2015 Aug. 23: Muholi and Dumse present at Light Work Artist AIR


2015 Aug. 23 Muholi Talk announcement

Artist talk by current Light Work Artist-in-Residence Zanele Muholi

Thursday, August 27th
at 7:30pm
Light Work / Watson Theater, Robert B. Menschel Media Center

A self-described “visual activist,” South African artist Zanele Muholi, has dedicated her work and life to increasing the visibility of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. Despite South Africa’s laws forbidding discrimination based on sexuality, violent crimes against gays and women have in- creased. Muholi’s self-proclaimed mission is ‘to re- write a black queer and trans visual history of South Africa for the world to know of our resistance and existence at the height of hate crimes in SA and beyond’.

Muholi has won numerous awards including the Ryerson Alumni Achievement Award, 2015 and the Fine Prize for an emerging artist at the 2013 Carnegie International. Her Faces and Phases series has been shown at Documenta 13, the South African Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, the 29th São Paulo Biennale, among others. She was shortlisted for the 2015 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize for her publication Faces and Phases: 2006-14 (Steidl/The Walther Collection). Muholi is an Honorary Professor of the University of the Arts, Bremen.


Photos from last night’s talk by Shane Lavalette, an American photographer, the founding Publisher/Editor of Lavalette, and the Director of Light Work.


20150827 muholi & dumse before the talk

Muholi with Dumse waiting in anticipation for the audience to come to Watson Theater where the Artist talk was held


20150827 muholi during talk


20150827 LD f&p photos

Lerato Dumse’s portraits (Left) 2015 taken during Light Work AIR and (Right) 2010 published in Faces and Phases (2006-2014) by Zanele Muholi


20150827 muholi after LW talk



Previous talks



2015 March 12:  Muholi addressed scholars at Brighton University, UK




2015 Feb. 27:  Announcement 
Public Lecture by Zanele Muholi @UCLAN, London




2014 July 18: Women’s Day Lecture at UFS




2014 June 17: Muholi’s Ryerson University (RIC) Talk




2014 Mar.21: Photo of the Day from Human Rights and LGBTI in Sub-Saharan Africa class




2014 Mar. 18: Sharing South African Queer Knowledge with students in America




2014 Mar.5: More than an activist




2014 Feb.4: Black Queer Born Frees in South Africa




2013 Nov. 4: From Market Photo Workshop to Bremen University




Posted in Expression, South Africa, Zanele Muholi, Creating awareness, Inkanyiso media, Lerato Dumse, Another Approach Is Possible, Power of the Voice, Collectivism, We Care, Writing is a Right, We Are You, Collective, Photography, Visual activism, Artist Talk, New York, Butch Mbokodo, Faces and Phases participants, Syracuse, Visual Activist and Journalist, Faces and Phases (2006 - ), South African visual history, Light Work AIR, From Johannesburg to Syracuse | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2015 Aug. 19: Time really flies when you are having fun

by Mlu Msomi & Sekara Mafisa

We had big plans for our golden anniversary this year. But time just flew, before we knew it the day had arrived.

We had a beautiful garden winter sunset wedding at the Val Verde Eco Hotel in Lammemoor. Pastor John Klooper of Reforming Church, gave quite an inspiring and motivating sermon directed not just to the weds, but to the guests who are married and those who are still planning to get married. The sermon was followed by the ceremony, with exchanging of vows, flowers and beautiful rings.


20150816 Sekara & Mlu_151833


The wedding reception, dinner and dance lasted until midnight. Attended by selected guests but celebrated by thousands, the wedding celebration was more than what we expected. We celebrated our first week, a month, seventy days, one hundred days and before we knew it, happy anniversary messages were flowing in from difference social media platforms.

Our golden year brought more happiness than years before we were married. Reforming Church has been more than just a church but a home, a family with siblings through Christ. During our golden year we have learned to pray and read the bible together. We always look forward to sit on those long wooden benches, holding hands as we praise and pray together each Sunday we attend. Sharing tea and enjoying fellowship with other church members after each service taught us to love, to share and serve others.


20150815 Sekara & Mlu anniversary_182257



The wedding celebration ran almost the whole year. We began our honeymoon travelling the Mpumalanga province as a married couple. People loved to see us as we holding hands, sharing a meal with faces full of joy and love. The Mpumalanga trip encouraged us to travel Africa. Wherever we went to we needed no introduction as a couple. Even on our trip to, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, Botswana and Lesotho we left people believing that, the wedding yoke is much easy if the parties are of the same sex.

August 7, 2015 marked our golden wedding anniversary; we thought the best way to celebrate is to watch the sunrise under the trees where the LGBTI rights have been demonstrated over the years. We had a hearty breakfast at the Zoo Lake in Rosebank. Followed by walk and a drive on the same trails where the parade and demonstrations has been held to get the LGBTI where it is today. We spend the day responding to Wedding Anniversary messages from friends and family, as we were preparing for the long night of clubbing.

The clubbing started at the Fourways famous Rodzio, with dinner, dance and few drinks with lifetime friends Gugu and Zanele. We left early to join the drag performances at the Beefcakes in Illovo, Sandton and ended our night at the Liquid Blue in Melville.
Cape Town tour gave us the new beginning as we approach our red anniversary. City sight-seeing, winelands visit and clubbing at the famous Waterkant Village are just highlights of the three days spent in the Mother City. We are really planning to tour Africa once more before crossing the oceans.

Together we managed to write seven African LGBTI themed films, the first film My Name Is Rose was released in May and screened for the first time at the Durban Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. We had an interesting busy winter as we make more arrangements to have our second film scheduled to be released early this summer. After the final film release late next year, we are planning a global tour to screen all seven films and to give us more chance to work together as a family.


20150816 Mlu & Sekara _141316


10 days later, the celebrations are still going on. We shared the anniversary cake at the Roots Restaurant and Gallery in Soweto with friends including Lindeka Qampi and Linda Mankazana. Both Lindeka and Linda joined us in the main table a year ago as we were cutting the wedding cake. Still have celebrations lined up throughout the month. And we can never forget the support we are getting from the LGBTI Community and close friends. As for now we have a lifetime wedding celebration ahead of us.


Previous link


2014 Oct. 5:  “The best day of their lives”




2014 Nov. 16:  The best private gay wedding photos






Posted in 1st Year anniversary, Beautiful faces, Before US, Before You, Being, Being conscientized, Being heard, being loved, being recognized, Black Gay Wedding, Celebration, Church, Committed, Confidence, Emotional support, Empowerment, Golden year, Inkanyiso media, Lifetime, Mlu Msomi & Sekara Mafisa, My Name Is Rose, Pastor John Klooper, Photography, Rings, together, Wedding, Zoo lake | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2015 Aug. 21: Bagwetshiwe abasolwa ngokudlwengula

by Londeka Dlamini

BAVELE enkantolo ephakeme e-Port Elizabeth ngo Lwesine abalisa abane abasolwa ngokudlwengula owasifazane ngenxa yobulili bakhe (Corrective Rape).

Owesifazane oneminyaka engamashumi amathathu nanye (31) esiligodlile igama lakhe wadlwengulwa, wahlukunyezwa ngesihluku wabelwa nempahla yakhe zingu 29 ku Masingana (January) onyakeni ka 2012 endaweni ya-KwaZakhele, emgwaqeni uNosidima ezintathakusa eqhamuka endaweni yokucima ukoma.

accused standing1

USonwabo Ngcete (22), Khuselo Manta (24), Siyamthanda Ndiza (21) kanye no Siyabonga Mhlangu (21) batholakale benecala lokuhlukumeza bobane bagwetshwa iminyaka emihlanu.

UMhlangu uphinde wagwetshwa unyaka owodwa ecaleni lokweba kanti UNgcete kanye no Manta bazodonsa iminyaka engamashumi amabili (20 Years) njengoba betholakale benecala lokudlwengula.

U-Jugde Mandela Makaula phambi kokuba athule isigwebo uchaze ukudlwengula njengento engavumelekile emphakathini ephinde yehlise nesthunzi kwabesifazane ababhekene nalesehlo.

”Ukudlwengula umuntu kufana nokumphuca ukuzethemba kwakhe, kuyisenzo esibi esingahlukumezi kuphela umenziwa kodwa kuya nasemphakathini wonkana ngoba abesifazane bazizwa bengaphephile emphakathini,” kuchaza uMakaula.


                  Abalisa abagwetshelwe ukudlwengula, ukuhlukumeza kanye nokweba                                 (Photos by Londeka Dlamini)

Uqhube wathi labalisa bebefanelwe udilika jele ngesenzo sabo kodwa ngenxa yeminyaka yabo basengalungiswa babuyele emphakathini bengabantu abancono.

Ngenkathi liqhubeka icala omunye wofakazi walandisa inkantolo ukuthi labadlwenguli khathi benza lesenzo kulona wesifazane bathi ‘Sifuna ukukukhombisa ukuthi awuyona indoda, ungumuntu wesifazane’.

Nabanye ofakazi baqinisekisile ukuthi endaweni waziwa njengo ”Tomboy” lona owehlelwa umshophi.

Kanti labenzi bobubi bebeliphika kwaze kwasekupheleni icala, omunye wabo echazela inkantolo wathi zange yena edlwengule kodwa bebethandana nalona wesifazane.

Ucwaningo lodokotela lwaveza ukuthi labalisa bobabili bayile ocansini nalona wesifazane, (Both their DNA were found).

Abomndeni walowesifazane bathi akumnandi kubona, bathi ngokwabo sincane isigwebo labalisa bekumele bathweswe necala lokuzama ukubulala ngoba indlela ayeshawe ngayo ummangali wacishe wafa, evuvukele ubuso bonke wahlala amasonto amabili esibhedlela kungozi makhaza.

Umalumekazi kammangali ubebhodla umlilo sekuphunywa enkantolo ezwakalisa ukungeneliseki kwabo,

”Umthetho wasezweni lethu uyafana nengcindezelo, labalisa bazohlala isikhathi esincane ejele baphume bacishe bayibulala ingane yomfowethu.

Ngizwa ubuhlungu indlela abantu abanonya ngakhona, babengaze bamdlwengule na ngenxa yokuthi uthanda amanye amantombazane, kanti iphi le nkululeko okukhulunywa ngayo,” kuchaza umalumekazi.

Lona wesifazane uhlala abe nekhanda eliqaqambayo ngenxa yokushayeka kakhulu ekhanda.


Related article


2015 July 31:  Lihle Sokhela’s killer shows no remorse




Previous link


2015 Feb. 13:  Abalisa abane basolwa ngokudlwengula nokukhuthuza









Posted in Another Approach Is Possible, Archived memories, Black lesbians in South Africa, Bodies and histories, Brutality, Butch identity, Captioned, Creating awareness, Evidence, Expression, Feelings, Female being, Gender Based Violence (GBV)., Gender Equality, Gender expression, Homosexuality, Human Beings, Humiliation, Individuals, Insulted, Invisibility, Power of the Voice, South Africa, Undermined, We Are You, We Care, We Still Can with/out Resources, Writing is a Right | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2015 Aug. 14: A football match like no other

Text by Siba Nkumbi
Photos by Lindeka Qampi

Let me begin this one with a question: Why is it that in the history of South African women’s football, in fact women’s sports, we still have male coaches?
Show me a female who coaches a professional men’s team in SA?
There is also the matter with female players being underpaid or not paid at all. These questions and many more, inevitably run through your head as a woman, who supports women in sport.




I’m talking about the Sasol Women’s League, the biggest league in SA women’s football. Mehlareng Stadium located in Tembisa, Johannesburg, was packed with supporters on the 10th of August 2015.
The weather was nice and hot, a good day for a spectacular game. A smile appeared on my face when I realized that half of the fans were the opposite sex. It is good being supported and recognized, especially during women’s month. However, a thought crossed my mind, I imagined how lovely it would be for all the males running things for women to sit back and let women do things for themselves, we are extremely powerful and capable.




On arrival in Tembisa, the host township of the match, it was exactly 13:25 pm. The match was already in motion; fans were going wild, joyous and singing songs supporting their teams, who are amongst the biggest clubs in Jozi, Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies and the Palace Super Falcons Ladies (PSF). The two teams were battling it out. The first half was intense, each team doing their best to defend their names and playing hard enough to go to the next round of the league.

When the first half ended it was still 0-0. The pressure was on, coaches were restless, each giving strategies for the 2nd half.  It wasn’t until a few minutes into the second when Jersey No.9 from Sundowns scored the first goal of the match against the Falcons. A trusted striker of Sundowns Rhoda Mulaudzi blew us all away with a spectacular goal. Falcons fans felt the sadness but didn’t give up, they sang louder to support their team in a time of despair.
Meanwhile, Sundowns were excited, ladies were screaming and brothers blew whistles celebrating the first goal of the match. Falcon’s players were panicking and determined for an equalizer. They pushed harder, not knowing that Mulaudzi had an ace up her sleeve. She used their vulnerable moment to her advantage and struck again with goal number 2 for her team.




That was a moment of fame for the ladies of Sundowns; they started to smell their victory. At that point the PSF coach was sweating, it became evident that he was feeling the stress of his team losing and the goalkeeper was feeling the frustration as well. Sundowns didn’t stop attacking as the opposition was beginning to feel the pressure. Falcons lost hope when the last goal of the match hit the back of the net. The unstoppable striker also scored the third goal for Sundowns. Mulaudzi in her Jersey No.9 was the hero of the day to the fans, teammates and coach. Five minutes after the hat trick the whistle was blown, ending the match.

The talent on the field amazed me. Both teams did their best, the game was well played and the players were disciplined. Mkhelele (Jersey No.2) from Falcons got a yellow card; there weren’t any injuries or red cards. It was a battle of the fittest and at the end the best team won. Thanks to the unstoppable Mulaudzi for bringing victory to her team. Without her teammates it wouldn’t have been possible. Well done to both teams, let’s keep on playing for the love of the game.

To top it all off, the game was on point with ambulances on standby in the field and the team from Endulwini fire station were ready for emergencies. Thankfully, it came to my attention that some departments do care about female sports; I suppose some progress is being made. As members of the LGBTI society, it is our duty to make sure that women in sports are getting the respect, recognition and are being taken good care of.



Dusty streets of Tembisa? I beg to differ. Townships hold the golden women in sports, they do not only play soccer for the love of the game, it’s every player’s life and daily bread for some. We breathe, talk and eat Diski. We had one woman amongst the match officials; assistant number two, Diatile Malefane. The remaining officials were, referee Mr. Mokwebo and Assistant one, Jetro Mdleni. We’re off to a good start; the future looks bright for women in sport. The final score was 3-0 to Sundowns.

“A game between Falcons and us is always a tough one, I’m glad we won against them and we are looking forward to the play offs in the nationals,” revealed Rhoda Mulaudzi, Sundowns striker.

Another Sundowns player, Thandi Nkosi from Soweto, stated that it was a big day for Sundowns. They (Falcons) beat them last season, so it was only right for Sundowns to go home with a 3-0 win.

Daniel, head coach of the Palace Super Falcon said that the game was tough and admitted how sad he was for the loss but admitted that the best team won.

“It’s very difficult to work with ladies, what I like about my team is that they are young, and ladies soccer in South Africa is very big. There is a stipend that is there for the ladies to keep them going, but I believe if Sasol or SAFA itself could have a professional team for the ladies, the league will grow,” Jerry Tshabalala coach of Sundowns.



Noluntu is a Sports Development coach and presenter, also specializes in soccer, softball, netball, basketball, cricket, hockey and rugby.

“I’m fully involved in the sports industry, as we know that this is women’s month and we wish and dream that women’s sport in South Africa could grow. Currently, women’s football is starting to develop. I’m happy that the national team, Banyana Banyana has a female coach, Vera Pauw, she’s doing a great job for the country at the moment. Today’s game was good, football is growing, football is fast and girls are developing. LGBTI is living and existing in the sport industry,” said Noluntu Makalima.

In retrospect, when it comes to media, we have a shortage of broadcasting in the country. For the girls to grow and the girls to get paid, soccer must not only be recognized at the national level. Local football must also be recognized so that women’s football can grow. Women’s football is supported in the townships, it is up to us to take it further by being active. There won’t be any rest until women are completely recognized and respected nationally and internationally in sports.






Related links


2014 Oct. 31: South Africa mourns three athletes




2013 June 17:  Fundraising for Choses FEW





Posted in Another Approach Is Possible, Archived memories, Creating awareness, Expression, Power of the Voice, South Africa, We Are You, We Care, We Still Can with/out Resources, Writing is a Right | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2015 Aug. 16: Civics, Unions and Churches in a stand-off on LGBTI rights

by Gugu “Donsy Kunene” Madonsela

The 11th Southern Africa Civil Society Forum almost ended in a stand-off on Friday, 14 August. The stalemate occured when organising partners differed on the inclusion of a recommendation on, ‘sexual orientation’ in the final communique.

The Forum is hosted by Apex Alliance which is made up of the Fellowship of Christian Council of Southern Africa (FOCCISA), Southern Africa Development Community-Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (SADC-NGO) and the Southern Africa Trade Union Coordination Council (SATUCC).

Earlier in the week the Forum held a session on “Securing Justice for all: The Rights of Minorities Under Threat” during which issues affecting Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Southern Africans was discussed and debated. The session was lively and emotional with some delegates advocating for more recognition of the Forum on issues affecting this community, while others argued it was a “non-issue” for them and their constituencies.

The discussion and debate were led by Isabella Matambanadzo, a Zimbabwean Feminist Activist, who despite the derogative comments, managed to remain calm while responding to the debate with sang-froid. She challenged the civil society to do an introspection around the issue.

“I want to ask you when we judge others based on their sexual choices and orientation, what does that say about ourselves?
When we permit government into our bedrooms to see the things that we do in private, what does that say about the kind of people we become?” she asked.

“I speak not to provoke, but I speak because as we are taught in church, we are called to be strong and courageous to not be afraid, to not be discouraged but to face the issues of our society, genuinely and thoughtfully.”

The session ended with no clear position on the issue. However tensions heightened among the Apex Alliance Partner the next day when during a discussion on the Communique, the drafters included a resolution on LGBTI.

The draft resolution read:

“We remain committed to oppose violence and discrimination against any person particularly on the ground of sexual orientation and resort to engage within our specific sectors, countries and social cultural context on the rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersexed communities within a framework of indivisible human rights tolerance and respect.”

But the proposed resolution was vehemently rejected mostly by delegates from the Church groups and trade unions and the entire tone of the debate changed with SADC-CNGO remaining steadfast in its position.

“We are clear of our position that LGBTI rights are human rights and there cannot be any differentiation in these rights. This is the most unfortunate part of the forum community, civics can’t demand accountability from their leaders if they themselves are not accountable”, said the General Secretary Boichoko Dithlake.

He further said disagreement among the Apex partners on the LGBTI issue had provided them with the opportunity to go back and consult their constituencies in order to be able to reaffirm their support of the LGBTI community. In fact, he said the lack of consensus at the Forum could actually be a blessing in disguise as it would assist them in raising awareness and popularising issues facing LGBT community even more.

“I am glad this has happened, it gives us an opportunity to organise ourselves correctly and properly. The matter has not been discussed openly and differently like this before which means we are progressing,” said Dithlake.

The Civil Society Forum communique is usually handed to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat to be passed onto the Heads of State and Governments to be passed onto the Heads of State and Governments for their consideration.

When the paragraph was read out for members to adopt it, trade union members from SATUCC were the first to reject the proposal, saying it did not represent their position on the LGBTI issues. They asked that all mention of LGBTI be deleted from the communique as they would need to consult with their members before they could put forwards a position on the issue.

The unions were supported by Churches who also insisted on the removal of the words ‘LGBTI’ and ‘sexual orientation’ from the communique.

“We can never commit to this paragraph that is imposed on us. We will have to consult with our affiliates and constituency on the matter. The matter has been discussed before but it has never been our priority. We have many other challenging issues that are the priority of our constituency. We will though put it (LGBTI issue) in our report but I do not promise that the matter will be discussed further.” said Austin Muneku, Executive Secretary of the SATUCC.

This twist of events infuriated the SADC-CGNO, which is also part of the Alliance who staged a walk out to caucus.

Regarding the possibility of a “divorce” with apex partners, Dithlake said they expected consultation to be completed by the end of October and if the unions and churches came back with the same position the SADC-CNGO leadership would have to take a position on whether or not they remained part of the alliance.

The offending paragraph was eventually removed in its entirety from the communique. Shehnilla Mohamed, Africa Co-ordinator of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) said she was extremely disappointed by the decision.

“I am very disappointed by the outcome of the Civil Society Forum on the LGBTI issue. I believe the decision to remove all mention of LGBTI from the communique takes the region a step backwards and threatens the credibility and legitimacy of the groupings that claim to represent SADC citizens,” she said.

Mohamed stressed that LGBTI rights are not special rights but are basic human rights.
“I applaud SADC-CNGO for taking the stance that it has on the issue and acknowledging that the issues affecting LGBTI Southern Africans cannot continue to be ignored and especially not by organisations claiming to fight for the rights of people,” she added.

Southern African LGBTI citizens continue to face discrimination, persecution, violence, stigma and exclusion from participating fully as active citizens. Apart from South Africa, and most recently Mozambique, most SADC countries have criminalised homosexuality.


About the Author

Gugu Madonsela who is also known as Donsy Kunene on social media is a well-recognized reporter and entrepreneur with vast knowledge and experience in the media and communication industry. She started off the industry as a newsreader –  News editor then News & Programmes Manager within community media.

She has studied extensively around broadcasting and Journalism, acquiring certificates in Radio Broadcasting from the Institute of Advanced Journalism, Investigative Journalism from the Wits University as well as completing a course on Journalism & Broadcasting.

Gugu has also studied Radio Management as well as Small Business Management and Professional Communications, Office Management, Marketing and PR with different institutions including the University Of Cape Town. She is currently with the National Community Radio Forum-KZN where she serves as the Provincial co-ordinator; overseeing the organisation’s overall functioning.
Over and above she is the Managing Director of her own Company, Central Route Media, Editor of the soon upcoming Lesbian’s Magazine, UniQ Mag as well as the Convener of the Committee at KZN Women In Media KZN –SA Forum.



Related link

2015 July 24:  LGBT network emerges from Shell



Posted in Accountability, Africa, Another Approach Is Possible, Apex Alliance Partner, Archived memories, Article, by Gugu “Donsy Kunene” Madonsela, Churches, Civics, Creating awareness, Debate, Delegates, Derogative, Disagreement, Discrimination, Expression, Forum, Heads of State, Human rights, Leaders, LGBTI community, LGBTI issues, Members, Power of the Voice, Resolution, SADC, Sexual orientation, South Africa, Southern Africa, Southern African Development Community, Support, Unions, We Are You, We Care, We Still Can with/out Resources, Writing is a Right | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2015 Aug. 8: Celebrated my late sister’s life

by Boitumelo ‘Tumi’ Nkopane

At 16:45pm on the 4th of June 2015 I met with Ayanda “Kiss” Masina at Tsakane taxi rank. We were meeting as participants of Faces and Phases/Yithi Laba Intergenerational Conference, held at Constitution Hill (Con Hill) from the 5 – 7 June 2015. We took a taxi to Johannesburg and arrived there an hour later, made our way to Park Station.

We reached the pre-arranged meeting spot, and found Molebogeng “Lebo” Raphala from Duduza, Nosipiwo”Sphola” Solundwana from Katlehong and Nonkululeko “Sicka star-ban” Mthunzi from Daveyton.
Then Collen “CocoHo” Mfazwe from Daveyton joined us. After some time, Sebenzile “Sebe” Shabalala from Umlazi and Phila Mbanjwa from Pietermaritzburg found us waiting and feeling cold.
Then an hour and couple of minutes later Zanele Muholi and Lerato Dumse arrived. We bought take-away because people were tired and hungry. Lebohang “Leptie” Phume from Kwa-Thema arrived while we were waiting for the food. After getting our food we went to the parking lot where our transport was parked.
Our driver was Sibongile “Sbosh” Mnisi from Soweto, and she is the coolest and most welcoming female taxi driver.

We drove to Saffron Guest House in 7th Street Melville, which became our home during the Yithi Laba Conference. I had to share House no.6 with Kiss and Leptie. I’m from the same township with Leptie but we are not close friends.  Ayanda is from the neighboring township and we only share a mutual friend, so I guess that made it easier for us to connect. We went to the main house for dinner shortly after arrival and met with other participants. That’s when we introduced ourselves and gave each other an idea about our upcoming presentations during the conference.

Then we returned to our rooms; Leptie and I chilled on top of the bed while Ayanda was lying on the couch drinking the coffee I made for everyone. We started having a conversation about friendships, jobs, relationships and the Faces and Phases experience. While still talking, Sharon aka Sicka-staban Mthumzi came and joined us and we lost track of time and slept at 4:00am. We woke up at 6:00am since we were told that breakfast was at 7:00am.

We woke up, took a shower and everybody looked good. We made our way to a nearby restaurant for breakfast. On our way to Con Hill “Sicka” and I started breaking the ice, by rapping crazy lyrics since everybody looked a bit nervous and Mam’ Lindeka Qampi recorded that moment. We both didn’t want our fellow participants to notice our nervousness but we had fun.


Tumi Nkopane_3758


We arrived at Old Fort, Con Hill and went for a guided tour and learnt about the history of Black, White, Indian and Coloured freedom fighters that who arrested and convicted there before South Africa became democratic. We were informed that black prisoners did not have Freedom of Speech and how they had to share showers with about 900 others.
We listened to how some ended up smearing their bodies with bath soap, and waited for the rain, before having a shower using rainwater. Strip searches are part of the humiliation that they went through. Prisoners who fought for their rights inside the prison were put into Isolation cells called Emakhulukuthu (deep dark hole) and they had to eat rice water since it had starch.
The cells challenged some of the prisoners mentally, leading to people writing messages on the door cells, while locked up in isolation. It was an emotional and tough experience for me to learn about our Freedom Fighters who were treated so inhumanly and unkindly. Touring Constitution Hill made me respect all those women and men of all races who fought for the Freedom we have today.
I truly Salute them.


Motivational speaker Kea addressing youth at Yithi Laba conference.

Motivational speaker Kea addressing youth at Yithi Laba conference.

After the tour we were motivated by Kea Modise-Moloto, a lady who runs an NGO called Bontle-Bame based in Pretoria. She mentioned that as people, we ‘don’t have to be trapped by our payday while we don’t feel comfortable in our jobs’, adding that we don’t have to be hostages of the 25th of the month.
Kea shared about leaving her job, to pursue what she loves the most, which is to help abused women and children. Since she doesn’t get paid to do that job, her payment is when someone’s problem is handled. She made me think that as people, we should not do things for the price but for the love of it.


Tumi contemplating at the conference

Tumi contemplating at the conference


I am in the process of leaving my job in the South African Police Service (SAPS) and pursue Theology, since I’m passionate about the study of Christianity (The Bible).  I’m only doing it for myself, not someone else. I really liked it when Kea said, “Live your life so your actions tell the truth about you” with these words she meant we shouldn’t please anybody by living according to what people want us to be.

On the last day of the conference I had to share my emotions since my presentation was a tribute I paid to my late sister, Motlalepula Nkopane. I shared my sister’s engagement day pictures with my fellow Faces and Phases participants. The participants felt like family to me, even if we only spent little time together.
The 7th of June 2014 was the day I buried my little sister, she was very special to my two younger sisters and me. Celebrating my sister’s life with people I take as my sisters from other mothers, since I was free, crazy and energetic around them, made my presentation special.
I also shared my experiences of working for SAPS and it was fun and crazy because I had to make room to laugh about my work challenges and experiences, because I was home sick, missing my sisters, my dog and its puppies. After the event we had to leave and go back to our different homes. That’s when everybody wished we had a few more days. We still had a lot to teach each other, learn from each other and share with each other.


Yithi Laba conference delegates on Day 1 at Con Hill before the tour.

Yithi Laba conference delegates on Day 1 at Con Hill before the tour.

I would like to thank everybody who made Yithi Laba Intergenerational Conference a success. Participating in it made a huge difference to some of us, since there’s a lot we learned and gained. Friendships were made and it was a very outstanding experience for the rest of us to be part of the chosen Faces and Phases participants, even though myself, Ayanda and Leptie gave Muholi a little disturbance with our chit chatting as we sat at the back, on the first day of the conference.

Related links

2015 Aug. 13: Cheated out of a goodbye





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2015 Aug. 13: Cheated out of a goodbye

by Bathini Dambuza


Bathini's portrait taken during Yithi Laba conference. Photo by Lindeka Qampi (2015)

Bathini’s portrait taken during Yithi Laba conference. Photo by Lindeka Qampi (2015)


Losing a mother has never been an easy thing for someone to go through.  You feel the pain and the heartache almost everyday; especially when things aren’t going the way you want them to. I sometimes wish I could sit with her and have those daughter-mother conversations because I wonder how things would have been, had she lived.
I, however, never question God because I know that everything happens for a reason and that yonke into iyenzeka ngokuthanda kwakhe (everything happens according to His Will) since He is the Alpha and the Omega.

When she told me she was sick I was no longer staying at home but I moved back to be with her. I was so heartbroken by the fact that she was going to die soon if not later. I know at some point in our lives we will depart this world. However, I felt that my mom being told that she was HIV positive seemed like a death sentence. At least that’s what I thought and that’s what kept ringing in my head that “my mom just told me that she’s going to die”.

As a 20 year old then and the only girl with one brother, I took it upon myself to be the one to take care of her. Of course we have extended family that could have taken care of her, like her sisters,  nonetheless I wanted to do it myself. I took care of her until her last day, but I feel like she robbed me of the opportunity to say my last goodbyes. On the day of her passing, she insisted that I go to an Human Rights workshop that I was invited to.

The workshop was held at the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW) offices at Constitution Hill. The day did not seem to be going well at all. One of the facilitators and I ended up getting into an argument because she was registering dissatisfaction at the outcome of the day as it progressed. I was furious because all I could think of was that I had left my sick mom in bed at home for this. In hindsight, it was probably that she did not want me to see her passing on. I still cannot shake that feeling of being cheated out of a goodbye.

The facilitator asked us to take a break,  we were outside when I got a call from my brother saying ‘uyafuneka ekhaya’ (you are needed back home). I asked him what happened?
All he could say was that uyafuneka ekhaya!
Instinctively I knew that it was time. My phone went up in the air as I screamed and started crying. One of my friends caught my phone. I had to get back home as soon as I humanly could, accompanied by a friend, Pumla Masuku.
As we turned the corner to approach home, the gate was wide open and I felt my heart pounding so fast with knowing. It is very seldom that you find our gate that wide opened.

As we walked inside, the house was already full of elderly women from my neighbourhood. That’s what usually happens when there is a death in the community. The elderly women come to assist with rites and mourning. In keeping with tradition, when someone passes while on their bed, the said bed is laid on its side against the wall.
While the women were expressing their condolences, I quickly rushed to the bedroom only to find that the bed had already been placed on its side. I put it back the way I had left it looking for my mother in vain, hoping I would find her the way I had left her. Unfortunately that was not to be.

I have lost women in my life but nothing beats the pain of losing a mother!

May your soul rest in peace Lindiwe Virginia Dambuza.
I will never forget You.



Related links


2015 June 9: The love that will never be replaced




2015 May 15: Rest in Peace, Mama


Posted in Another Approach Is Possible, Archived memories, Bathini Dambuza, Community, Creating awareness, Feelings, Lost, Mourning, Power of the Voice, South Africa, Vain, We Are You, We Care, We Still Can with/out Resources, Writing is a Right | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments