2016 Aug. 9: Look back and go forward

by Mbali Zulu

Mbali Zulu, KwaThema, Springs, Johannesburg, 2010 featuring in Muholi's Faces & Phases black and white portraiture series

Mbali Zulu, KwaThema, Springs, Johannesburg, 2010

Look back and go forward. Looking at the picture of the group
I am forced to look back and go forward.

What is it that I am looking back at?

What is it that I am going forward to?

One would probably ask these questions.
What impact did this weekend have on me?

What do I remember most about this weekend?

And would I be interested in attending another Yithi Laba conference?


Yithi Laba 2015 conference delegates

2015 Yithi Laba conference delegates

I am now looking back at the photo; history was made during this weekend. We were the first group to attend a conference in the Faces and Phases series. I feel honoured, I must say. Young black lesbians from different parts of South Africa were chosen to attend this conference. It was fun and educational. It made me realize that there will always be room for growth. One must have no room for limits, but  growth.

Looking back at the photo is actually a good thing, because now all I want to do is look forward, go faster, and push harder. I am motivated once again, it feels like yesterday. I was really motivated and still am. This group of people consists of intelligent individuals, gifted lesbians, big dreamers, free spirited souls, leaders and our mothers.

Our mothers who attended the conference, from L-R:  Mally Simelane and Mapaseka Mthunzi

Our mothers who attended the conference, from L-R: Mally Simelane and Mapaseka Mthunzi

Our mothers, now that I have mentioned them. A flashback just crossed my mind, a moment I will never forget, a very touching and important one. Let me fill you in, on Saturday we had a special visit from our mothers, I mean the mothers of young black lesbians. They were there to motivate us, to tell us their stories and experiences. I was really touched. I learned that we as young black lesbians are not the only ones who are affected, but the ones who are really close to us are affected as well, especially our parents. I learnt that we not the only ones who sometimes get victimized, but our parents also do, however what kept me going is that, they love us regardless of our sexuality. They really deserve our love and respect.

A very cold weekend it was, but the warmth that I felt there was amazing. Most of us knew each other from social networks and not in person. We were fortunate to share our stories and life experiences, we got a chance to know each other better and got to understand each other’s gifts. We had soccer players, visual artists, teachers, police, photographers, designers, poets etc. I actually thought to myself that, with this group of people, we can create a very powerful project. I didn’t know then, what was it, I still don’t know what’s it going to be, but I know that there will be. This is a very powerful photo, with powerful individuals and yes I’d like to attend another Yithi Laba conference.
Who wouldn’t?

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Related link


2015 July 7:  A month later after Yithi Laba conference




2015 June 6:  Lesbian youth gather at Constitution Hill for the first ever Yithi Laba conference





This entry was posted in A new visual history, Activists Act, Another Approach Is Possible, Appreciation, Archived memories, Art Is A Human Right, Art Solidarity, Article by Mbali Zulu, Articulation, Beautiful faces, Community work, Confidence, Creating awareness, Empowerment, Experience, Expression, Faces & Phases portraits, Faces and Phases (2006 - 2014) book launch..., Faces and Phases participants, Family and Friends, Family matters, Happiness, Human Beings, I love photography, Knowledge, Lessons learnt, Life, Life Stories, Living by example, Lovely words, Loving photographs, Mainstreaming our queer issues, Making history, Moments, Networking, Opportunity, Our lives in the picture, Participation, Politics of representation, Power of the Voice, Questions and Answers, Re-presentation, Reality, Recognition, Records and histories, Sharing information, Sharing knowledge, Sharing thoughts, South Africa, We Are You, We Care, We Still Can with/out Resources, Writing is a Right and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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