Shrugs

I told my intern who is considering studying abroad in Cape Town that she should do it. That its a beautiful place, with beaches for surfing, mountains for hiking.

She said “but you said you didn’t like South Africa because of the racism and xenophobia?”

I asked her since when did racism stop white kids from enjoying themselves?

Than she said she can’t enjoy a place thats so racist,  that she thinks she will go to Australia instead.

I laughed.

How does she not know the Australian government has been trying to kill off niggas for generations. 

Over 30 miners shot down by South African police as they protested, according to the Washington Post, “the shooting recalled images of white police officers firing at protesters in the 1960’s and ‘70’s, but this was mostly black police firing at black miners.” I was going to sit here and speak on the irony of that last sentence in this article, but Cedric Scott Jr.’s poem is exactly what I felt when I read about these killings:

“no love or respect for each other or our ancestors, the important things remain too far past due instead we torture, terrorize, and terminate our own, so others no longer have to, we die at our very own hands, the arsons in our very own hell…now we lynch ourselves”

A picture of me and wow…I can’t even remember this girls name, anywho, this was my first night in Cape Town. I had arrived from Abidjan about 5 hours earlier and people were going out so I tagged along.

Funny I found this photo on my last day in South Africa. ohhhhh the memories.

I have returned from my dream trip through East Africa. I’m not sure what my body is up to but I have not been able to sleep despite being exhausted. Story of my life.

Anywho, I am soooo excited to share my photos, musings, inspirations, with you internet friends. This trip, shoot these last 6 months in Africa have changed my life. I remember being on the plane on December 20, 2011 praying that I spend the next 6 months falling in love. and I have, as I fell in love with the various landscapes and cultures of my continent I began to fall in love with the woman being shaped by these experiences. I would have never expected that traveling through, living, and breathing the continent of Africa would change me so profoundly, but it has, in ways I could never put into words.

I have three more days in my adoptive South Africa, this country has opened its arms to me and from my internship to the University I attended, I will never be able to repay what South Africa has given me. What my roommates have given me, what my classmates, co-workers, shoot the damn drunks on the street have given me something in this city that I will carry with me back to DC and further.

Next stop is Abidjan to spend a week with the love of my life, Mme. Kimou, my mommy 🙂 My family, my city.

Then its back to that DC grind, to my BEAUTIFUL friends, to my amazing brothers, to my new magical niece, to my bills, to Georgetown, to thesis proposals, to Chipotle, to TJ Maxx, to traffic on the inner, outer, and every loop, to Metro delays, to refusing to pay to get into Park and 14th, to DC niggas, to wine festivals in Maryland, to hiking in West Virginia, to my amazing church, to my PROPER closet, to high speed internet, to concerts at 9:30 club, to Mega-buses to NYC, to Goodwills, yes, yes I am getting excited 🙂

My favorite place to be in Cape Town is driving through the mountains towards Camps Bay Beach. Seriously.

We went to watch the sunset and have dinner, it was great times with people I’m going to miss very much.

I’m obsessed with these. Purchased at Green Market Square in the city center of Cape Town for about $10.

I had purchased them for my aunt who is letting me stay with her in Paris this week, but I’m trifling so I’m keeping them.

It was such a clear evening yesterday that you could see the mountains across the city. Every time I’m on campus and this happens it stops me in my tracks.

I’m in freaking South Africa.

South Africa is a buzz over the gang rape of a 17 year old girl in Soweto. As anyone with eyes, ears, and half of a brain understands, rape is a huge issue in South Africa. Women are rapped everyday, in various places, and with various objects. The heads of government know and understand this fact all too well. These men in power are not new to the rape culture that fuels the sexual violence in this country, and I am not too bold to say, that many of them have too taken part in such hatred and dehumanization.

Nonetheless, what is making this gang rape of this child so explosive in this country? WHY THIS TIME? This same 17 year old girl has been rapped before. She was kidnapped and held as a “sex-slave” in Soweto in 2010, as well as another incident of rape that same year. All reported to the police, and both cases dropped because of “lack of evidence.”

Rape is clearly only taken seriously in this country if it is recorded and sent to as many blackberrys and iphones as possible. So this is what it has come to? Without a video or photo attached to sexual violence, it is obviously not as tangible to the people in power, the government, the police, those charged with protection of their people.

South Africa’s leading newspaper reported that “Police spokesman Kay Makhubela said soon after learning of the video Tuesday, police, with help from people in Soweto, arrested seven men who appeared in the video.” So this is what victims need, for their rapists to pull out a cell phone and record the whole ordeal? Then the victims should ask them to politely post it on youtube as soon as possible. Thanks!

I am not making light of a situation, but I am trying to draw attention to the JOKE of a legal system here. Sadly, when rape is taken out of the private sphere and into the public sphere (a youtube video), it becomes political.

When a video goes viral, this young girl is no longer a victim, but a part of a political agenda, a name to drop out of the mouths of various politicians and law enforcement officials who say they take rape seriously. Well I call bullshit, these tactics are no longer enough, no one is blind to the fact that this video has put pressure on South Africa’s leaders and that is the ONLY reason this child’s rape is being addressed.

This system has failed her, and not only her, but the millions of women and children she represents. South Africa is failing it’s women.

Ok, I’m a real person again! After 9 days of living out of my backpack and sleeping in a couple different hotels and hostels, I have returned to my home with my shower, beauty products, and clean clothes.

Anywho! Before going to Swaziland my roommate and I stopped in Johannesburg for a day and went to the Apartheid Museum. A must if you are ever in South Africa. It was remarkable, whoever curated this museum deserves a raise and some accolades.

The museum spanned hundreds of years, and was a vivid snapshot of the how apartheid came to be, its implementation, its victims, and the process of reconciliation that emerged in the early 90’s.

Johannesburg was a really interesting city in and of itself. Not the mostly white, European metropolis of Cape Town, Johannesburg was more raw, more black, less polished. I could appreciate it.

“I am against the intellectual arrogance of white people that makes them believe that white leadership is a sine qua non in this country [Apartheid South Africa] and that whites are the divinely appointed pace-setters in progress. I am against the fact that a settler minority should impose an entire system of values on an indigenous people.”- Steve Biko, killed while in police custody in 1977 at the age of 30 in Pretoria, South Africa

From the hills of Swaziland to beaches of Mozambique in 9 days!

It was an adventure indeed that involved horseback riding, camping out in a cave, riding for hours in minibuses, Zebras and other wildlife, warm water beaches, hostels and beehive huts, traditional dance, and meeting amazing travelers on the way.

So many pictures and thoughts to share with you internet friends! I will try posting something everyday until all my thoughts and candid photos are shared to my liking.

I must now do laundry, and reconnect with my bed.