/ 25 August 2016

About the Abafazi cover: Cut-cut, kill-kill, stab-stab: a South African love story

About The

I am angry about a lot of things. Mostly pertaining to existing on this planet as a womxn. My anger takes many forms, usually in online tirades, sometimes in scathing comments wrapped in humour, sometimes in garish watercolour drawings of genitals. I don’t know how to translate all of this anger into action; I’m trying to focus my energy into making the world a better place for womxn, when it has never been a great world for us to begin with.

The beginning

We were made from your rib, apparently. That was the beginning. The leftovers of a half-eaten rib. Usually I throw my leftovers in the trash or I hand it over from a car window as if I am going to change a life, like a Messiah distributing stale food, demanding that you be grateful.


Aren’t you grateful to be alive? Aren’t you grateful that you’re okay? You haven’t been defiled. I am so grateful. I tsk-tsk in pity when I hear of your terrible tale, secretly thanking another moonrise that it wasn’t my sister, my mother, my wife.

Art and artist: Lady Skollie and her piece, Cut-cut, kill-kill, stab-stab: a South African love story. Photo: Simiato

There is this fantasy/nightmare that I share with many other South African women; I am in a dark space, unfamiliar, a series of unfortunate events brought me here. There is a man (or men), I feel their energy and I know I have to get away. They approach me, and a deep calm takes over. I defeat them. My anger and my intuition carry me through.

Afterwards my friends and I celebrate, cheering to our victory over toxic masculinity. Much merriment ensues. We are triumphant.

I don’t have to tell you what would happen in reality. We all know what many womxn have experienced in reality. Objects stuffed in places they shouldn’t be, teeth like confetti around a crushed head, bruised throats and wrists.

“But had you been drinking?”

Being a womxn in South Africa is playing the waiting game. With a rape and femicide rate five times higher than the global average, we are all waiting. While we wait we have lots to keep us busy; lighting another candle at another memorial. We are lighting candles into eternity.

I am so confused at this practice of lighting candles. I want to tip the candles over and burn everything. Burn the synthetic tulle used to make funerals look expensive, and burn those chrysanthemum burial arrangements until they reach the foamy green square in the centre.

I want everything to burn, so that we can start again.

The papaya of womxnhood is being pierced from every angle, seeping everything around it with sticky, congealed misery. The knives are being driven in, deep, to the hilt. Tips poisoned so that we can rot from the centre. Bleeding and bleeding and bleeding, with nothing to stem the flow.

Every eight hours in South Africa I say a prayer because more were subjected to a game of cut-cut, kill-kill, succumbing to the hands that once tenderly stroked and tricked.

I am so angry and I don’t know how to tell you without smashing things. I am so angry.

I understand that you also have struggles like fucking up your high heels on cobblestones and an aircon that gave you that cold, but Patricia Chueu, we have bigger battles than yours.

Battles that Sinoxolo Mafevuka, Gift Makau, Noxolo Nkosana, Lucia Naido, Reeva Steenkamp, Susan Rohde, Duduzile Zoza, Motshidisi Melamu, Anni Dewani, Thembilihle Sokhele, Pinky Mosiane, Jayde Panayiotou and that lady that you know, that aunt of mine, the girl that went to university with me, your sister and all of us in the waiting room are eager to see the fruits of.

Please join me and get angry. Because begging never helped.

Abafazi is the Mail & Guardian’s Women’s Month supplement. Get the M&G on August 26 to see more writing by women and a commemoration of the heroes behind the 1956 Women’s March.