2014 July 26: What I want as a black lesbian youth

My name is Lebogang Mashifane, I’m 25 years old and I live with my mother in Kwa-Thema, east of Gauteng, South Africa.
I have recently relocated from Cape Town, South Africa.
I hold a Diploma in Multimedia Technology from CPUT (Cape Peninsula University of Technology). I currently freelance as a videographer and volunteer for Inkanyiso as a researcher and writer.

 
The transition of living in the township of Kwa-Thema for 12 years, to living in the suburbs of Cape Town for 12 years and back to the township of Kwa – Thema again has been quite an experience. I realise how the youth’s lives seem meaningless in the township. A girl still to be a teenager already has a dented future. The extreme indulgence of sex, drugs and alcohol has resulted in teenage pregnancy, poverty, crime, ignorance and unrealised dreams.
The youth of 1976 in South Africa fought very hard, not only for themselves, but also for the generations to come. I am fortunate and forever appreciative of their blood, sweat and tears that today I can have an education in English. Institutionalised racial segregation in South Africa was officialised in the 60’s right through to the early 90’s. I embrace the freedoms that we now possess as a rainbow nation. It is almost 4 decades since the student uprising in Soweto, 38 years to be exact.

 
The needs and wants of the youth of that era are slightly different from those of this era, such as electricity and housing, which is still a problem today. Nowadays we also want internet access as most of the youth access internet from their cell phones. The youth of 1976 wanted freedom from the oppressors, who were the invading Europeans. They also wanted their land back from the oppressors’ forceful ownership and wanted to not be taught in the language of the oppressor. Amongst those wants there were many other wants but the above mentioned were the main focal points.

 
I believe in liberation and equal rights for all. I want to have a shelter that would house people of all ages that are abused and homeless. I believe that this action will decrease some of the issues that we are faced with in the universe. The shelter would also serve as a job opportunity and/ or an educational opportunity. People will be able to learn as well as find employment, as the shelter would have a nursery for those with green fingers. The produce will be served as food for the shelter and excess sold at fruit and vegetable stores. There would also be opportunities of different crafts such as bead work, sculpturing, painting, etc. Art will be explored in all its forms, benefiting the people and maintaining the shelter.

 
I would also like to have my own media company which will also have the shelter residents as workers. The shelter residents will choose according to their interests as to which field they would like to explore. A clinic will also be part of the shelter as all the people that come to the shelter for assistance will most likely need counselling and medical attention for their health. As residents get better and heal from their various ailments, they would become peer workers, getting tarining – according to their interests – to run the clinic along with all other fields. There will also be a school which would teach people of all ages that need a basic education. Those who can qualify to apply for external educations such as college or university can do so and be assisted in getting bursaries from various companies.

 
Security is vital to every property therefore the shelter would also have a security company. It would also be a service offered to companies that require security. The shelter residents that would work in this field would undergo a criminal check as this is very crucial for this field. The same would apply for all other positions.
At the moment I am trying to research about the township that I live in as an adult with ideas, and no longer a child. I want to start an art movement that will also be a space for young people to find solace and refuge. This will be a space where poetry recitation, painting, drawing, singing, dancing, acting etc, will take place. We will also allow the members of this art movement to share their pain and frustrations. Some of the youth could be succumbing to drugs because they have no support at home and no one to talk to about their issues. Some end up as sex slaves or living with someone they are not in love with, because they feel the need to be loved.

 
My mother, as a parent to a gay daughter and her friend who is a mother to a gay son want to start a support group for parents who have gay children. I’m also helping my mother with preparations for this movement. I value this movement and I want to see it succeed. This is such a great idea to all family members including the entire community and fighting homophobia which is still a massive problem in South Africa.

 
I want to see myself as part of a great influence to change this world for the better. I want to see myself living in a world where no one will have to be out in the streets on cold and rainy nights. A world where no one has to be hungry, lonely, illiterate or with shattered dreams. Right now I am stuck with big ideas and no resources to make them happen. It kills me every day to see people suffer and others gloat about to the very same suffering people.

 
I believe in helping people that also try to help themselves. Other people just want to be spoon-fed, they need to get a wake up call. It is about time we rose together as a collective to empower each other for a better life now and forever.

 

Previous by Lebo Mashifane

2014 June 17: Uprising with EPOC and the black LGBTI community in Ekurhuleni

and

2014 May 26: EPOC (out)reaching effort

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2014 July 28: Memories never fade away – ‘Foot for Love’

My reflection on our 2012 Paris trip that we, Thokozani Football Club (TFC) had.

It all started at the Thokozani football club that I joined voluntarily in 2008, hence I’m proud of myself for making such a good decision.

Firstly I would like to convey my gratitude to Cecile Chatrain, Veronica Noseda (who initiated the plan for us to be in Paris) and their generous connected to Zanele Muholi who is friends with them. I cannot forget TFC manager, Lizzy Muholi because without their dedication to our team we wouldn’t be able to fulfil the dream of going to Paris. Most importantly and not forgetting, the Equipe Les Degommeuses for their potential support that they’ve given us.
I have played soccer several teams and I have been rewarded with lot of certificates of appreciation, medals and trophies but with Thokozani I have found love, support and a home.
In 2012 we went to Paris to play against the Equipe Les Degommeuses. That tour to Ile-de France will never fade away in our thoughts, it has been permanently emblazoned on our subconscious minds believe me. It was the best feeling and every homosexual would die to have a chance to experience it.

Days were moving pretty fast, the warmth and love that we were receiving in every workshop or the meeting with the youth from France at the Cybercrips was outstanding”

We have carried the spirit of Thokozani Qwabe whom will always be loved and missed. She is a legend to be remembered for being true to her sexual orientation and for “coming out” as a female homosexual hence she was brutally killed for that. Living your life by being out about your sexual orientation doesn’t mean that you need to be redefined by someone. We don’t need to be “defined” we know who we are and we are happy we need no conversional methods to cure us because this is not a disease, we are not sick and not confused.

At the arrival in Paris round about 10 am, that moment of putting your foot in another country, with different atmospheric pressure and different settings, is an extra ordinary feeling. Thank you for the warm welcome at the Charles De Gaulle airport.

Days were moving pretty fast, the warmth and love that we were receiving in every workshop or the meeting with the youth from France at the Cybercrips was outstanding”

On our first day, we went to a music festival, Solidays, which was against human immunodeficiency virus/acquired Immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS). There were many games which were conveying health education messages on how to prevent HIV/AIDS, which was the purpose of the festival. When I looked at my watch it was 20:25 and it was still hot because the sun was still up. I was thinking that back at home, everybody was tired from the long day, relaxing inside their homes and watching Generations, and that the sun had set.

Days were moving pretty fast, the warmth and love that we were receiving in every workshop or the meeting with the youth from France was outstanding. I have never felt such a thing in South Africa.
The screening of the documentary, Difficult Love (2010) and ensuring debate with the French citizens was highly noted and appreciated by the TFC team.

Thembela with TFC members in Paris, June 2012. Photo by Laurence Prat

Thembela with TFC members in Paris, June 2012.
Photo by Laurence Prat

 

terra in Paris with TFC member_2008Nompilo and Thembela ‘Terra’ 

 

During the game at Parc de Prins stadium in Paris, 2012. Thanks to Foot for Love organisers

During the game at Parc de Prins stadium in Paris, 2012.
Thanks to Foot for Love organisers

Thank you for the support. I wouldn’t forget the free tour guide visit to the Eiffel Tower,  the Louvre Museum, and the park where the body of Sarah Baartman’s body was confined and on show for public before her body was repatriated to its rightful resting place.

I watched UEFA champions league and I see Paris Saint-German football club (PSG) playing at the “Parc des Princes” (Le Parc) stadium all the time but I never knew that I would be given a chance to play in the stadium for 90 minutes. I just smile and my heart jumps each time I think of it. I always make sure that everybody gets to know that I played at that stadium.

A big thank you goes to all Equipe Degommeuses, Laurence Prat, Paris based photographer who took our beautiful photographs during and after the match.
I cannot forget Lesbiennes of Color (LOCs); the Family Planning in Paris, where the TFC stayed overnight;  the Lesbiennes of colors, who organized the lesbian festival on Friday and Mimi (owner of Rosa Bonheur) and the team, who organized the party at the bar in the Park..
Violette & Co library that hosted Muholi’s talk, the Région Ile-de-France, the Crips Ile-de-France, the City of Paris and everybody who made our visit to Paris, France successful.

Last but not least, Paris Pride was well organised and it really symbolised the acceptance and support from heterosexuals to homosexuals. I was quite surprised by the number of people who attended the march. That was nice and I already miss walking down the streets of Paris because I have never been so free and so not worried about discrimination, biphobia and homophobia. I love Paris, infact I love Parisians.

Please don’t forget us. We, at TFC will never forget you.
Love

Nokulunga ‘Luh’ Cele

 

Related links

2013 June 6: Reviving the spirit of Thokozani

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2014 July 28: Comfort’s coming of age ceremony

 

Where:  Nquthu, KwaZulu Natal.
When:  12th July 2014

Umemulo unjengomshado, usuke uwumakoti ushadiswa nabakini, umhlwehlwe usuke umele i-veil. Ube futhi uyafana ne – 21st yesizulu, ngoba uma umuntu wesifazane emuliswa usuke unikwa ukhiye ukuthi usengakhululeka agane.

Igama lami ngingu-Comfort BZ Gwala, ngiphila impilo yobu Lesbian engizalwe nayo, abazali bami bangigcinele usiko lokungukhulisa ngokwesizulu (umemulo) obungomhlaka 12 July 2014, endaweni yase-Nquthu.
Ngacela Inkanyiso ukuba izongithathela izithombe zomcimbi wami obe yigugu elikhulu kimi. Ngosizo lweNkanyiso nabangaphumelanga ukuba khona, iNkanyiso izobathatha ibabeke ngezithombe ngakho konke okwakwenzeka, nokwaba okokuqala emlandweni ukumula kwe Lesbian.

Ukwenzelwa kwami umemulo kungijabulisile, noma bengisaba ukugqoka isidwaba ngoba abantu abaningi endaweni bebazi ukuthi ngiwumfana, negenge yabafana engiphila nayo, abaningi bathukile, abanye bebuza kumina ukuthi ubani ozomula kini? Ngivele ngithi omunye udadewethu ngisaba ukuthi imina.
Ngendlela ekwakugcwele ngayo?
Bathi babefuna ukubona i-lesbian imula.

 

IMG_0269 (640x427) (2)La izinsizwa zazigiya zingilande emfuleni sesiya esigcawini. 

 

IMG_0264

 

IMG_9992Isibopho esifakwe umama ekhanda, esokuvimba ukuthi umoya ungabi khona.
Netshali alibeke emahlombe.  Umoya nje, just a wind, kuba nomoya omkhulu ongadiliza izindlu. Kuvinjwa wona.

 

IMG_0015La ekushunqa khona intuthu, kusendlini yakwa gogo, umama usishisela impepho mina newele lami, kumi imbuzi yewele kodwa ayivelanga. Ubika umsebenzi emsamu.

 

IMG_0224Lesi ngiguqile umfwethu ubambe umhlwehlwe awukhipha emanzini, uzongigqokisa wona. Lesi engihleli khona phansi, ngase ngembeswa, abakomalume nabakamkhwenyana kadade wethu omncane.

 

IMG_0206Isithombe esinokhamba , njengoba ngangihleli emfuleni, nabadala abangasekho basuke bekhona, ukhamba kusuke kuwolwabo, kodwa baphuzelwa imina kancane, ngihabule.

 

IMG_0210

 

IMG_0200

 

IMG_0134

 

IMG_0204… uma umuliswa ubizwa ngomakoti, umalume wakho olande kuyena umkhonto ubizwa ngomkhwenyana.

 

IMG_0245Ukwenzelwa kwami umemulo kungijabulisile, noma bengisaba ukugqoka isidwaba ngoba abantu abaningi endaweni bebazi ukuthi ngiwumfana, negenge yabafana engiphila nayo, abaningi bathukile, abanye bebuza kumina ukuthi ubani ozomula kini? Ngivele ngithi omunye udadewethu ngisaba ukuthi imina. Ngendlela ekwakugcwele ngayo? Bathi babefuna ukubona i Lesbian imula.

 

IMG_0458

 

IMG_0199Lo owedansane e blue, umfowethu olama ongilamayo, uwu number 3, lo owe jersey eli black & whites, umzala wami uyena omele umalume ngoba akasekho, u-Bheki Mthembu, umfowethu uKwazi Gwala, abahleli phansi omzala bonke bazalwa omalume. 

 

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IMG_0244Isidwaba siyisembatho sakwazulu, imvunulo yakwa Zulu,esho ukuba umakoti.
Umhlwehlwe njengoba uhlangene uthule usho ukuthi ngiseyi virgin kodwa kade ngaqala ukuqonywa.
 

IMG_0126Inkomo nenkonyane, kwakuzidlela nje, akuhlangene nomemulo.

 

IMG_0115

 

IMG_0448Imali ekhanda usuka uphiwa , iyaye ikhokhe izikweletu ezenziwe ngomsebenzi.

Engikwenzelwe umama, ngiyakusaba, angazi ngiyomjabulisa ngani?
Ngifisa sengathi bonke omama abazele ama Lesbians bengawakhombisa uthando bawamukele njengabantwana babo.
Ne Nduna ephethe ingimangazile ukuthi isukume ize emcimbini womuntu ofana nami, ikhombise ukungacwasi ngokobulili, yaze yasho kwabayi intervier yathi umuntu uphila impilo ayithandayo.

Lokho kwangijabulisa…

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IMG_0508

 

IMG_0467

 

IMG_0132

 

IMG_0466Lapha ngikhashwe izintombi ezihlolwayo zasendaweni, ezihamba umhlanga, ezingakaze zihlangane nomuntu wesilisa.

 

IMG_0506Kulesithombe ngihlezi nomama wami.

... eyokuzibona ngigqoke u bra ingithusile, bengiqala, ngingakwazi nokuwugqoka, umama wayengithengele oveza i cleavage, ngawunqaba. Usisi wami wangithengela
o right, kona iyona part eyabanzima ukudlula ukufaka isidwaba.

Umphakathi waseNquthu, obaba omama nabafana bakhona, bayaphila, bengicabanga ukuthi bazongixwaya emva kokungibona ukuthi ngiyintombazane, kodwa bavele baqhubeka ngendlela abebengithatha ngayo, nobaba bendawo basangibiza ngo ndodana.

Uma uphila impilo yobuqenge ezindaweni zasemakhaya, akunankinga njengasemalokishini, ngoba kunemithetho eqinile evikela wonke umuntu, njengokudlwengulwa kwama Lesbian, akwenzeki, nokuhlukunyezwa kwawo,

Inkinga engiba nayo mina emakhaya, uma kuhlatshiwe kuba nzima ukuthi ngizohlala nobani? Angingeni esibayeni ukuyodla inhloko namadoda, amantombazane ayangixwaya uma ngidla esithebeni sawo. Ngigcina ngihlaliswa ngedwa. Kube buhlungu kimi.

 

Photos by Lindeka Qampi commissioned by Zanele Muholi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2014 July 28: Queer Youth Exchange announcement

 

Queer Youth Exchange - Application form

 

 

If you are interested in applying for this opportunity kindly email for application forms:
hoosain.khan@wits.ac.za

or call

+27 11 717 4239 

 

 

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2014 July 26: “I was born this way and I cannot change the skin that I live in”

My name is Refilwe Pitso but am popularly known as ‘Fifi’.
I was born and raised in Daveyton, Benoni in Johannesburg. I was born on the 27th of December 1991 and I was raised by my mother. She is a single parent but there were other guardians who helped raise me as well. I currently live with her and my younger sister.

My highest level of education is matric and I graduated with a B. I am employed at Ackermans as a shop assistant. I am also a treasurer on non-profit organisation called Team Dress Fresh, an organisation involved with street fashion. I love modeling very much.
In 2013 I won the Mr Uthingo pageant in Daveyton. The experience was fun but the competition was tight. I was competing against my best friend Meme. The first time I entered, I won the Mr Valentine title, as a 2nd Prince. When I entered this time, I was confident I would win. I knew I had the looks, I knew the challenges, the personality I needed to project and I know modeling as a whole. In the end I won best prize and there was a photo frame and man’s accessories included.

The future plans that I have for myself are to rise up in the real world, becoming something that people could never believe from a person like me. I would like people to know that when they’re looking at me they are looking at a man who is trapped in a woman’s body. Frankly what am trying to say is I am lesbian.

I was born this way and I cannot change the skin that I live in.
In terms of gender I identify as a female, a woman who likes the satisfaction of another woman. I identify as butch and to me this means that I am a masculine person in a relationship. This tends to denote a degree of masculinity displayed by a female individual beyond that typical of a tomboy.

My hobbies are playing soccer, reading novels, watching TV, and fashion shows.

My family and I went through rough patches these past few years. When I came out as a lesbian, it came as a horrifying shock to them. They thought that I was cursed. They thought that the devil was using me and that I had a demon in me. They started taking me to various churches to be exorcised, but nothing changed. I kept on telling them that the devil was not using me and this is who I was and nothing could change me. Time passed by and they started realising how I lived my life and they started gaining an understanding that people like me live by God’s will. Suddenly they were showing me real love
and real support.

I take relationships seriously, even though our generation takes love for granted. I am currently dating and I try by all means to love and cherish my woman. My parents are totally aware of my relationship, and so do the family of my girlfriend.

I live in a nasty township where unexpected deaths occur. Anything is possible there. Crime rates are very high. People went from being human to being animals and the law is not doing enough, especially around lesbian/gay crime.

As a black lesbian my life is always in danger on the streets, taxi ranks, clubs and even in schools. People are homophobic every day and so far nothing has changed. As the LGBTI community, we try
hard to educate people about who we are, what we are and what we do, but to them it is like telling them to hate us more.

If I were to become a leader or a politician, I would focus on hate crimes and finding solutions on how to overcome them. I believe they will not be completely eliminated but that more could be done to have them under control.

If given a chance to do something that will change my life, I would become the first lesbian president and my platform would be to champion equal rights. The true meaning of being young is to live happily, show love to my race, show people that I am more than who I am romantically attracted to and that I am human being who is equally capable to think and bring change to the world. The true meaning of being a woman means I don’t have to be ashamed of who I am and who I have become.

 

Fifi featuring in Faces and Phases

‘Fifi’ featuring in Faces and Phases

 

When I saw my picture on the wall I was amazed by the work Zanele Muholi was doing, I mean she chose me coz she saw something in me, and I felt happier than ever.
When my parents saw my picture my mum was like “ngwanaka you definitely a man.” She is now proud of me, am proud of taking that chance when I still got the time, and thanks to Zanele now people know who I am.

 

L-R:  Meme Motaung, Shaz Mthunzi & Refilwe Pitso @ WAM opening on 29th Jan. 2014

L-R: Meme Motaung, Shaz Mthunzi & Refilwe Pitso @ WAM opening on 29th Jan. 2014

 

 

Previous life stories

 

2014 June 25: I consider myself beautiful not handsome

 

and

 

2014 May 24: The special boy

 

and

 

2014 May 7: I don’t like being identified in terms and definitions

 

and

 

2014 May 18: Behind the beautiful face you see is a lesbian who is torn into a million pieces

 

and

 

2014 May 30: I was a boy who would one day grow up to be a man

 

and

 

2013 Oct. 22: I thought university was for the rich

 

and

 

2013 Oct. 16: I am a beautiful young dyke, a woman lover

 

and

 

2013 Oct. 12: I just feel she deserves much better

 

and

 

2013 Oct. 2: I am a normal transgender woman’

 

and

 

2013 Aug. 22: Am exactly where I’m supposed to be

 

and

 

2013 July 15: The virus has become a silent relative

 

and

 

2013 June 27: Who I Am

 

and

 

2013 March 10:  “I love women and they love me”

 

and

 

2013 February 28: I am not a Victim but a Victor

 

 

 

 

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2014 July 26: The luxury was on another level at the 2014 Design Indaba

 

Audience2 @ Design Indaba_1286

Five months later…

by Yaya Mavundla

How often does a black transwoman from the rural areas get to meet Victoria Beckham in person; have breakfast in the same restaurant with Carlos Santana, fly around Cape Town in a helicopter? Honestly chances are zero, or so you might think. It came true for me.

Every time I thought of Cape Town I just thought of how expensive everything is said to be, definitely not a city I ever thought I would enjoy spending the whole week at.

sometimes you need_1288

On 26 February 2014, Zanele Muholi, Valerie Thomas and I, travelled from Johannesburg to Cape Town for Design Indaba where Zanele Muholi was one of the speakers for State of the Art.
When we arrived at the airport at about 13:10 the driver from @designindaba was already waiting with a sign written ‘Zanele Muholi’ as instructed by Cherize Ross, the project manager of the event.

State of the Art_0236

State of the Art panelists_0558Panelists:  L- R: Athi Patra Ruga, Zanele Muholi, Nandi Mntambo &  (Moderator) Hans Ulrich.

 

In my mind I thought we were getting into a shuttle but to my surprise, it was the new Mini Cooper. I was beyond words! Almost every girl would love to be driven around in the new Mini around the Green City of Cape Town.

I knew we were going to an upmarket hotel, Mount Nelson, but I didn’t realise its historical significance. The luxury was on another level and, the people you meet there are people of a certain standing in society.

While at the reception waiting for our room allocation, the Victoria Beckham came in like boom!
I mean it’s a different experience having to be in the VIP area at an Elton John concert and be in the same reception area with such a global icon. Goose bumps are what you get when such happens.

Our room was still being prepared for us to move in and after four hours of waiting for our room allocation, we moved in. This was definitely something that we were not anticipating and perhaps left a bitter taste in our mouths. All I can say is incompetence!

Apart from that, and I say that lightly, everything else was superb. The linen was definitely the most comfortable linen I’ve ever slept in. It was so luxurious that I couldn’t wait to take a nap to feel the softness rubbing against my skin. My skin was actually written happiness all over when I woke up.

After we had settled in and had time to freshen up, we got ready for dinner and Muholi suggested we go to V&A Waterfront. We opted to take a walk which was about 35min although it did not feel anything like it at all. I certainly enjoyed the crisp air and the exercise. Valery wanted to eat Oysters, which I later tried and decided against.

We finally found a restaurant which served sea food. Unfortunately, or fortunately – depending on who you are – we had to dine outside as it was full inside. It was cold, as the restaurant we chose was right next to the harbour. After we ordered our drinks and food, they were able to create a very small table for three, right next to the door inside and they went ahead and fussed over us.

After a great dinner we had, we decided to go back to the hotel and rest as the week ahead was going to be hectic. Everything seemed as if we were going have a great experience and that’s what exactly happened.

 

Audience @ Design Indaba 2014_1285

Photos by Lindeka Qampi & Zanele Muholi

 

 

To be continued…

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@MuholiZanele.

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