Category Archives: Convictions

I am who I am

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Today’s entry is not for the faint-hearted. Let me tell you a story of champagne, loose tongues and self-deception.

I was at a dinner party with people I can safely consider my family. One woman asked: Why are you so tanned? And I said: I’ve been in the sun, and I must say I don’t feel I’ve tanned enough. And she said: But you’re not usually that dark are you? And before I answered I looked at her closely and I saw in her the glow that comes with self-deception. Often it’s masked, it hides under a thin layer of confidence, and it tricks you into thinking it’s the glow that comes with self-love; but let me tell you, it’s the glow that comes with successfully lying to yourself about who and what you are. So I said: I tan quickly and I do get quite dark. My mother was black, the darkest woman I ever saw, and her blood flows through me, so when I tan and I become dark like she once was, I feel such pride, such joy, you cannot begin to understand.

And let me say this, the woman who questioned me about my skin colour, is in fact light-skinned, but she is not white. She and I are both of mixed heritage, but she is far lighter than I am. The look I saw in her eyes is the look of someone who has fooled themselves into thinking they are white, and in truth what she believes is none of my business. It becomes my business when she tries to transfer her nonsense to me. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being white, or black, or whatever Michael Jackson was (who’s bad? me!). But there is something wrong with believing that one race is better than another, that one race is superior to another. And that is what I saw in her eyes, the desire to be seen as white, because she feels white is the best race you can be. And that is, excuse my French, the f*cking saddest thing ever (and also a massive lie).

My father is white, my mother was black, they both were generous to a fault as they decided to gift mankind with me. I am so very snug in my own skin, whether it is tanned or not. When you question me, you will be answered. And no one can make me doubt who I am or where I come from. I am an African woman and I love my brown skin.

Afterwards, she was silent. And I sipped champagne till I forgot all about that conversation. But I awoke this morning with a deadly hangover and I felt the need to share and to say: I am who I am.

I am not my clothes

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According to the BBC, Wendy Hleta said women in Swaziland make it easier for rapists by wearing mini-skirts. Easier? Because rapists can justify their criminal inclinations by saying: too much on display! In that case, I’m off to rob a store: the mannequins looked too good in the clothes, too many nice clothes, must. Have. Them. Or was Hleta suggesting it’s easier to undress a woman in a mini-skirt? So on the morning in question, a woman put on her mini-skirt while repeating the mantra: I’m making it easier for rapists. I’m making it easy for rapists. Strange times we live in. Where criminals (because rape is a crime and a rapist is a criminal) are given the tools they need to justify their acts. ‘Well, if she had a pair of trousers on I’d not have done it!’ Has this ever been said? Or is Hleta suggesting there are two criminals here, the rapist and that dreadful, dreadful mini-skirt? And how sorry I feel for doctors everywhere. They see us naked. They probe us and prod us. Poor, poor doctors. No wonder 99% of rapists are doctors.Wait a minute. They aren’t. Strange times we live in. Once women stood together and burnt bras (the old scabby ones with the wire poking out already). Now women tell other women that clothing may influence rapists. Somewhere clever, clever men are rubbing their hands together because they got a woman to say it. On second thought, this could all be Hleta’s idea; what fresh hell would that be? Many African women in traditional attire must be at risk then. But Hleta has that covered, a ban on ‘immoral’ dressing won’t extend to traditional clothing. So as long as the clothing is traditional, it is not immoral. What’s the difference between a mini-skirt exposing one’s legs and a colourful traditional bead skirt exposing one’s legs? One represents tradition, the safety to express oneself. The other? Represents a willingness to be abused? Does such a person exist? Does anyone on this earth enjoy having their rights and their body violated? No. No. No. A thousand times no. Rape needs to be stopped, no doubt about that. But a mini-skirt makes it easier for a rapist? What does that even mean?

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