Events like Feminist Stokvel, For Black Girls Only, Rethink Africa, Thought We Had Something Going and more have become as essential to my existence as a so-called middle class black womxn as breathing. Over the past year, there has been so much self-conscientizing I have had to do to realize what kind of implications the society I am living in has on my person. Part of this has been about discovering forums, dialoguing the negotiations that, as black people, whether queer, heterosexual, trans, feminist, womanist, etc. we have to do in our daily lives. Making sure I am in these spaces has become an act of self-care for me; a labour of self-love.
Being from a predominantly white high school while living in the Northern and then Southern Suburbs of CPT, seeing large populations of black folk is not something I encountered regularly apart from two hour Sunday visits to my aunt in Gugulethu. The growing number of exclusively black spaces has had a liberating effect on me. For maybe an hour or two, I do not have to perform whiteness; I become protected from the reality of a white world outside of those doors for that time.
2. Sharing is Caring
You know when you think you are the only person in the world that has the struggles that you do? Black spaces call the biggest bullshit on this thinking. When you’re in a crowd of beautiful black people and a discussion begins, you hear what sound exactly like your black experiences but from a total stranger. At that point, “you are not alone, sis.” are the words ringing in your brain while you hold back a Brooke tear.
3. We’re Problematic But We’re Working On It
As romantic as this post my seem to make blackness, there are always acknowledgments made by individuals in these spaces of the problematic-ness of they hold that may come in the forms of violent and oppressive language in reference, to not only our marginalization, but that of disabled people, lower socio-economic classes, the LGTBTI community, womxn and more. But, best believe there will be a soul in that room ready to clap back and read us for our filth, and we learn and unlearn.
4. Black Hacks
Sheer Butter for your body. Bantu Knots for your curls. Coconut Oil for your life. Relaxer sales are a mess and any Twitter other than Black Twitter is a myth because black people finally threw a lazy middle-finger to white people and the lies they have been feeding us by the spade fulls. If you don’t walk away from a two-hour chat with black people with a new life hack or plot twist, you aren’t doing it right, to-be-quite-fucking-honest.
5. Black is Beautiful
There is something about our melanin; something about the way we glisten in the sunlight that I love to my core. Being surrounded by people who look like me and experience life like me and are unapologetic about it is goosebump inducing. To the often rhetorical question, “when will we live?” I say, NOW!