Sunday, that was the day we saw each other again after so long. Somehow I wasn’t as smooth as I wanted to be, but there She was on my door step. We had a young chat; spoke about life, very briefly. She had such presence; she quickly turned my living room into a photo studio in under a minute.
There I was again in front of her camera, reciting. God knows, I haven’t been writing or doing any poetry for a while. It seems like these days I’m a one-line writer. Life has me busy.
As we took a few shots and snapped a short video, in that moment I realised even more how much I missed reciting. I looked into her eyes and started reciting a poem about love. It was quite intimate, her eyes on mine, me explaining a love that I desire.
It’s in her eyes I remembered; I’m always generally a happy character, only a few people really know my sadness. I’m a firm believer in better days to come after a storm; grief is something of a quick process for me. I however dwell in my grief, just never for too long.
I tell you this because ever since the Faces and Phases project started, the first time Zanele took a photo of me. I always found it difficult to portray being serious, because generally that is not me. I smile.
In the first photo she ever took of me for the project, I looked angry; the question is why? What was I so frustrated about? Could it be because being a black lesbian in South Africa has its difficulties and brutalities?
Perhaps my frustration is that we don’t get to see the celebration of gay life, the normality of it from our point of view. That gay people are human and that their sexuality is not what defines who they are. We are not our pain, we need to celebrate us, the celebration of both love and pain, for from pain we grow.
As I stood in front of Her lens for the second time the question that came was how do we educate?
Why is it that some men can accept lesbians but they then go and kill gay men?
Why is it that the same men that rape Lesbians turn and fxck Gay men?
How can they be accepting of the one and not the other?
There is still a lot that needs to be understood.
So to me Faces and Phases is not just about documenting, it also serves as a tool to reflect. Reflection, a tool so vital to self-awareness, I Andiswa Dlamini, created a space where the LGBTQI community can feel free to explore each other in a more stimulating environment, bringing together open minded, curious people to experience our culture with us. And through this I hope to breakdown gender stereotypes, to create communication about gender fluidity through conversation; music, celebration and physical presentation.
© Andiswa Dlamini
Previous by Andiswa
2013 Dec. 21: ‘A part of Me’ in Paris
2013 Sept. 7: I used to be a lesbian
2013 July 31: Contrast of love and hate
2013 July 3: Another fucked up case
2013 June 4: emotional confusion of a break-up