2019 May 25: Seven Day Durban Report

by Sinethemba Damane

6 April 2019 Ushaka Marine World, South Beach in Durban.

Facilitators: Sinethemba Damane

                     Mziwakhe Sebenza

                     Khaya Cane

                     Thobeka Bhengu

As any good productive day starts with breakfast, yesterday started exactly the same. We, as the facilitators had a chance to sit around the students before embarking on the day.

The purpose of the day was to expose students to the environment and spaces in and around the beach. Then interpret and channel their photography skills, writing and story telling through photographs they had to capture. As upset as the weather was in Durban, we had quite a good productive day – engaging, interacting and encouraging these young souls and allowing them to express themselves fully. We gave these students disposable cameras, DLSR cameras and cellphones to capture their work.

At the end of the day, we collected their work so that it can be downloaded. During our feedback interviews, we are proud to say yesterday groomed young students who are not only conscious about waste pollution and recycling, but also capturing photographs.

In conclusion, at the end of the day, we had early supper. This was to give students a chance to engage with the entire crew about the day, what they learnt and how Prof. Zanele Muholi motivated the students and reminded them of how imperative it is to be part of the program we facilitated.                                                                                     Sources: Umbelebele Secondary school students and facilitators feedback

7 April 2019 at Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban, watching a soccer match between Banyana Banyana vs Jamaica

The weather in Durban was allowing and a bit of sun came to play. We gathered around the entrance with the students and briefed them about the seating arrangements and all they had to do. It was such an exciting day for many of them as it was their first time at Moses Mabhida Stadium, that includes me..The previous day, Prof Zanele Muholi had introduced and familiarised them on how to operate a camera. This created enthusiasm and zeal for most of them as they were capturing pictures, some even wrote about the day.

Banyana Banyana led the game from the first half as they were fully trained and possessed hunger to win.. On the second half, Jamaica joined the scoring board with a clean goal. Both teams now were steamy and sweating as time was not on their side. The spectators stood in full anticipation, hoping that Banyana Banyana would lead the game but unfortunately not. The game ended up being a draw to both teams.

The day was dedicated to chilling and enjoying the game, but our future photographers were house on fire with their cameras. As the match ended, they were hesitant to even exit the stadium. It was quite rewarding and purposeful to be able to facilitate the day and smiles on their faces was too. We, then had lunch and the students were taken home. Some went back home with beautiful images they took and some the experience they first had at the Moses Mabhida.

8 April 2019 at Mbelembele Secondary school, Durban Umlazi in Section Q.

We, as the Inkanyiso crew in Durban spent a few hours with Grade 12 students from Umbelebele Secondary School. The agenda of the day was to have a spelling marathon to empower these students about the importance of reading as one gets to familiarise themselves to new words and vocabulary. The crew also had guest speakers to motivate and empower these students in all dynamics of life in matric and after matric.

Our day started with a prayer conducted by Pastor Teboho Moema, and introductions followed. Prof. Zanele Muholi conducted the spelling marathon, which consisted of 25 words (celebrating the 25 years of democracy in South Africa. After the spelling bee marathon, the top 3 students were selected and to later to be rewarded with opening bank accounts.

The panel then took to the podium. It consisted of Winnie Khumalo, a well-known South African musician and dancer and Ruth Motau, also a well renowned South Africa top photographer. The content of their speeches revolved around life at home and school and also how they faced challenges to be where they are professionally. Two students were given a chance to perform samples of singing in front of Winnie Khumalo and Rethabile Khumalo, who is Winnie’s daughter and who also pursued the music industry.

As the day ended, storybooks and cameras were collected from the students to store and archive their work as some of them would still to be selected to capture photographs on the 27th of April in celebration of Freedom Day in South Africa.

10 April 2019 at Durban ICC attending Articulate Africa (Book & Art Fair) Seminar.

 The topic of the day was “God created diversity. Man created bigotry. Who do you trust?

Hosted by Khaya Dladla a South African actor.

The panel: Chwayita Ngamlana

                   Siya Khumalo

                   Reverend Roger Scholtz

                   Mapula Ngobese

                   Thandi Ngonelwa

                   Bishop Mpendulo Khambule

The seminar started with introduction of the panel, which consisted of 6 people from diverse backgrounds. The agenda of the day was to discuss and interact about religious rhetoric that has been frequently used over history to exclude the LGBTIQ+ community from worship.

The conversation started and the crowd was given a chance to ask questions, pose comments and views regarding the topic. Unlike the usual talks about homosexuality, this one included people of all different backgrounds and professions and allowed people to breathe about the topic. The emphasis of the content revolved around homosexuality and church and tolerance/acceptance of homosexuality holistically. Prof. Zanele Muholi was the first to comment on the topic and express their views. They fully gave the seminar a sense of state, as a country and outside, the challenges and homicides of the homosexual community. Though, not given attention, their speech was precise and had the crowd talking and looking for answers.

The highlights of the day also included Pastor Teboho Moema’s comment. He briefly explained who God is and managed to answer all the questions people had. Mr Moema’s speech was clear and concise of any judgement; misconception and doubts people had about God and the homosexual community at large. He carried on and said, “God is genderless. God is love…” As his speech was the second last before closing the seminar, it really left the crowd with answers and some with self-introspection responsibilities as it was not only education but biblically philosophical.

A few members from Inkanyiso managed to attend the event including Lindeka Qampi who was capturing photographs. In conclusion, we as the society need to invest in making time to host such events and in doing so, may we be familiar with queer community underpinning sensitizing and their issues. May we be the advocates of ensuring acceptance of homosexuality and not tolerance as this shows verbally when forced.

11 April 2019 at Durban ICC exhibition attending Articulate Africa (Book & Art Fare) session seminars.

The seminars on this day were time on session as the topics had different concept titles and facilitators. To say the least, this inspiring day attracted the likes of Nomshado Thwala and Fiona Khan, tackling and firing young imaginations. Towards the end of the day, the topics posed were about social media and cultural “Azibuye Emasisweni”.

The Panel: Lebogang Masango

                   Gcina Mhlophe

                   Thabisile Mthethwa

                  Elinor Sisulu

                   Dr David Malapo

                   Melusi Tshabalala

                   Prof Pitika Ntuli

The panel consisted of authors who are firing young imaginations in literature.

Durban being known as the city of literature, the panel also had two young authors from Durban. Also, young minds were being motivated to adopt the culture of reading as the books published by the panel were for young minds. Gcina Mhlophe took to the stage and bought the energy, inspiring upcoming authors to read and expose themselves to literature.

Thabisile Mthethwa, author of “Dudu and Sipho”, urged upcoming authors to write African stories as there aren’t any archives for our stories. This was supported by Gcina’s speech about the importance of being able to speak your home language fluently and be able to write.

The talk also included the marketing and promotion of authors, funding and copyright laws. Lebogang Masango, author of “Mpumi’s Magic Beads”, a self published author briefly explained challenges an author encounters when publishing a book.

Elinor Sisulu spoke of diversity and how she showed it on her books. In one of her researches, she found the last 4 people of the  N!uu,language and will be publishing a children’s book in  N!uu, language.

The social media topic was facilitated by Tebogo Ditshego, author of “Kasi Nerd”. Social media: Empowerment, distraction or destruction was the question posed to the panel.

Dr David Molapo, founder of ICAN Foundation, gave the audience the current state of South Africa in terms of technology advancement and development. In his speech, he emphasized the productive use of social media as a tool to channel your business and gain following in large volumes. The social media discussion was also educational to parents as most pupils still suffer from cyber bulling.

This content packed day also had Azibuye Emasisweni with Prof Pitika Ntuli, a sculptor and an author, unpacking the dynamics of identity. The dynamics of identity were approached through family backgrounds, the geo relocation of tribes to far Eastern Cape and cultural evolution and background movements through out the years. Azibuye Emasisweni, facilitated by Bonginkosi Zondi, captured the essence and importance of usage of native mother tongue language, which resonates with archiving our history as Africans regardless of tribes.

In conclusion, may we be deeply rooted individuals, priding ourselves in the rich history we have. Though not emphasized enough, the imperative of archiving our work and documenting our stories plays a huge role in storing our history for the next generation.

12 April 2019 at Durban ICC exhibition attending Articulate Africa (Book & Art Fare) session seminars.

With Rosie Motene, Dr Lungile Bhengu-Baloyi and Lauren Shapiro as part of the panel, the audience was ready and in full anticipation of the discussion. This day was packed with issues that are mentally and physically related and the politics around those. The seminar was facilitated by Nongcebo McKenzie alongside Jayshree Parasuramen who was the stage host.

The topic tackled on the day was “It’s OK to not be OK”, with a few authors like Zanele Mthethwa discussing depression, anxiety and mental related issues. This author wrote a book about going through divorce which mentally depressed her and how she overcame it. The aim of this book was to break the silence for woman who have gone through divorce and the mental attention it deserves when it cascades into depression. Rosie Motene, author of “Reclaiming the Soil”, explained suffering from depression of being deprived the opportunity to know her roots. For a very long time, this author has been yearning to know her identity, background, cultural and traditions of her tribe.

She further explained how difficult it was for her to speak her mother tongue language. The above passage connected with Lauren Shapiro, author of “Through the Window – how I beat post-natal depression” book when she also confessed to battling with depression. These authors vividly gave the audience a picture of how one can be stigmatised because of mental illnesses and how they are always ignored. Dr Lungile went as far as explaining that depression in the black tribe is often misinterpreted and ignored because it is often associated with whites.

These conversations about mental illnesses are always a taboo to talk about, especially when they are affecting black woman. The audience engaged with the panel, a few asked questions about surviving depression. However, Rosie explained that sometimes the signs are not physically visible, but mentally.

Lastly, mental health is your number one priority. What your body projects has resulted from your mental stability and sanity. May we be able to talk about the problems we have before they find a way to our sanity.

13 April 2019 at Durban ICC exhibition attending Articulate Africa (Book & Art Fare) session seminars.

The long anticipated day came. Of all the seminars I attended, this one was quite packed as the audience was patiently waiting for thee well-known South African socialite, Khanyi Mbau. This seminar was facilitated by Sihle Mkhanya.

The topic of the day was titled “Blessers – Friends or foes” following the recent controversial “blesser – blessee” phenomenon. The panel was to unpack the topic and how it inspired the books some wrote. Following Jackie Phamotse’s most talked about read titled “Bare”, one had to be attentive to how she came about writing the book and the challenges she faced, not only publishing the book, but the death threats she received. Tzozo, a South African musician and a blesser, was also given a platform to fully explain, from his perspective this phenomenon. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, Miss Mbau could not attend the seminar.

The author of “Bare” and recent ‘I tweet what I like”, unpacked the long anticipated conversation of blessers and the lifestyle it comes with. This young woman was exposed to this phenomenon, and introduced by a friend who was not “trained” to partake in this extravagant and yet dangerous lifestyle. At the tender age of 20, Jackie found herself in this lifestyle. She thoroughly explained the pros and cons of the lifestyle, which were dehumanizing girls.

Tzozo took to the podium as well. He proudly confessed that he also played girls and according to him, this phenomenon is a “give and take”. This luxurious lifestyle is transactional, where girls have to sleep with high profile people, business moguls and politicians in exchange for trips, shopping sprees, cars and some accommodation. At times, these young girls have to perform dehumanizing sexual activities to please these blessers, and sometimes, their friends and colleagues too. A question was posed to Tzozo and had quite a difficult time to give a straight answer. Whilst a few might say he was not prepared, he came across as pompous and showed zero if not less pity and concern for all these young girls exposed to this life. He said, “Parents cannot be complaining about this phenomenon because he sat down with a lot of parents who okayed this”. He later added that because of socio-economic issues in South Africa, parents find themselves in situations where it is okay to “sell’ their daughters to these powerful and high profile people like him in exchange for groceries.

This explicit talk ended with the audience filled with unanswered questions, and because of time, only a few questions were attended to. It would have been such a seminar if Khanyi Mbau attended, as she is believed to be the first South African blessee. Jackie Phomotse’s Bare fully explores and entails this phenomenon. Could this be caused by the socio-economic scale in South Africa? Leading parents to “okay” this in Tzozo situation? Who is to blame? Could this be the repercussion of high unemployment in our country, forcing young girls to envy money, power and fame? These were the questions I had after the seminar. Nonetheless, a good and productive day I had.

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This entry was posted in 2014 Durban Pride, 2014 Miss Durban Pride, 2016 Durban Pride, Basic Education, Books, Community education, Durban, Educational strategies, From Durban to Johannesburg, From Durban to London, From Durban to Paris, From Tsakane to Durban, Johannesburg comes to Durban, Queer Education in SA, Sexual Politics education in South Africa, textbooks, Uncategorized, Women; Voices; Writings; Education; Traditions; Struggles; Cultures. Bookmark the permalink.

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