Steele wrote about, maybe the fascination was more on the places I have never heard of before Connecticut, Hartford,San Francisco I could swear the places I read about were more beautiful than how their name sounded. While August is an open season for women’s month in South Africa with most celebrations taking place on the ,9th, I decided I would escape to my childhood love – a book, instead of going to one more celebration where things will be done the same way as last year. A dialogue around issues facing women, gender inequality, masculinity etc. followed by a round of questions maybe and after all of that each on their own to the very same issues. While I couldn’t spend the day as I have planned to at home, I’m glad I met with the ladies that I did ,not only did I enjoy listen to their stories but I also learned that:

STORIES ARE GOOD – Personal stories in particular, while I am far from being a writer nor a blogger I just happen to like listening, reading and telling stories. In high school we used to play what we referred to as ‘isiqendu’ (isisqendu – an episode).Whoever was telling a story would have an imagined storyline, while I quite enjoyed that what I never used to understand was why ours were always so dramatic. Now that I am growing I think it had to do with what was happening around us, we were telling our stories the only way we knew how, one could have learned a lot about our home circumstances just by listening to those stories, imagined as they were they were not far off from the truth. In our stories we are impressionable and vulnerable especially as a young child. As a child I was convinced that in order for stories to be of an interest they had to be about things that I could not relate to, like brunette shoulder length hair, perfect bodies, blue eyes and champaigne.Now that I am older I know that our stories matter it is up to us to keep on telling them, the aim is not to end the tyranny of patriarchy but is to keep on keeping on.

Chimamanda Adiche in her Tedtalk titled ‘The danger of a single story’ says –  ‘show a people as one thing, as only one thing, over and over again, and that is what they become’ while it is not my intention to bash any  TV show but I struggle with the indulgent  of the tenacity of all the housewives shows, one could argue that its entertainment but is there no other way that black women can entertain other than cursing, pulling each other’s hair, throwing drinks at each other (you know the whole crabs-in-a-barrel mentality) ? I know  the ‘housewives’ is not a representation of all black women however, but it seems to me the more women watch these shows the more it seems like it’s acceptable to believe whatever it is that is fed to us through TV screen or social media, for instance things like ‘the yellowbones and chocolate brownies. It is also not my intention to generalize I am merely pointing out a few that come to mind as I write this.

It’s been said that intelligence is the ability to recognize patterns, work with abstract symbols, and see relationships. It is difficult for me (less intelligent as I am) to fathom how intelligent people can deny the existence of some covert operation directing the way in which women particularly black women advance.Ofcourse women don’t need policing on what to listen to, what shows to watch on TV etc., however stories are defined by the principle of ‘greater than the other’.

Like Mourid Barghouti said is his ‘I Saw Ramallah’ – “It is easy to blur the truth with a simple linguistic trick: start your story from “Secondly.” Neglected to speak of what happened first. Start your story with “Secondly,” and the world will be turned upside-down. Start your story with “Secondly,” and the arrows of the Red Indians are the original criminals and the guns of the white men are entirely the victims. It is enough to start with “Secondly,” for the anger of the black man against the white to be barbarous. .” Start the story with the arrows of the Native Americans, and not with the arrival of the British, and you have an entirely different story. Start the story with the failure of the African state, and not with the colonial creation of the African state, and you have an entirely different story.

Its 2014 one of the greatest advantages that we have is access to social media, why not use is as a platform to tell our stories? Why compress our experiences by focusing only on the negative overlooking the stories that shaped us? Why allow media to disinherit us?

I blog to process my thoughts and emotions, sometimes I just write with some hope to provoke other people’s views…




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