Their Bodies, Their Selves

There's a striking moment about 20 minutes into Jennifer Brea's affecting film about her own and countless others' struggle with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME, more commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome). She is bedridden and filming herself as she reflects on what it means to inhabit this new, limiting body, and the limited life it affords … Continue reading Their Bodies, Their Selves

The Immortal Lessons of Henrietta Lacks

Whilst I was watching a particularly harrowing sequence in the new HBO-produced movie The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (based on Rebecca Skloot's bestselling book), I was reminded of a bit that Chris Rock used to include in his stand-up about race. He would argue that the most 'racist' black people he knew were older black people, … Continue reading The Immortal Lessons of Henrietta Lacks

Nolite te bastardes carborondurum: A Maternal Reading of The Handmaid’s Tale

In anticipation of the forthcoming Hulu dramatization, I reread Margaret Atwood's iconic dystopian, feminist text, The Handmaid's Tale.  Well, only sort of. I have a lot less time and a lot more toddler in my life than I did when I first read the book twelve years ago.  This time, I listened to the unabridged audiobook. … Continue reading Nolite te bastardes carborondurum: A Maternal Reading of The Handmaid’s Tale

Birth Pains

“For the first time in my life, I understand the concept of home: it is not a refuge, not necessarily a snuggly place of warmth and cheery domesticity, not some essential rightness like the satisfying click that releases a lock, but rather a sense of peace with contradiction. It is a giving in, an acceptance, … Continue reading Birth Pains

But is it racism?

  Another year, another viral story about Cape Town’s insidious racism. This time the story came from a young woman who was visiting the city with her family over the festive season. At some point, she and her family tried to make reservations at an upmarket Camps Bay restaurant, using (as you do) their own … Continue reading But is it racism?

On What I did not Expect

I don’t know quite what I expected.   For the longest time (and I know how lucky we are that for us, that only meant months, not years), we’d been planning for this pregnancy, working as hard as we could emotionally to conceive our miracle, fighting the despair that threatened to overwhelm anything positive about … Continue reading On What I did not Expect

Obliterated Places

    I’m a middle class black person who is married to a white person and who happens to live in a hopelessly unintegrated city (Cape Town).  It should therefore not surprise you to learn, reader, that I am often The Only Black Person in the Room.  It doesn’t often surprise me much, having lived … Continue reading Obliterated Places

Writing against the silence

  I have a very happy, complicated relationship with writing.  It is at once very personal, in the ways that only the places you can call home are, and very public, in the way that professional ambition can be.  Writing has always been a place for me to take the pieces of my life, sorrowful … Continue reading Writing against the silence

The ‘I’ Word

There’s a word I’ve been religiously avoiding using in all my conversations, and writing about this experience, and the word is this: infertility.   I avoid it partly because our doctor is yet to use it to refer to either of us (medically, officially, you are only allowed to assign it after a couple have … Continue reading The ‘I’ Word