30th Apr2017

Speaking Truth to Power

by admin

Hi everyone,

In this edition, a few of our writers have written pieces for you to enjoy. In Happiness is a Four Letter Word, Naledi Khumalo writes a beautiful tribute to her best friend, fellow writer Obvious Nomaele. Zinhle Khumalo addresses colourism in South Africa’s black community. Finally, Sandiswa Tshabalala shares her poem #TriggerWarning which critically addresses South Africa’s normative violent rape culture. Although few in number, these articles are thought-provoking and truly speak truth to power.

Until the next edition,

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

Speak Truth to Power

30th Apr2017

#TriggerWarning

by admin

As a South African woman,
I know my place
Last in opinion,
But first appetizer,
on the course that feeds men’s sordid desires
You were not designed to be my ally,
none of us were,
for we all know that the wheels that move our
‘great country’
drive the patriarchy
Fragile creatures,
we are taught early to restrain the parasites,
Clamorous men
We are taught early to restrain ourselves,
For our small, candid bodies grow into
playgrounds
for preying eyes and eager fingertips
The history of our country is one filled with
struggle
where our fathers and theirs
fought for the right to be within one’s skin
Today we fight a different war.
A war for the right to be within our bodies as
women.
A war to be something other than passive
receivers of aggressive sexual attention.
The war against rape –
A gutless coward,
hiding itself in the makeup of our country’s
shame
We allow young men to continuously make
punching bags of women;
watching the weight of their insides fall
greedily from inside of them
feeding the soils that grow your ignorance
This is no war fought using ammunition,
but fought using power
And half our soldiers will have to fight
for the right to keep their power in a single
lifetime
some before they even know they have
anything to fight for
The nail in the coffin is that us
the non-militants contribute to this endless
plague.
We sit in our comfortable glass houses
Throwing stones of judgement and blame

The words slut, whore, tramp, spewing in the
air like hand grenades in combat
We hide in our fortresses until judgement day
But what redemption do we seek to receive
When our general – the president of our
country is an acquitted rapist
The plague covers our land in its venomous
grip,
taking our soldiers in its many forms
Staining virginal rights, claiming to cleanse our
AIDS ridden men.
Gripping onto the innocence of our infants –
men, who are meant to protect them,
using them for sexual gratification
This country is a ticking time bomb,
Ticking to the day I feel safe walking on the
street
Ticking to the day I don’t feel the need to be as
inconspicuous as possible in front of a group
of men
Ticking to the day I am proud to be a woman,
comfortable in my skin
So as we turn down the lights,
And bolt up the doors
We know that we are waiting for this war
A war that no one can prepare us for…

30th Apr2017

Colourism Country

by admin

 

Colourism is not something that is unique to South Africa. It is prevalent amongst people of colour across the globe. In our country, discrimination based on skin colour or preference for light skin affects a large number of dark skinned women. In short, being light skinned in the black community, is social capital, and being dark is equivalent to a curse. We live in a society that ridicules dark skin and praises light skin, which is why I find trouble understanding the uproar about on social media regarding South African media personality Khanyi Mbau’s skin lightening process. Mbau has had 10 sessions of IV infusions   for the treatment of skin pigmentation, which have left her noticeably lighter since her debut in the entertainment industry. The change in her skin colour, which has people asking, can the real Khanyi Mbau please stand up, is a reflection of a how hypocritical colourism is. Not only does it shame women for being dark and then for bleaching, but it doesn’t shame dark skinned men for their complexion.

Mbau recently posted a picture on twitter and internet trolls took every opportunity to exclaim at how pink her skin is. My frustration is not with Khanyi lightening her skin, but with South Africans who continually shame dark skinned women then proceed to get angry at them for choosing to lighten their skin. Colourism is normalised in the black community, but those who have never been on the receiving end of negative comments their skin colour will never understand what it feels like to have your complexion affect your social life, dating life and even the chances of getting hired. This makes it easy for me to empathise with Mshoza, Lil Kim and other black women who have resorted to skin lighthing for social acceptance or other personal reasons.

On the other end of the conversation about colourism is the alleged suffering light skinned women face as well. Actress and TV presenter Pearl Thusi took to Instagram to voice the struggle she faced as a young light skin girl. According to Pearl, she was bullied because of her complexion as a young girl, which left her wishing she was born darker. There is nothing wrong with Pearl voicing her lived experience. The problem with her Instagram post was that by painting half of her face and neck darker she resorted to performing black face to express her pain. Another light skinned South African actress, Enhle Mbali also posted a picture of herself in blackface , which according to her was a way of showing people that beauty is only skin deep. This is not an attempt to take away from either Pearl’s trauma or Enhle’s agency, but dark skin is not a costume that can be put on and off to perform pain. It is something dark skinned people have to live with and it affects every aspect of their lives. If South Africans want women to stop bleaching or for dark skinned women to stop complaining about how difficult it is to be a dark skinned women, then they should consider treating them better.

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30th Apr2017

Happiness is a Four Letter Word

by admin

Happiness is a Four Letter

Happiness really is a four letter word as it is defined by the love that defines the divinity of human kind. In this article I am particularly talking about a friend, not just any friend but a friend that enlightened my soul. I know at this stage of my life, friends shouldn’t be the main component of one’s life as, once you arrive at Wits, you merely build your portfolio, focus on who you are, and forget about friends as they take you nowhere in life- so they say.

I would love to dedicate this electronic letter to my beloved friend. It may not be smooth like rhyme of a poem but please bear with me as I tell my friend that:

“Friend, you are the most high friend and when I say ‘high’ I am not talking about the godly high like nah fam, I am talking about your craziness which is amazing like Vodacom next level. You are too funny for my soul and I enjoy being around you, out of all the things that I love about you, I love the fact that you are flexible and you are able to give your heart up for rejection and always have a positive mind and those are the people that I love to keep in my life because they not scared of anything therefor you are fearless beyond fear, I mean you have the guts to be different in a society where everyone tends to fit in. you know I love unique people, people who stands out of the crowd and have a different persona and that why my friend I love you and I am going to fight for you because I am sorry from the bottom of my heart. Every time I count my blessing I count you twice, I be like thank you fathergoud for something so obvious even though sometimes I know you’ll be on your moods for days but I understand because I also undergo a cycle that makes me be in a devastation of a situation too.  I don’t care whether you take me as your friend or not which is always annoying you to the point that you end up saying ‘Uyadika’ (isn’t it odd how people kill flies just because they annoying? If people killed people for being annoying I know I would have been dead by now) but I just want you to know that in my life you will always be my friend and I hope one day if you decide to come back, please do because the door will always be open just because you have been a good friend to me and everyone around you.”

 

For those of you who are wondering who is this friend, I will tell you who it is. It is quite obvious who I’m talking about as his name is Obvious Nomaele. He isn’t my boyfriend (lover) but I love his absurdness, his smile, his persona, his kindness and the time when we used to laugh together, I guess I fell in love with our friendship. I just want to say that I love you. My mum always said that I must fight for what I think is right, what I believe in and what I want. It helps in life not to lose people or things that have been important but couldn’t see because once that thing is gone you can never appreciate it again. In life it is not about how many friends you have, it about how many true friends are willing to stand by your side during difficult situations. That is why it is said that you must choose your friends wisely; not by status, or fame or their beauty (their beauty won’t make you more beautiful sweetie) but by love as it is said that happiness is a four letter word.

24th Apr2017

Freedom in All of its Colours

by admin

Black Culture in the UK

Hi everyone,

This week our talented team have written articles that, coincidentally, address all of the complexities within contemporary black culture. Sandiswa Sondzaba shares her excitement over the fashion industry’s recent embracing of past and contemporary black subcultures. Kendrick Lamar has proven to be one of this generation’s most talented artists. Azola Jokweni discusses why he believes that Kendrick Lamar is the greatest rapper of his generation. Molebogeng Mokoka explains why our condemnation of Khanyi Mbau over her decision to lighten her skin complexion is highly problematic. Finally, Jabulile Mbatha critiques King Mswati III’s desire to ban divorce in Swaziland. Our talented writers have illustrated the complex issues that currently come with black culture- in all of its various forms. We sincerely hope that you will enjoy reading these thought-provoking articles.

Have a wonderful week of freedom,

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

24th Apr2017

Banning Divorce

by admin

MSWATI

“In our culture, once you marry someone, there’s no turning back”, King Mswati III was quoted by the Times of Swaziland, as he seemed to be endorsing banning divorce in his country. As the King of Swaziland and a proud man of his culture, he seeks only to preserve his cultural beliefs and norm. One of these beliefs is evidently that it is not advisable to marry then later divorce. As a husband and a father himself; he understands the importance of unity within a family. Thus, he would wish that all other families could stay together as cases of divorce have shown to have the most dreadful effects on families, particularly children.

With his suggestion of banning divorce he has turned a blind eye on the reasons people divorce in the first place. This is completely unfair in the case that he eventually implements this law. Divorce statistics in South Africa show that the rates are 0, 5 divorces per 1000 estimated population; and there has been a constant decline on the number of marriages occurring annually.

There are several reasons why people get divorce. To mention a few, the most common reason is that of infidelity; in my opinion, once a partner has decided to allow himself or herself to cheat the latter could be in a position to want out and with good reason. Abuse- psychological, physical, mental or emotional is another reason for many divorces. Substance abuse can cause financial strain, emotional detachment and sometimes violence which is reason enough for anyone to want out of a marriage if they feel they have reached a point of no return with the person they used to know and love. Not only that, but being in a position of inferiority and helplessness can affect people psychologically and emotionally and they would want to help themselves by seeking a divorce.

With that being said, it would be highly considerate for King Mswati III to further explore the reasons as to why people divorce before implementing this law. Not doing so would be of no help if people are stuck in positions where they feel endangered or unloved and are held down by this law (given all the human rights we have) just for the sake of preservation of culture. Although I am personally in favour of preserving the family, I can only support fighting for saving a marriage provided that it is not oppressive or unfair for either party in the marriage.

24th Apr2017

Can You Blame Her?

by admin

Over the years, social conceptions of beauty have changed dramatically. From the stick-thin models of the early 1990s to the curvaceous, hourglass figures of the modern day generation, the pressure to conform remains the same. How does engaging in extreme dieting to achieve the body of your dreams differ from getting plastic surgery to achieve flawless perfection?

Recently, social media has been abuzz over Khanyi Mbau’s skin transformation. The actress, presenter and socialite started taking tablets to change her skin from dark, to complete yellow bone. Mbau, who was very open about the process, received tons of backlash from the public, with some people accusing her of denying her blackness. But isn’t race more than skin complexion? With society’s preference for light over dark skin, can we really blame her?

Khanyi Mbau

While others threw shade at the personality, others expressed concern over the long term effects of the pills she was taking. Again, why are we so concerned about someone who has the financial means to take care of herself? Should we rather not be focusing our attention on 19 year olds getting lip fillers than on an independent adult woman with a child? What I stand to do is not to justify Mbau’s actions, but to rather show that, in my opinion, we have been a bit too hard on her. While we proudly defend wearing weaves with notions of I am not my hair, can’t we also say, for a change, that, “I am not my complexion”?

India Arie Quote

Conformity is something that we all do, but at different levels. What if Khanyi’s skin transformation was an act of self fulfilment rather than a manifestation of a racial identity crisis? As I noted my previous article, let us all imagine how financially successful we would be if we were to focus on our own issues. Who knows, maybe that could be the first step towards working our way out of #JustStatus.

24th Apr2017

All Hail Kendrick

by admin

DAMN

Born and raised in Compton, California, Kendrick Lamar has made more than just a mark in the rap music scene. His is a long-lasting legacy. After releasing his debut studio album Section 80, his music started gaining more exposure, giving him a broader fan base worldwide. I can best describe his music as thought provoking and more poetic, compared to the other clichéd ‘girls and money’ rappers. To hail him King, is another debate every rap fan has an opinion on. My definition for King is simple; it consists of the acronym ‘RAP’ which Rhythm and Poetry.

Poetry is art, a platform of expression, a voice for the voiceless, an artist’s view of the socio-economic issues, politics and issues influencing the self. Listening to Kendrick’s music, you realise that his music touches on those very basic elements of poetry. In this era we live in, not many artists can be dubbed as influential and motivational when a lot of them talk about having sex with different girls and how much money they spend in night clubs; repeating the same thing over and over again. It seems like rhyming and coming up with a cool hook qualifies you to be a rapper without deeper consideration about your lyrics, the meaning behind your lyrics, the message conveyed and the influence it has on the audience. In my opinion, only a select few can bring realism into their craft. From a rap fan’s perspective, Kendrick Lamar achieves that realism; that makes Kendrick stand alone, and without much competition to deal with. This is not to say he is either a god or some deity of rap. However, with no one matching his calibre, he can be dubbed the king of rap.

One might look at it from a different perspective. We cannot deny that over the years, the hip hop industry has evolved and become broader; we are no longer stuck on that old boom bap sound. We are now in what one can call this new movement the ‘trap era’. We have seen artists fuse the hip hop sound with other music genres, creating new unique sounds coming from the likes of Future, Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi Vert to name a few. Most importantly, and the reception from the audience to this new sound has been positive. For someone to stay with that poetic element in his music, and still be able to reach the people, that’s something else.

Looking at how Kendrick uses poetic devices in his music, and for you to get the message you first have to decode or analyse his verses, that has made people more active and participatory instead of just listening to the same thing from different people with no need to apply your mind. With some controversy over his lyrics now and then, people don’t just listen to his music to lip sync, but to understand the message and motive of the song. We’ve seen his music touch on trending issues like racism, politics, feminism and self-love, and the responses that have followed from his audience. That is what an artist is supposed to do: keep the people talking and engaging in societal issues. All hail King Kendrick.

24th Apr2017

Fashionable Diversity

by admin

All-Black

2017 has been a significant year for diversity in the fashion industry. In February, we had Marc Jacobs debut a collection that was explicitly inspired by hip-hop http://observer.com/2017/02/this-season-marc-jacobs-was-inspired-by-the-history-of-hip-hop/). Jacobs explained that his collection was inspired by the four-part documentary Hip-Hop Evolution which covers the hip-hop industry from the 70s to the 90s and features luminaries like Grandmaster Flash. In his show notes, Jacobs explains that, the “collection is my representation of the well-studied dressing up of casual sportswear. It is an acknowledgement and gesture of my respect for the polish and consideration applied to fashion from a generation that will forever be the foundation of youth culture street style”.

Gucci has seemingly followed in Jacobs’ lead through their pre-fall campaign that features an all-black model cast. The campaign is a tribute to Northern Soul which is different to the sci-fi vibe of the house’s Autumn/Winter 2017 show. The images were inspired by last year’s Made You Look exhibition at the Photographer’s Gallery. The exhibition was highly influential, exploring black masculinity and Dandyism (a counterculture that has also inspired the visuals in Solange Knowles’ Losing You music video). The campaign was further inspired by Malick Sidibe, the iconic 1960s photographer renowned for his black and white studio portraits, and Northern Soul. Northern Soul was a 1960s movement inspired by black American soul music that made clubs like the Wigan Casino famous. The campaign features both dancers and models, showing the splits and backdrops associated with the subculture’s dance style.

Titled ‘Soul Scene’, the Glen Luchford-shot campaign features only people of colour. This is significant considering that the industry has increasingly come under fire for the lack of diversity on runways and advertising campaigns. Runways, particularly, have been criticised for the lack of diverse castings. The most recent incident revolved around the agent James Scully, who took to Instagram to criticise the whitewashed Parisian catwalks and the mistreatment of models at a Balenciaga casting.

Although these are only two campaigns, they demonstrate that fashion is moving in the right direction. Coupled with the historic appointment of Edward Enninful as the new editor of British Vogue, the fashion industry is beginning to embrace diversity. Although some may say that these are just examples of how the fashion industry is embracing tokenism, I would like to argue that this is not the case. We are currently witnessing a black man take the helm at one of the industry’s most influential publications. As written in my previous article, Enninful is serious about increasing diversity within the industry. People like Enninful understand that the diversity-problem is serious as diverse representations are what will make the fashion industry’s influence more sustainable. I believe this we have not seen the last of these campaigns celebrating diversity.

Gucci Campaign

16th Apr2017

Breaking Boundaries

by admin

Hi everyone,

I trust that you have all had a wonderful Easter weekend surrounded by loved ones. This week our talented team of writers have, yet again, written amazing articles for us to enjoy. Naledi Khumalo discusses why she does not believe that Roman Catholic priests can be married. Zinhle Maeko explores black conservative Christian parents’ disapproval of their children’s body modification. Sandiswa Tshabalala provides insight into the politics of black womxn’s hair. Molebogeng Mokoko explains why she does not approve of labels. Tsholonang Rapoo implores us to place greater value on same-sex relationships. Finally, Sandiswa Sondzaba reports on Edward Enninful’s recent appointment as the new editor of British Vogue magazine.

Hope that you have a wonderful week and that you enjoy this week’s edition of exPress imPress.

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

Breaking Boundaries

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