Model C Schools: Corridors of violence & Assemblies of Assimilation.

Protest: Pretoria Girls High School

“I wonder if they knew..I wonder if oMama bethu knew that the schools they took us to were violent. Phofu, if they knew [just how violent our schools were] I wonder if they would have taken us out. I doubt. The thing is, uyabona Sihle, my mother is a strong woman,” Phuti said seated at the end of the table. She raised her glass of beyerskloof red wine, gulped and placed it back on the table and continued speaking.

“She is soo strong.” She shook her head.

“What do you mean?” I inquired, leaning closer to hear, curious to gain insight.

“All I ever wanted was to be more like her. My mom is a fixer. Her friend’s friends call her to fix things. She sorts things out. Like no-one messes with my mother. Her only fault is.. (she shrugged her shoulders) her only fault is, that she was and perhaps still is firmly convinced that the only way I could become anything that matters in this life is if I was taught in white schools by white teachers. She saw white schools as a crucial pathway for “cultivating the necessary aspirant dispositions that will allow my entry into formal middle class, employment, and lifestyles.”

So morning after morning, we marched out of our neighborhoods, shunning black and colored schools adjacent to our homes. Refusing to be trapped by geography. Morning after morning, we were transported past railways and bridges, tearing down soft zoning’s and apartheid spatial engineering to find and seek and find. Fueled by the promise of a ‘better life for all.’

Morning by morning, we escaped our anti-aspirant communities and recalcitrant neighbors. Disjuncture. Trudging through, traversing space. Displacement. Continuously in motion to find remote classrooms in the city, indoctrinated by the belief that the material offered in non-whites schools was anti-aspirant.

Daily, the strong chords that tied us to our neighborhoods, our cousins, our blackness, our villages, and our heritage thinned. Continue reading “Model C Schools: Corridors of violence & Assemblies of Assimilation.”

Footbinding: Letter to my daughter

~Allow me to break your feet.

I promise

You will be beautiful~

© Jo Farrell

Universally, women have been familiar with “taboos, constraints, and exclusionary” practices. Her body, her sexuality and her reproductive role as a mother in society have commonly been at the center of these taboos.


Judith Butler’s Gender Constitution essay parallels the idea of being a woman to an act. She makes use of Beauvoir’s claim that

“one is not born, but rather, becomes a woman.”

This is the idea that a woman is compelled to conform her body to a historical idea of “woman” so that the body becomes a stage that materializes this limited understanding of her. She, being a cultural representation in the play. The actor (woman) role plays this idea repeatedly, beat by beat until the sight of womanhood submits to a uniform understanding of her gender.

© Donna Jo Napoli
© Donna Jo Napoli

This explanation fosters the idea that the repetitive re-enactment of scenes carves out the cultural signs that create meanings for womanhood. Foot-binding is a symbol of these repeated scenes. Continue reading “Footbinding: Letter to my daughter”

Too nice to be feminist, too feminist to be nice.

Do you profess to be a feminist?mm2.jpg

Or are you still thinking about it? Are you a half feminist then? A not so good/ bad feminist perhaps?

If one yields to half feminism or bad feminism, why would they identify as a feminist in the first place you may ask?

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably

too nice to be feminist. Yet too feminist to be nice.

‘A mess, full of contradictions.’

The other day, I smiled at him, a moon sized smile. To be honest I was cringing as I listened to his flippant platitudes of entitlement.

Words-entitlement-words-entitlement, seeped through this scrubs mans mouth. But I smiled. Tap-tap, that’s a lesson ladies, In case you inattentively missed that scrubs.

  1. A good woman always honors a man. To achieve this you must hide some words, better yet erase some words edit-edit-edit till they sound like nothing you were trying to say. Be reminded-different people read your posts. Your male or white friends may read your writing, refrain from sounding disillusioned and hyperbolic and too  black angry nobody did it to you.

Really this must stop. Note to self: this conversation is about feminism, race aside today. Besides, we are all part of the human race what? erasure-erasure-erasure. A mess of contradictions. Continue reading “Too nice to be feminist, too feminist to be nice.”

Azania we will never be the Same


‪‎Barricades of land we call universities.

Devoid of the history of the soil.

The only place where culture exists

is in unrecognizable material,

Cherried on African studies curricula.

Continue reading “Azania we will never be the Same”

Parenting a Model-C child


She couldn’t make it to the sports games, nor the parents meetings

She couldn’t sit down at night and go through your homework. Your school diary was never signed and you never had the reply slip ready, on time.

She could not read the bedtime stories and tuck you into bed. Nor prepare your sports clothes for the physical education class.

The cake sales. The fudge making and corn popping. She missed that too. Continue reading “Parenting a Model-C child”

Blue shirts, men deployed with strong arms

In light of the police violence to a call for educational justice seen in South Africa during the protests in 2015. This poem is a prayer and a thought from afar. Re-imagining the experiences of the students. Remembering the history and the context within which the protest was seen. South Africa, a country familiar with police brutality and protests. The youth of 1976 experienced the same kind of resistance. Sharpeville also. This is like a breathing beast. Fighting a system from the inside (internalized oppression) and the structural violence that lingers in University institutions, in the structure of the economy,  the spatial segregation and in the fading hopes of a ‘better life for all.

Class of 2015 you are indeed at the ‘cusp of something great.’

This too will one day seem like a tale, a history.

Continue reading “Blue shirts, men deployed with strong arms”

Shack Artwork & Reality


Paint me in red.

Flush me with beautiful colors.

Sell me in a frame for Tourists at the Green-market square.

Cover the corrugated iron in bright beaded embroidery.

Shape the edges. Continue reading “Shack Artwork & Reality”


In light of the Xenophobic attacks. I have since wondered if calling killing a phobia is acceptable. Inactive language is a stab to our consciousness and very humanity. What good will the word Xenophobia, or Afrophobia do in awakening dead men. deaths by the dead… the dead black man kills

Continue reading “Xenophobia”

The construction of memory


Continue reading “The construction of memory”

Backtrack of Suffering

A people can not come awake of their oppression and fall back into sleep after their liberation. A continued wakefulness and vigilance is the responsibility of Black consciousness. An ever Higher refinement of peoples possibility.