2014 Sept. 9: Eleven Triple One (11 – 111)


My Country, South Africa, in 1976, racial segregation destroyed South Africa, and South Africans. Having to be striped of your own land. Be told that you have nothing.
Why do they take if they say you have nothing?
Why is the so called “noting” being forcefully taken from you?
Why die for having “nothing”?
I was not born. Maybe I lived in that life time, I just don’t know as what.

June 16 is the Youth Day, as the month of June is Youth Month in South Africa – it is also the  LGBTI month in USA and beyond.
As an “L” youth  in the LGBTIQ community, I share my connection, pain, and comfort in memory of all the adversities we have overcome.

USA, 2011, September 11 attacks collapsed two towers. In South Africa, it was an ordinary. Perhaps so was the USA in 1976 June 16. I was with my mother, we were living in Cape Town. The day was so ordinary that I don’t even recall what I did on that day.

Nine Eleven…Nine One One, is the rescue code you dial in USA.
In South Africa, the rescue code is Ten Triple One.
These rescue codes have helped save many lives, if only they could prevent tragedies. If only they could prevented natural disasters and man made disasters. If only they could prevent June 16…September 11.

These two events, 35 years apart from each other, brought long term turmoil, torture and trauma in to our lives. We lost loved ones through painful death of fires of guns, electric chairs and explosives.
How have these events damaged or developed us as LGBTIQ YOUTH?
What have we learned as living beings (survivors) of today?
Who have we lost from these tragedies?

Here I write a piece of sharing our struggles and adversities. Here I write not about 9 or 10. Here I write about 11. Here I write about 11-111. The number sure may not exist if you call it, but this here number is a platform for us to share our sorrows, our stories, and our successes that were made possible by these here tragedies.

1 story, 1 narrator

5 angles –     How did it damage you?

  • How did it develop you?
  • What have you learned?
  • Who and what did you lose?
  • Who and what did you gain?

1 number, 1

5 digits, 11111

5 letters, Queer

5 letters, Youth

5 letters, Today

5 letters, Story

1 topic, 5 words, 11 – 111: Queer Youth Today Story.

11 – 111

Eleven Triple One

Please state your emergency.

This is the agency

with the tendency

to remedy

the scream that has become neighbourhoods’ melody

They left their homes, they ran maybe 8 miles

9, 10, 11


Maybe not run, rather ring

Ten Triple One


Nine One One


Eleven Triple One

Say a sentence with 11

words followed by a triple 1


Say a sentence with 11 words – Hi My Name Is Victim, I’m at House Number, Name Street

Followed by a triple 1 word – HELP! HELP! HELP!

Let’s sit around the fire and tell our stories. Let’s tell our stories around the fire!

The fire we saw

That left our hearts aching sore

No longer just about 1… “I” or “U”

But about “US” two

2 Nations

2 victims (the citizens)

2 perpetrators (the terrorists)

The terror of 2 terrorists that invade our homes and destroy our families.

  1. In 2 hours, 2 planes , 2 planes took 2 buildings down
  2. In over 2 decades, too many youth died for freedom in their land

Today. We are still mourning.


goes and night comes, smothering darkness filled with nightmares, filling our feelings mourning with morning sickness

All that remains are their pictures and memories we keep of them, the scent of their clothes.

Encumbering us from the courage to face the day…

Come what may

Let’s sit around the fire. Let’s talk about the fire.

The fire

we did not desire

nor require.

Not as an entire


The fire that burns within us for revenge, for forgiveness.

The fire that sparks in our eyes, of fury, of pain

Let’s sit around the fire. Let’s talk about the fire.

9…elevating to cloud 9 be the souls that rest in peace.

10…times better, be their living loved ones stories of sharing disappointments and appointments

11 Triple 1, please state YOUR emergency.



© Lebo Mashifane





This entry was posted in Archiving Queer Her/Histories in SA, Art Activism in South Africa, Art Edutainment, Art Is A Human Right, Art Solidarity, Beauty, Before You, Connections and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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