I am hurting. Hurting that this pandemic has scattered my family and may leave me without a business when the dust settles. I am hurting for my nurse mother and doctor father who are over 60 and vulnerable as they answer their calling daily, with superiors who couldn’t give a damn. I am hurting for my teenage son who has to reckon with racism at his elite school, with all the layers of dissonance that come with that. I am hurting because no number of marches, virtue signaling, sound bites and outrage over Ms Eudy Simelane, Ms Anene Booysen, Ms Karabo Mokoena or Ms Uyinene Mrwetyana prevented the murder of Ms Tshegofatso Pule.
I have evolved much of my inner circle and left spaces too toxic to redeem, while trying to alter some from within. I call out casual gender/xeno/afro/trans/homo/tribal phobia – not every single exhausting time, but enough to have drawn a permanent line in the sand. I actively work on the way I ‘husband’ and ‘father’, in spite of my inadequacies, anxieties and the growing pains of unlearning. I read everything I can to expand my view of masculinity, listening attentively to the remarkable women in my life and share as widely as I can, through my platforms, messages that not only affirm this, but attempt to bring others along on this tough, lifelong journey. All of this does not, did not, prevent a woman – just a month from giving birth – from being slaughtered and put on display.
I am tired, but my weariness is a luxury. Black women – heterosexual, lesbian, trans, ALL black women – who are the most tired, cannot afford to be tired, to take a respite, to be still, to take care of self. The assault, relentless and unforgiving – perpetrated by us, as we scream for justice for George Floyd and Collins Khosa – won’t allow them. I am hurting because after all these years, there is still a hierarchy of Black Lives and there is nothing I can do about it. Still.
In writing this, I couldn’t be more acutely aware that many may look at this as a public self-flaggelation exercise designed to take up space for yet another man. I get that, I’ll take it. But this normative brutalisation of women is a desperate concern, one that hounds many men who know there is a better way and pursue it. If you are not new to our platform, you will know that this has been consistently part of our DNA since our December 2015 launch. We know we are not alone. We know the noted.man. We used to talk to him, eat with him, drink with him, debate him, laugh with him. In our new reality we may not talk as often, and our Zooms may not be filled with much laughter, but we can still confide in him and tell him when we feel as defeated as we feel at this moment. We can do that, this is our space. What we can also do is use this platform in a way that we haven’t tried before, a more useful way, a more consistent way and more action-orientated way.
We need a much more committed approach to tackling this most urgent of crises and are talking to the friends with which we usually discuss these matters. The conversations are difficult because the spectre of failure haunts us. But we need a bigger interaction, a wider look at what practical, measurable solutions we can get behind to flatten the curve of Femicide and its building blocks.
You can email firstname.lastname@example.org with any suggestions or to volunteer your time to thinking about and executing a tangible, collaborative action plan. Have something in motion? Let us know and we will spread the word and help in whatever way we can. We welcome input – readings, resources, time, bodies, mailing lists, contacts, articles, campaigns, seminars, lectures etc. – from individuals and organisations, but we insist on all of it being action-orientanted.