2015 Jan. 3: Current situation

It is late at night when my mind begins wondering to places I made a concise decision to ignore. The thought lingers over me like a dark cloud above my head and suddenly I am cold with sadness. I listen to the rhythmic breathing of my partner who lay with her head on my chest and her warmth tries to fight off the cold but this is a battle not worth fighting at the moment.

I have never been in the closet and I have never been confused about my sexuality. From a young age I knew who I was, but did not know the right words to express what I was feeling. I did how ever believe that something was wrong with me, and that amongst other things led to thoughts of suicide when I became a teenager. It is the fear of hell and hurting my parents that prevented me from doing anything stupid and it is the fear of hurting my parents that keeps me from telling them about this beautiful woman I call my girl.

I cannot help but believe that my parents are being ignorant for not being aware of my sexuality. The signs have always been there, it is them who choose to look past them. I want for them to open their eyes and see the truth so that I do not have to tell it to them, but that is not happening. I have just turned 24, an age where I am done screwing around with girls and looking for true love. I am now working towards a future, a future I fear my parents will not be proud of.

I am not a closet case and never have been yet my parents are under the impression that I will one day marry a man. I am at a predicament because I want to tell them that I am attracted to women, that I love everything about them. But at the same time I do not want to disappoint them. However, I do not understand why my sexuality should be disappointing to them, I am happy and healthy. Is that not what should count?
Instead than the gender of the person I choose to be with.

It is late at night and I lie on my back watching the moon smile down on us. My flat is wide with a window that covers an entire wall. Where the window ends is a transparent door that leads to the balcony. I hold my love closer and try to count the stars. The moon illuminates her light skin, our naked arms and legs intertwined.
How could this possibly be a sin and why would any one want to stand against it?
Why are we judged, raped and killed for loving those close to us and giving them affection?
For a moment I feel helpless and I pray to God that he protects us.

I am a believer of the bible; I believe in God, and that he sent his son Jesus to die for our sins. I believe that Jesus died and rose and that his blood cleansed us off all our sins. I also believe that man is sinful by nature but I refuse to believe that this is a sin. I come from a God fearing family and when they find out I am lesbian I will be a sinner in their eyes. I will no longer be just the daughter, niece and aunt; I will become the gay daughter, the lesbian aunt and the strange niece. This I know for a fact.

I have two options, be the woman they expect me to be at home, who aspires to things either than marriage and continue to live my life as I please when I am away from home. Or I can come out of this closet I claim I am not in and bare the consequences due to me, no longer being the young woman they know me as, but as isitabane (homosexual). I don’t mind being called isitabane, in fact I don’t even care. But I do mind if my parents are hurt by it even if what hurts them is a large piece of my being that will never change

So I continue to count the stars until I feel exhaustion weigh heavily on my half closed eyelids. I hold my lady closer and fall into a pleasant, deep sleep despite all my worries.


Sandisiwe's portrait from her facebook page (2015/03/16)

Sandisiwe’s portrait from her facebook page (2015/03/16)

My name is Sandisiwe Dlamini. I am from a small town called Port Shepstone on the South Coast of KZN but I now live in Johannesburg.

I studied Video Technology at the Durban University of Technology where I graduated with distinctions. I did my internship at E News Africa, The Refinery as well as Black Brain Pictures. Currently I am an editor at a community TV channel.

When I was young I had a wild imagination and because of this I would make up my own stories and write them down. When I became older I started writing poetry and after High School I started drafting scripts and complete novels. Some of which I plan to publish one day. My love for writing led me to study television.

In high school I joined a municipal NPO called Life Hunters where I was regional secretary and registered an arts organization with my peers called NEW AGE.
New Age is a group of youngsters that come together to share their love for art in the form of music, drama, dance and poetry.

After University I was part of the crew for a feature film QHAKAZA that was aired on Mzansi magic in 2013 and 2014.


Related links


2014 Jan. 29: Education is primal




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2015 June 28: Beauties from Faces celebrating their Phases

Where:  Durban, South Africa

Faces and Phases participants, Phila Mbanjwa and Tinashe Wakapila, a selfie taken by Phila somewhere in Durban (28.06.2015)

Faces and Phases participants, Phila Mbanjwa and Tinashe Wakapila, a selfie taken by Phila somewhere in Durban (28.06.2015)

Being a woman is more to it than being a pretty face or have gorgeous make up that covers blemishes and pimples but it is about mostly the amount of struggle, trials and tribulations that one has gone through and still stand up with her head tall. I smile and still enjoy also appreciate life at its fullest. 

– Tinashe Wakapila


Previous by Phila and Tinashe


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



2015 Jan. 3:  I dropped out of the closest many times




Posted in Black bodies, Creating awareness, Power of the Voice, Scripted, Voice, We Are You, We Care, We Still Can with/out Resources | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2015 June 27: My best Oslo Pride

by Zanele Muholi
Where:  Oslo, Norway
Camera used:  Canon 6d with 85mm and 50mm lenses
For what: VACEP initiative


2015 June 27 Queer world_7651




2015 June 27 VACEP team 1_7533


2015 June 27 Amnesty float @Oslo Pride_7519


2015 June 27 Queer World @Oslo Pride_7490


2015 June 27 The band_7549


2015 June 27 Proud mom_7550


2015 June 27 Rainbow bridge_7563


2015 June 27 Politicians @ OP_7576


2015 June 27 Oslo Pride lovers_7592


2015 June 27 Oslo Pride lovers_7598


2015 June 27 Amnestly float_7602


2015 June 27 Queer World float_7612


2015 June 27 Queer World member_7645


2015 June 27 Celebrating selves @ Oslo Pride_7631


2015 June 27 Brothers @Oslo Pride_7625


2015 June 27 Queer World float_7618



2015 June 27 Sailors Choir_7610


2015 June 27 Queer world float_7617


2015 June 27 Queer World member2_7639




Previous links


2014 Oct. 8: Beautiful faces and kisses from Soweto Pride 2014

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2015 June 25: Christie shines @ Cafe Sør in Oslo

What for:  Oslo Pride events
Photos by Lindeka Qampi/ Inkanyiso media
Camera used:  Canon 6d with 50mm lens hand held


2015 June 25 CvZ Sor performance_8815


In Resilience
by Christie van Zyl

“Dear Young Black Lesbian
With Faces and Phases anew
Your life has officially been placed on a silver platter
Let not their misconceptions define you as pain
Let them make your fire burn brighter
For to the future generations you a torchbearer
You are a peacekeeper
You the bread to the builders who construct the bridging of gaps between us
You are a heavy-footed spirit
Because your purpose is the motif of greatness
And here in lies the existence of your life ever so blatant.”

It is around 9pm in Oslo, Norway, the 25th of June 2015. Inkanyiso Media is in Oslo for a Visual Activism Cultural Exchange Project in collaboration with Kunstplass[10] – a gallery in Oslo. We all use our arts to tell the stories of the existence of our queer lives. So I – FossilSoul, take the stage at Cafe Sor in performance, as poetry is my tool of influence.

I am initially received in a warm manner as always. Performance poetry still struggles at times as we are placed in spaces that are part restaurant and part spaces of entertainment. When I first enter the stage I struggle to share my love, as the restaurant portion of the space is very noisy. I can’t even hear myself on the monitors of my stage. I step off because I do not want to disrespect myself and my art.


2015 June 25 CvZ and CM_8801

Christie exhales to Collen after coming off stage due to irritating noise that interrupted her performance…


2015 June 25 CvZ interacts @ Cafe Sor_8792

I take to the stage again and belt out a chorus of pain- ‘Liyaphela ilizwi Lethu’ – which translates to ‘our nation is perishing’. I feel that pain as I am placed in a space where I am not being listened to. This chorus is what I call ‘isikhalo’ – loosely translated as ‘a cry out’. Then and only then am I heard. It could completely dishearten me that I have to ‘cry’ to be heard; but I have to remember that we are here to spread a message of black queer visibility outside the stereotypes of perpetual victimization. And so we conquer!

I am then only able to perform the ground breaking piece ‘Ode to the Young Black Lesbian‘, intentionally titled this way as our experience of hate crimes in South Africa, has shown us that no one ever tells us that it is going to be ok. This piece speaks resilience to the young black lesbians of our community. So as we speak hope, love and resilience to our fellow black lesbians, we will continue to represent our visibility across the world no matter the odds.




Previous by Christie

2015 April 13: Ode to the Young Black Lesbian





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2015 March 27: Phases in retake

by Christie van Zyl

Faces and Phases. What should have been a follow up became a retake.

Never did I think a portrait could give me so much trouble. This afternoon Zanele Muholi asked to take a portrait shot of me for Faces and Phases, after the negatives for the first shoot we did went missing.

2015 March 27 Christie van Zyl F&P retake1 _ Cape Town (12).JPG

Christie van Zyl F&P retake1, Woodstock, Cape Town ( 2015/03/27) . Photos by Lerato Dumse


We had first engaged my portrait in the Khayelitsha township of Cape Town in 2012. Unfortunately between moving from Cape Town to Johannesburg the negatives of those images were misplaced. Between Muholi asking for ‘five different characters, interrogation and the space between arrogance and innocence’. I knew that Muholi was right every time she said ‘awukho egiyeni’ – Christie, you are not in your mode ‘.

Muholi came over to my apartment and pointed out the exact spot she wants to try shoot my portrait around my building, unfortunately that space required a permit. We decided to simply use the exposed walls on the side of the building where we would not have much trouble with access.

We moved along the wall of the building while I looked for the tigress in me and Muholi searched for me in my element. She kept sensing that I was not relaxed and reminded me to just breath in and out ,to stand in a relaxed pose and not be so robotic. Zanele directed my poses clearly to boast my facial features. I struggled a lot when she would throw me in the deep end and asked me for five different characters, which became confusing after she had first asked me for an interrogating look then told me that she is looking for that space between arrogance and innocence.

‘Ngifuna leyanto eshoyo nje ukuthi umuhle kodwa nawe awuzazi ukuthi uzenzeni’ yabo – Zanele Muholi

[‘I am looking for that thing that shows your beauty, that leaves even you not knowing how you achieved it, you see’] – Zanele Muholi

An agenda about beauty struck me at some point when I was no longer sure what I was communicating with my photographer, with the camera, with my friend who is looking for my personal footprint on my face.

Between shots Zanele was styling my hair ,adding and removing items from my wardrobe and making sure her bags were safe. It made me think of a time when I heard Muholi speak about the safety of actually embarking on the pursuit of these portraits.

Can somebody just write about the dangers of taking these photographs. The fact we have to fear for our lives while we try to archive history’ – Zanele Muholi

Lerato Dumse was standing on the side lines taking behind the scenes images of our shoot whilst uploading them on twitter to the @facesandphases account. It was a strained space with all of us being tired and drained from working back to back.

2015 March 27 Christie van Zyl F&P retake2 _ Cape Town (12).JPG

Muholi and Christie van Zyl examining photos taken for F&P retake2, Woodstock, Cape Town (2015). 



We eventually concluded our shoot with wilted energy and a very clear indication that we can never find that moment from three years ago, ever again. We left that moment ekasi and I suppose the spirit of that image will live forever, commemorative in a space where Muholi has made the greatest of impacts Ekasi!!!


Related links
2015 April 13:  Ode to the Young Black Lesbian






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2015 June 19: Visual Activism Cultural Exchange Project (VACEP)


Core group: Christie van Zyl, Lerato Dumse, Collen Mfazwe, Lindeka Qampi, Zanele Muholi, Vibeke Hermanrud, Henriette Stensdal and Isah Rakeem (Queer World)

Constantly – non-stop…J

Fri. 19 June


Friday 19th

18:30: Official Opening of Pride

20:00: Exhibition opening – “The way you look”

Pride House 20-21 June:


First: 13.00 ArtGenderArt exhibition opening and performance


An other highlight: 20th:

13.00: Vernisage ”Nobody Passes” 

During the weekend: Artistic planning of the stay and division of tasks and roles

– Core group

Take pictures – document – write – visual activism


Sat. 20 June



Sun. 21 June


Mon. 22


Tues. 23

10-12 Queer writing session

– Linn Cecilie Ulvin (artist/author)
– Christie van Zyl and Lerato
– Isah Rakeem, Queer World

18.00- Canadian Embassy Garden Party, Slemdalsvn.43

13-16 “Kjønn” / “Gender” Art/queer/LGBTI/racism/migration context/theory/conceptual thinking/history

– Inkanyiso
– Isah Rakeem and Nina and Queer World
– Linn Cecilie Ulvin
– Bjørn Hatterud – queer/minority

Both sessions: Entire core group will contribute and participate actively – including group from Murmansk

18:00 All things queer

Queer Worlds literature group (Queer World) – Lourdes, Zanele and Zyl


Venue: Kunstplass 10

Wed. 24

11.30 Lunch with Lene (Feminist Initiative – F!), Rachel (LDO –Equality and anti-discrimination-ombudet) and Sidsel activist / info women
13-15: Internal strategy exchange meeting between Queer World and InkanyisoVisit Nobel Peace Center

17.00 Pridepark – queer exhibit and concert




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2015 June 13: For my family with love

Self portraits taken for my grandchildren to note that I exist...

Location: 200 South Street Inn Charlottesville, Virginia, US.
During the Look3 foto festival
I took this photo in my hotel room as I wondered how to approach my conversation with CB of #Aperture at Paramount Theater.

Camera used: Canon 6D with 85mm lens
Tripod:  Manfrotto H301

2015 June 13 Muholi mirrored @Look3_9781

Related links

2015 Feb. 25: Self Portrait of the visual activist

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Posted in Activists Act, Archiving Queer Her/Histories in SA, Art Is A Human Right, As I AM, As we are, Before You, Black Queer & Gifted, Connections, Friendships, Healing, Homosexuality, On my own, Peace, Personhood, Pride, Relationships, Relax, Respect, Self, Self introspection, Self love, Skin, Time, Visual narrative, Words | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment