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