2015 Jan. 21: A “word porn star’s” heart is captured by some pieces

Book review
by Lonwabo Mlabatheki

The first time I read about the book was on the net and that’s when I told myself, this book is a must have. Not knowing it captured photographs of faces I was familiar with and of people I knew personally.

When I was finally presented with an opportunity to read the book, it was like a dream come true. The cover on its own was enough to steal my heart, before I could even read the content.
Those who attended the Johannesburg launch at the Market Photo Workshop on the 7th Nov. 2014  only gave me a glimpse about it. My curiosity grew wanting to read it. I’m glad I had the opportunity to read and go through it.

As an emotional being, I developed an emotional relationship with Faces and Phases 2006-14, caused by the few stories with a happy ending. It took me through an emotional roller coaster ride.
I shed a tear, smiled and drooled over a few Lesbian women and transmen who were pleasing to the eye.

As a “word porn star” some pieces captured my heart.
”They might swear at us as much as they want to, beat us up, rape and murder us, but they won’t get to our souls. Our inner beauty will be expressed in every special way”

This piece awakened my activism demon. At times I think that as activists we are fighting a losing battle. Yes we march, sing, chant and write, but only a few listen to our silent cries.
It arose the wilted rose of hope in my heart, to help me continue fighting for my rights and believe in my dreams as a change maker.

Though many stories are about brutality and sexual violence, the story about changing the word victim into victory made me realise that nothing beats forgiveness and accepting things you can’t change.


Funeka Soldaat _ sm

An activist’s portrait, Funeka Soldaat Makhaza, captured in Khayelitsha Cape Town in 2010

As an aspiring journalist and an activist, I enjoyed reading stories and seeing faces of icons I look up to, the likes of Nkuzi Nkabinde, Funeka Soldaat, Dikeledi Sibanda, Lerato Dumse, Ayanda “Sister A” Magoloza, just to name a few, Faces and Phases 2006-14 painted a clear picture that change doesn’t occur in one night. Rome wasn’t built in a day. The struggle still continues and it’s in our hands to combat such issues and not dwell much into pain and share our success stories too.


Zandile Nkunzi Nkabinde Braamfontein Johannesburg 2008 _ sm

Participant in Faces and Phases, Nkunzi Nkabinde, photo was taken in Braamfontein Johannesburg in 2008


Faces and Phases 2006-2014 has context about issues or challenges we struggle with in all walks of life. As people experiencing Gender Based Violence, patriarchy in the workplace, grievances, achievements, religion, culture, beliefs and acceptance by our friends, families, colleagues, communities and the society at large.

It consists of biographies, poems, articles and stories shared by my fellow queers about their past and present experiences worldwide.

Author’s bio

Lonwabo Mlabatheki is a 22 year old aspiring journalist, writer and a Human Rights activist. She is into performing arts, traveling, public speaking and love to explore and experiment with new things.


Related links


2015 Jan. 5: An ally shares her perspective




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2015 Jan.17: My Durban virgin- ity breaks

by Lebo Mashifane

Woz’ eDurban (Come to Durban)

Ukuhamba wukubona meaning “To explore is to experience”.

The 2014 festive season was quite memorable as opposed to 2013 December holidays. Just like the first climax (orgasm), it was quite a revelation – so was my virgin experience. I mean my Durban experience.

Being in Durban for the first time was immensely exciting to my personal exploration. It came with cleansing, clarity and closure. I marveled the sublime lush that brought peace to my soul. The serenity of nature was the most calming sensation; I was breathing fresh oxygen. I was also able to observe personal behaviors from the 9 other people I had travelled with from Johannesburg and spent December 30 – January 5 with, and deduced thereafter as to how to react. My way forward comes with limitations that will benefit my path and journey in this year and beyond.

Zanele Muholi’s family warmth was quite sincere, I felt welcomed and at home. It was lovely to see family members who have also heard of me but have never met me in person, with Nhlakanipho “Nhlaka” being the intermediate. I met Nhlaka Muholi (Zanele’s nephew) in Cape Town when I was still living there, and he lived with Zanele. It was lovely to see him again, he’s like a brother to me the last time I saw him was in 2013 we lost contact when I relocated to Jozi. Closing off the year 2014 with him at his home was remarkable. As much as I have spent time with Zanele, from Cape Town to Jozi, there I was in Durban still learning more about her. Not only from her professional aspect but also from her family background.

Umlazi is the township in Durban that sheltered us for the entire duration of our stay. The unleveled ground portrays its heaped hill landscape where you can see houses that are on other hills, miles away. A slope walk around P Section in Umlazi is accompanied by corn, banana and mango trees. When we entered into the new year, it was a beautiful scenery to watch the fireworks. There are no big buildings obstructing your view and living at the peak of a hill exposed the area vastly.


The author at Durban South Beach...

The author at Durban South Beach…


We went to the beach on our first morning in Durban which was the 31st of December 2014. Durban water is warm, unlike what I’m used to in Cape Town. As I was about to enter the water I prepared myself for a cold rush, only to receive a warm welcome. It was quite a satisfactory approach because the weather was chilly. Those who stayed longer in the water got stung by sea creatures known as lue bottles. Fortunately or unfortunately I was never stung by a blue bottle so I don’t know what it’s like. Those who had the experience say it feels like a little cut or a shock sensation.

The beach is a 10 minute walk away from uShaka Marine. We went to check it out. We didn’t have money to access the rides so we just walked around the shopping centre. We got to watch and listen to a Marimba band perform live and we got to play at least one game at the game shop. Each person got 2 tokens from Lerato to self-entertain. It was great to meet Bathini Dambuza and her lovely friends who came to see us. I was looking forward to meeting Xana, I guess that will take place when the time is right.

On the 1st of January we went to the beach again. It was so crowded, as if the entire population of Durban was at the beach. It was as if every person who was in Durban wanted to get rid of all the 2014 tension, a significance of washing away bad luck. The life gaurds notified us of possibilities of unleashed sharks. People refused to get out of the sea water and dared the shark(s) to come. They gathered at quite a depth of the sea and howled “mayize” (let it come). Well Inkanyiso media was there to document. Reporters Lerato Dumse and Sharon “Sicka Star-ban” Mthunzi with myself rolling the camera had the moment captured.

I and me crew gwan see the sea, seen
Sea guards spark a shark
Sithe siyo bona uShaka
Sa vinjwa yi shark
Amanzi ano laka
sikhishw’ emanzini si sand’oyi faka

In other words, we went to explore Durban, only to be hindered by a shark. The sea waves were rough and we were summoned out of the water just as we entered.

The following day Lebo Memela invited us to her home in Kwa Mashu (another area in Durban). We had a lovely lunch prepared by such an amazing mother. Lebo’s mother loves and supports queers; she has a gay son and a lesbian daughter. In my perspective, Kwa Mashu is more Kasi (township) whereas Umlazi has a plazi (rural) feel for me. When we were in Kwa Mashu I forgot a tad bit that I was in Durban, for a while it felt as if I was back in a Jozi kasi. Whereas Umlazi made me feel like I was in a different place from what I’m used to and I enjoyed the feeling.

The 3rd of January 2015, Lebo and I went to a shopping mall called Workshop. It has market stalls outside where one can buy crafted items such as beads, sandals, garments, ornaments, etc. The rest of our crew went to Verulam to visit a lesbian couple that is in its 60’s. Lebo and Lebo enjoyed seafood session at one of the restaurants at the beachfront. After the 20 feasting we went to chill with Lebo’s family at the beach and met up with Katiso Kgope and Luyanda Mzimela, our other crewmembers who also didn’t go to Verulam. Luh Cele had invited us to a braai at her home that evening. It was lovely to meet some of Luh’s friends and enjoy good food and music.


The beauties at the beach, Luyanda & Katiso. Photos by Zanele Muholi (2014)

The beauties at the beach, Luyanda & Katiso.
Photos by Zanele Muholi (2014)


On our second last day in Durban we went to Victory Ministries Church International (VMCI), which is a gay church in Durban. It was something out of the ordinary for me, from what I know as church. Back home I have to “dress” for church, at Victory I can “drag” for church. I have always felt that church is missing “gay-ness” (happy-ness). The last church service I attended in 2014 (at home) the pastor spoke of how he will never officiate a gay couple’s wedding. The first church service I attended in 2015 was at a gay church, Hallelujah. The pastor also announced a gay couple that is going to get married soon. Then we had the last supper at Musgrave Mall.

Durban Reflection

Its been 4 days since we have returned safe in Joburg from Durban. It is lovely to be back home to my family, it’s been a year. Hugs and kisses accompanied by words such as “complements of the new season” and “happy new year” has been a daily transaction since I have returned.  It was difficult saying goodbye to the Muholi’s, however the Mashifane’s were there to conciliate.

It was an astounding and settling come-back and welcome-back to see the people I love most. It is peaceful to receive

my lover’s kiss,
my mother’s bliss,
my friends’ art,
my family’s heart,
my home – my hut.

As I reflect on my Durban experience, I realised that I ate a lot of meat. The meat overload has caused a great craving for fruits for me. Yeah Zulu warriors know their way around their meat. I couldn’t say no to their meat because it was really scrumptious and well prepared. Anyway I love food so I indulge and devour.

I felt like a tourist being in Durban, thanks to Fane for driving us around taking us places. It was also interesting to take a taxi when Fane was not available for individual tours. The weather caused a bit of a disappointment for me. I guess I had high expectations of heat and as a result I left my warm clothes in jouburg – smart me. I only had shorts and sleeveless tops. When we got to Durban it was cloudy, chilly and drizzling. Something I didn’t expect. Lesson learned to always carry warm clothes as well, especially in South Africa.

If I was to express my discontent of watching human beings allowing themselves to be engulfed by melancholy then my expression will take one to the left. My response is filled with disappointments, I am appalled by the immature behaviour of adults that are even older than I am. It is quite shameful to watch souls waste away at such an older age. Souls degenerate themselves instead of meditating upon their own wellbeing. It’s a disgrace that we meet to succeed in the same course yet the segregation amongst us introduces animosity. To witness such impetuous disrespect is utterly despicable, especially if it’s coming from the person you respect.

There was unnecessary impudence taking place amongst some of the crew members. Being the pacifist that I am I seldom caused a riot; instead I followed nonsensical orders. It is good to know your place because then you know your limits. I am proud of myself for being able to stand up for my rights and not allow heavy hearts walk all over me. I stood my ground even though I was jaded by how futile was the entire inanity. I could not be intimidated by any inflictions, people need to grow up and realise that to spite a certain someone is to spite on your own face.

I really wish that as lesbians we could stand together at all times. We are already facing homophobia, sexism (from male chauvinists), racism, etc. why do we still have to oppress each other – our own kind? I find it quite dreadful to write about this pessimism that has become a dull reality to such flamboyancy. I hope souls will learn to appreciate themselves and mediate upon self.

Gratitude to the well wishes from my loved ones to enjoy Durban and to really have fun. Those words dwelled and manifested in me through it all. Thank you to all those with good intentions from the crew and from the hosts, your benevolence is well appreciated.

I will forever cherish the tranquillity of Umlazi, the warm sea and the Muholi family’s hospitality.

Si se thekwini
Si khuluma isiZulu
Si sika iKhekhe
Si dhabula amanzi
Si hlephula unyaka
Si ghamula inyama
Si hlukanisa u 2014
Si ngena ku 2015

Like the incision of the umbilical cord, independence and life begins; so is the joy of starting a new year.

Here is a translation of what is above mentioned in isiZulu.

We are in Durban
We speak isiZulu
We cut cake
We tear water (swimming in the ocean)
We split the year
We break meat (grill meat)
We separate 2014
We enter 2015


Previous by Lebo Mashifane


2014 Dec. 28: Javas & Mashadi’s pre wedding lunch
2014 Dec. 24: My pleasant Christmas








Posted in Another Approach Is Possible, Archived memories, Creating awareness, Expression, Power of the Voice, South Africa, Vision, Visual activism, Visual activism is a language, Visual Activist, Visual Arts, Visual democracy, We Are You, We Care, We love each other, We love photographs, We Love Photography, We Still Can with/out Resources, Writing is a Right | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2015 Jan. 16: Non/Believers of New Year’s resolutions

Interviews by Lebo ‘Leptie’ Phume

For years now I’ve been jotting down my new years resolutions and not even once have I followed them. I now find it useless for me to waste my time and write them down knowing very well they will never be met. So from now on ill live life the way it presents itself to me.

I have goals that I know I can achieve this year. Firstly, I want to see myself with a second photography certificate come the end of the year, and get a job so that I can be financially stable, able to feed on my fashion hunger. I would like to get myself in a modelling agency. Be the best girlfriend I can be, to my gorgeous partner. To stop waiting for special occasions before I do something special for her. Last but not least be more positive and less negative about life.

2015 Jan 16 Leptie 1_71032015 Jan 16 Leptie2_7104 The portraits of the author, Leptie contemplating… captured in Musgrave, Durban…


From the thousands of friends I have on Facebook, I asked those I’m close with to share their “resolutions” with me.

I don’t make resolutions, but I make plans. I dream and visualize what I want to achieve each year then work my “behind” off to make sure that I achieve my dreams. Some of the things that are on my to-do list this year are simple and some are exotic, they are all unique in their own way.

Below are some of their responses.

Firstly I will check if I needed loads of “resolutions” last year and how I stood by them. Then work as hard as I possibly can to accomplish the incomplete ones. Instead of waving dreams in the air, I’m making plans that will have significance and add meaning to my life. As clichè as this may sound, regular exercise and maintaining a balanced lifestyle is a need for me this year.
Learning something new and interesting is always fun, a value addition too. Becoming involved in community work, giving back to society is the least I can do, to make the world a better place to live in. Top of my list is getting rid of old habits and sleeping a lot .
Nceba Classen

My resolution is to attract productive people in my life. I’ve wasted too much time with people who don’t want to succeed in life. - Senzo Gwala
My new year’s resolution is to stop defending my honour and speaking to people who do not deserve it. I want to make more time for reading and my photography interest. - Selaelo Mannya

I am not one to make such. I believe in living life how I see fit, without putting pressure on myself. I know my limits and there is no need to give myself unattainable tasks. Do you, without pressure and achieve your goals when the time is right. I just want to put more energy into my ideas and see them come to life this year. – Kabelo Maleka

My New Year resolution is to work my way up to the senior management trainee position, perform my poetry, eat healthier, learn how to play a guitar and ride a bicycle. Also work on getting my poetry published by a publishing house. - Sizakele Phohleli

My resolutions start every day, not for the New Year only. It’s great to strive for something that can better yourself. I want to keep motivating people around me and one of the things I would like to improve is to be a better listener. The most important one is climbing the corporate ladder and leaving my mark, so that when I quiet, my silence will be felt. Lose weight, travel more than before and graduate and get my 3rd qualification. - Precious Skosana

I sometimes find it quiet cliché that when a new year begins we all make resolutions. By year-end we have not done half of the things we said we would. 2014 I’ve been very unreliable at times, I sometimes failed to be the perfect daughter, sister, friend and girlfriend, and I say that with no pride. 2015 comes with a limited amount of “sorry” and whole lot of smart work and better time management. I’ve made it a mission to attend more fashion shows, read more blogs and of course productively promote my brand. - Jenna Louw

Mine is to be happy, be with people that love and appreciate me.
Who are in my life because it feels right not because they are looking at gaining something or do something for me because I will have to do in return. And of course most of my plans to go as planned.
– Yaya Mavundla

It is more of short-term goals for me. Like extending my grandmother’s house, lose weight and get back to football. Most of all to empower young people the best way I can.
Moyokazi Vooi

My resolution is to park my car in the garage every night and not at the open parking. I know it sounds crazy but it is like that. I get hurt when it rains and its just there or when its sunny it gets burned.
I told myself that this year, it will never spend a night in the open parking.

- Sana Mollo

I need to spend less on sneakers, drink less beer, keep fit and eat more home cooked meals than take-aways. Most of all, focus on my B-tech in electrical studies more than anything else.
– Asanele Ngalo

Having that relationship with God is the main, I want to improve my mental well-being. Enjoy life and hopefully stay motivated, I want to manage my finances because they get out of hand at times. I want to play football again and also need cooking lessons. - Wendy Nkotwana



Previous by Leptie


2014 Dec. 24: If things were going my




Posted in Archived memories, Collectivism, Community outreach, Community work, Conversation, Creating awareness, Creative Writing, Diversity, Healthier, Important, Individuals, Inner feelings, Power of the Voice, Present, Readings, Support, Textualizing Our Own Lives, We Are You, We Care, We Still Can with/out Resources | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2015 Jan.15: Committed Union… 6 months later

by Vuyisile Shabalala

Our journey as a committed couple planning our wedding has come into being. Being engaged to a person like Happy Mchunu makes it easy. She fulfils me and completes my entire existence. Compromises and understanding plays a huge role in helping us to respect and believe in each other. The thoughts I had before being in a committed relationship were always about me and my daughter, but now it its different, I have my own family.


Happy Mchunu_1731

Happy in a fawn suit accompanied by Mchunu family and friends…


amatshali best_7298

Bridal gifts brought by the Mchunus to the Tshabalala family…



Vuyisile and Happy being franked by church elders MaGesh, Pastor Z Zungu and Nonhle Kunene (2014)

We learn everyday how to appreciate the love we have for one another, how to manage our time, how to budget our finances together so that we can build and grow together towards our common goals.

Managing our emotions, respect and love for each other allows us to become fully committed partners. This is our sixth month into our engagement, and the novelty has not worn out as yet. Do not get me wrong, we have our moments of mixed emotions where we argue about the simplest of stupid things, but we make up and reconcile quickly as we know the value and love we have for each other.

izimbuzi 2_7281


umama 5_7415

Members of the Tshabalala family receiving presents as part of the Zulu tradition before the couple’s wedding…



Communication is a vital threshold in our relationship.  It allows us to express ourselves without letting the other person feel less worthy. I say we are a couple that’s together for all the right reasons. We inspire each other to always be the best and do our best.

I always related back to what Happy said to me when she proposed her heart to me

“For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart.”




Related link



 2014 Dec. 21: Sealing the union of love




2014 Aug. 2: Vuyisile and Happy’s umembeso



2013 June 15:   The Durban Lesbian Wedding of the Year





Posted in Another Approach Is Possible, Archived memories, Creating awareness, Durban, Expression, Lesbian, Power of the Voice, Queer visibility, Relationships, Relatives, revolution, South Africa, Speaking for ourselves, Strength, Struggling, Style, Supporting each other, Teachings, Texts, Textualizing Our Own Lives, Thankful, Through thick and thin, together, Together we can, Touching, Townships, Understanding, Visibility, Visual Arts, Visual democracy, Visual historical initiative, Visual history is a Right not a luxury, Visual Language, Visual narratives, Visual Power, Visual sense, Visual Voices, Visualizing our lives, Visualizing public spaces, Visuals, Voice, We Are You, We Care, We Still Can with/out Resources, Writing is a Right, Writing matters | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2015 Jan. 5: An ally shares her perspective

Book Review

When I started reading the book I had already received a review from my cousin. At first it was hard not to look and read it using the glasses that she provided. My wish was to read it from a point of view of someone who is homophobic, so for the first few days after receiving the book I didn’t read it. Instead I read online chat forums, of people who are homophobic and tried to get into their heads and adopt their thinking.

After many hours spent trying to be a homophobe I failed. When I started reading it I just read it as myself, someone who is not homophobic at all, someone who understands all too well.

I grew up as a tomboy and I still am in a lot of ways, at one point in my life I was even confused about my sexual orientation, it was because of what people said about me, categorizing me.

Though I am not attracted to women, I know the battle of identity, acceptance, and letting go of what people think with their titles and categories. Not because I relate to lesbians but because I relate to women (I am extremely passionate about women’s issues, I call myself a feminist without hesitation).

For me, this book is telling the story of women in our country, the story of every woman. SA women have moved from a political battle to an economic one. However; within that transition we have not moved from crippled ideas about women and how to relate to them, from thinking that a woman is an item that the African man possesses, that African women are weak and men are strong.

I strongly believe that if we could move from such diseased ideas and thoughts about women, then we would allow every woman to express her sexuality without prejudice and hostility (and I’ve come to realise that the hostility is mostly from other women). Lesbians and trans people need to be protected and given space to be themselves, not to be imprisoned by our opinions, categorization, and closed mind-set.

This is a good book; the photographs portray the emotions and how lesbians and trans people are feeling, they give the book more emotion. The stories have opened up my eyes to what lesbian women go through in our country, I thought I understood but I didn’t. I’m half way through the book and I’ll write the final review when I’m done.


Final review:

Out of five I give this book a three and a half.

Because I think this is a great project, we hardly see lesbians documented in our country. We don’t hear enough of their stories, the book has made the struggle that the LGBTI community is going through real to me.

I was not aware of the fear that most of them have just by expressing who they are. I have been angered by hate crimes and “corrective” rapes (what does that even mean?) but I realise that I nurse the anger in my heart till it goes to sleep. It hasn’t fueled me to start conversations about what is happening in the LGBTI community, it hasn’t made me speak up, but this book has influenced change in my heart and my mind-set (though I consider myself open minded I’ve chosen the things to open my mind to).

I love that the art of the book portrays the seriousness of the matters that the book is trying to bring to light, the anger that is brewing in the LGBTI community as all of us are quiet about their issues. We sweep things under the carpet when it comes to them, and we’re okay with a justice system that turns a blind eye to crimes the community experience.

We call this country free, we even shout proudly “Been there! Done that! Got the freedom t-shirt!” but are we truly free if some of us are still in oppression?
The thing about freedom is that we cannot use it as an umbrella term, we only received racial freedom (apparently) but we’re still oppressed in many other ways, we should always pursue freedom at all times in all the faculties of this country.

During a revolution in Egypt, Christians held hands and formed a protective circle around the Muslims while they were at mosque, protecting them from the military. So I believe as a country especially us heterosexuals and Christians, (I’ll say Christians because that’s all I know), like the Christians in Egypt, we need to protect the LGBTI community to be who they want to be, we don’t need to understand what the LGBTI community does, or be involved in their activities but we need to protect this freedom (their freedom as people and as sexual beings) that we’re always preaching.

We need to be able to also put our lives in danger, start thought provoking conversations (conversations that burn the hatred that homophobes have), and stand in the line of fire. We all have the responsibility of protecting each other’s freedom.

The negative thing about this book is that, for a project of such magnitude it is too superficial. Some of the people who shared their stories did not understand what the project was about, we get that the highlight of your life was you becoming a traditional healer and when your grandfather died but can we just stick to the topic please.

I would have liked to read about how the project came about, to read about the author, I would have liked to read stories that go deeper, stories that show us the struggle and victories of this LGBTI community. I would have liked to read more about and from the whole community not just transmen and butch lesbians (from gays, drag queens, more femme lesbians, bi people, and also from the families of people who were murdered because of hate crimes). You can’t start something so huge and be okay with mediocrity.

Share stories that matter. Photograph the whole LGBTI community and friends of the community. I feel that Mr Muholi was close-minded in his/her approach to the project, it could be so much more but s/he chose to focus on smaller details. I wish s/he would go deeper in the approach; this is a revolution, treat it as such!

About the author

Motshidisi Mabalane, 24, is from Dobsonville.
She is a nursing student who is passionate about Jesus.

Considers herself a feminist, a poetry lover, an open minded, opinionated introvert with extrovert tendencies and a love for people.



Previous links



2015 Jan. 11: “Recognizing faces that graced the walls…”




2014 Dec. 13: Faces and Phases invokes memories




2014 Dec. 12: Muholi presents Faces and Phases (2006-14) at home




2014 Dec. 1: “The portraits are no longer just pictures”




2014 Nov. 25: Faces and Phases embodying the freedom of being




2014 Nov.24: Our photographs have been taken







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2014 Dec.23: Two days before Christmas in Mafikeng

On this day we hired a car and drove to Mafikeng, North West to introduce the Faces and Phases (2006 -2014) book to some of the participants featuring in it and their friends.
We also met new possible participants.
The meeting started with introductions followed by a discussion (knowledge sharing…)

2014 Dec.23 Inkanyiso wt GU group_0524


Beautiful dykes and femmes…led by Mildred Maropefela



2014 Dec.23 Milly3_0580

Dedicated activist, Mildred who is the leader of Gay Umbrella.

2014 Dec.23 Inkanyiso members wt GU group_0523… with members of Gay Umbrella, friends and family members

2014 Dec.23 Tumi Pat Kelly_0527Boitumelo “Pat Kelly” Molale



2014 Dec.23 Katlego P_0543

Cool dude, Katlego Phetlhu… who is featuring in Faces and Phases series…                              © All photos by Muholi (2014/12/23)





Posted in ... with Lerato Dumse, 4 hrs drive from Johannesburg to Mafikeng, Another Approach Is Possible, Background, Being heard, Being Scene, Claiming mainstream spaces, Claiming the public spaces, Community visit, Difference, Different positions, Faces and Phases (2006-2014) introduction, Gay Umbrella, Inkanyiso media, North West, Records and histories, Reflections, Self acceptance, South Africa, Space, Together we can, We Are You, We Care, We love each other, We love photographs, We Love Photography, We Still Can with/out Resources, We were (t)here | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2015 Jan. 4: Exploring my femininity as a butch

by Siba Nkumbi

I have always been bad with colors, today isn’t any different. I have decided to wear a dress, my partner’s dress (I do not own any dresses), it’s kind of an orange nice little number. It started as a surprise for my better half, I wanted her to see me in a dress because I knew it would put a smile on her face. So today I did everything women do, which I never really paid attention to as my butch Steve self.

I took a long shower , exploring my body in a pleasant feminine way, followed by the long process of putting on lotion to the tiniest details. Seriously pausing to think and decide what to wear with what and how. How should I do my hair and all that Jazz. I chuckled to myself in the process, I found it interesting. It’s really the little things that count.


Own portrait of the author, Siba Nkumbi...

Own portrait of the author, Siba Nkumbi…

It was nearly time for me to go fetch my baby from work, I realised this as I stood in front of the door, contemplating taking a step further. I was about to be out of my comfort zone, I asked myself questions like “how in the world will I respond to the nosy male species and their stupid whistles?”
I thought hard and realised the main reason I was doing it, it was for me not the ignorant men outside and so I left.

The distance from Observatory to town felt like a decade, I experienced all sorts of unplesantries. From a guy sniffing me up in the taxi (I quickly sorted him out though) to a butch woman winking and running her eyes up and down my body. As if that wasn’t enough, a cab driver stopped while I was crossing the road to offer me a free ride to wherever I was going. It was disturbing realizing how much society has objectified females. Back to my mission…

I chose a short dress, summer dress and tied my hair up and I was good to go. I started having butterflies on my way to baby. It was like those times where I used to smile stupidly to myself when I saw her, while I had a crush on her. I didn’t know what to expect but I was looking forward to seeing her.

This mission was two-fold, 1: It was a surprise for my queen and 2: A statement that what you wear doesn’t determine your sexuality, plus I felt like that kinda “Super Mom” to the little girls that were taught to cover themselves in case men took it the wrong way. I felt that their generation will be better than ours somehow.

With all that said we met, she was excited and couldn’t stop telling me how beautiful I look (not that I was never pretty). It was so nice I was blushing in every way possible. With her hand around my waist we walked together, men were sneering of course. I didn’t care I was happy and it was high time they realised that the world does not revolve around them thinking they own everything in a dress. This is also for that typical woman that responds to a girl by saying “well, what did you expect from him, your dress was just to revealing.” The time is now where we need to stand up and say ENOUGH!

In inference, the decision to explore my femininity is purely because I realised that I was raised differently from other girls (like a man). I loved it, and cannot deny that. I also realised that I know almost everything there is to about manhood and a little about womanhood and I call myself a woman. This is my journey to self completion as an individual, a sister, a daughter, a partner and a mother to my beautiful dog Angelina. I am taking charge of being proudly female and lesbian, owning up to have found comfort in being called Steve, a name my mother never even gave me. I admit it was part of growing up and finding myself. Now that I have grown and big enough to know that I found myself, I will leave you with this statement. My name is Sibahle, yes that’s right I am Sibahle Nkumbi. This is who I am and who I was meant to be. I challenge you to call me by that name the next time you see me. It will help my journey. I am blessed to have found my inner self.

Previous by Siba


2014 Oct. 15: A letter to my Mom



2014 Oct. 10: “I tried to commit suicide…”







Posted in Archived memories, Creating awareness, Power of the Voice, We Are You, We Care, We Still Can with/out Resources | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments