Through (smiling) Irish Eyes

The first thing that hits you about Ireland is how welcoming everyone is. I say 'welcoming' and not 'nice' because there is a difference. 'Nice' is surface: it is civil, it is just enough. 'Welcoming' is warm, it is open, it is deep. 'Welcoming' is the taxi driver who fetches you from the airport singing a … Continue reading Through (smiling) Irish Eyes

How to Outrun the Darkness*

*For Chester. May your lights never dim. Your first step - really, your most important step, the step you will return to again and again - is to name the darkness. You see, it operates best in secret, this darkness. It keeps you shrouded and cloaked in its shadows, making sure you feel completely isolated … Continue reading How to Outrun the Darkness*

My Therapist is Black*

*With thanks and apologies to Young Jeezy I had my first panic attack when I was 20. Up till that point, I'd never considered therapy, and had shrugged off the persistent lethargy and darkness that episodically enveloped me. I was an undergraduate psychology major, so I was especially cautious about throwing around labels like 'anxiety' … Continue reading My Therapist is Black*

Representation Matters, but is it enough?

I barely pay attention to superhero/comic book movies unless they are directed by Joss Whedon. So last year's pre-hype about the new incarnation of Wonder Woman passed me by. I caught the fever this year, however, upon watching the incredible trailer, and feeling that familiar but all too rare thrill of watching the story of a … Continue reading Representation Matters, but is it enough?

On the beauty of black story(tellers)

Parents of black children do not have it easy. The world is an ugly place, but it saves its most brutal faces for black people. But even before all that, before our children learn of the violence, both casual and profound, that lies in their path, there are the awful silences. Children's stories, in print, … Continue reading On the beauty of black story(tellers)

All I Want for Father’s Day

Father's Day is coming up in two weeks. You'll be forgiven if you didn't know that (though, perhaps not by your dad). It's not exactly a deafening silence, but there is a distinct mutedness surrounding Father's Day. The barrage of marketing and schmaltz and endless florals and pastels that accompanies the run-up to Mother's Day is … Continue reading All I Want for Father’s Day

16 and Pregnant in South Africa

A number of years ago, when I was still working in the development sector, I visited an organisation working in an area in Mpumalanga that has high rates of 'teen pregnancy'. Most of the visit was spent at the local primary school where I met girls as young as 13 who were balancing first-time motherhood and … Continue reading 16 and Pregnant in South Africa

Lessons in allyship

Last year, when the country's university campuses were in the thick of the 2017 wave of #FeesMustFall protests, I attended a reflection workshop hosted by the programme for which I was teaching at the time. Reader, it was not my finest hour. I was ostensibly meant to be co-facilitating the session, but ended up participating, vociferously, … Continue reading Lessons in allyship

On thin-skinned drums

They say a thin-skinned drum makes the loudest beat... Tumi Molekane, 'Yvonne' Many ages ago, a friend introduced me to South African hip-hop artist, Tumi Molekane. I loved him instantly. His flow is mesmerising and his lyrics are socially conscious and relevant à la  Common or Talib Kweli. And although his accent is tinged with faux-American … Continue reading On thin-skinned drums

The Revolution will not be Likeable*

*Apologies and thanks to Gil Scott-Heron One of my favorite anecdotes from the iconic Tina Fey's Bossypants concerns the equally iconic Amy Poehler. Poehler is in the Saturday Night Live writers' room in the middle of a bit. Naturally (this is SNL after all), the bit is gross and graphic: Amy was in the middle of some … Continue reading The Revolution will not be Likeable*