The People Vs Patriarchy

“…Everybody is a man, you know? And you just choke! You choke. You constantly feel like you are being strangled; it’s so violating.” – Sibu Gcilitshana

I first encountered the word ‘Patriarchy’ in University while I was studying Media, Communication and Culture. In the initial stages, it was mainly about how the media portrayed women, the extent of cinematographic voyeurism centering the storylines with beautiful women. When I started working behind the scenes in Television, I got to see the gross voyeurism that presenters and actresses must endure from crews, which are usually male dominant. In fact, one cameraman I have worked with usually narrated a story he had witnessed in advertising where feminists were asking the director of the Ad Agency, “Where are the women in decision-making positions here?” and, the arrogant director answered, “You wanna know where women are? They are under my desk sucking my fucking dick!” In the same breath, actress, Sibu Gcilitshana has personally shared with me her experience of missing out on roles because she was not willing to sleep with directors – I was working as a production assistant for Quizzical Pictures when she shared this, assuring me that I would be surprised to hear the names.

During my second year working in the media and staying in Cape Town, I was completely appalled by the plague that is patriarchy, as every second friend of mine had a rape story they told me. Although it was different, this violence and sense of entitlement that men had towards women began to mirror the violence we endured at home at the hands of male family members; verbal, emotional and psychological. Worse, the culture of protecting the abuser was also too familiar.

The years that followed these realizations have seen me re-locating myself in the conversation of patriarchy, feminism and violence. Sometimes, I get it right and sometimes, I fail dismally in being part of the problem. I must say, I speak more on an one-on-one basis now because often, I found myself misconstrued when the conversation was a Hashtag or public. I hope this is not a form of patriarchy silencing me, and that it is really what I view to be constructive.

Now, knowing that as a woman, walking in Johannesburg CBD is practically war, knowing that more than 80% of my girlfriends have been raped by men and coming from a heavily violent and patriarchal family, the new film, The People Vs Patriarchy, immediately caught my attention from its trailer. My colleague, knowing where I stand with patriarchy, showed it to me, and further explained that his friend, Lebogang Rasethaba is the director of the film, and I wasn’t that surprised because the colleague in question is also self-introspecting on his own contribution in violent hypermasculinity.

IOL reported that “the latest out of the MTV Africa stable is a jarring documentary about patriarchy and its hold on South Africans. The sequel to The People vs the Rainbow Nation, The People vs Patriarchy is a one hour and 15-minute conversation that is sub-divided to try and get the viewer engaging on this social pandemic.”

Rasethaba is obviously an amazing director and an exceptional storyteller. He shot in Johannesburg and Cape Town, engaging people of different backgrounds in his conversation, something I was very worried about before I saw the film, because these conversations usually happen in certain cliques. His personal opening statement in the film was; “I can’t make this film without acknowledging my own personal history of fuckieness; undermining women, being manipulative emotionally…”

So, in his conversation with himself, South African men and women, and books such as Pumla Gqola’s Rape: A South African Nightmare, Rasethabile sought to divide the film into five parts.

Chapter 1: Gender Norms

“The same way we accept in conversation, you know? You accept your mate when he says something shocking like, ‘Ha, makalala ngiyangena!’”

“Where are the queer men and [insert other marginalized genders besides heterosexual cis men] who were leading the struggle during apartheid?” asks Activist, Wanelisa Xaba, alluding to the fact that celebrated figures have historically been heterosexual men.

Ultimately, if we look at the systematic role of the white man and man of colour, it’s different but the same. The white man’s role is to fuck up the entire society, whether he takes on his father’s mining or farming business which is derived from the exploitation of just about everyone or has merely benefited from the privilege of being white. And, the man of colour must be strong, do hardcore jobs, be away from his family and come home to beat his wife.

Gender norms are what leave trans-gendered people in the margins, because it is not a norm. Where do we place them? How do we refer to them? And, the most violent thing we do is be offended by the choices they make in their own bodies.

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Chapter 2: Toxic Gendering

This political dangerous gender roles normalization is reflective of how private homes are in perpetuating toxic gendering, where the girl child has always had to be assigned the ‘deputy mom’ role, doing most of the domestic chores and sometimes, getting the smallest piece of the meat, which she has cooked. More was said on this, from the expectations for women to take on their husband’s name, projecting a woman’s love for a man to have sacrifice (of herself) at its heart.

Basically, men are performing masculinity and women are performing femininity. Linked to this is the trending of musician, Emtee, who ended up being shamed for his small penis, which is linked to the size of his manhood. And, indeed, men are at a crisis in this regard because every poster in Johannesburg is about “Penis Enlargement.” A man’s masculinity is linked to sex, and rape is part of this because as power-driven as rape is, it’s still a sexual experience, and so, conquering is at the center of manhood. How could Emtee possibly conquer with that little penis; this shaming, by the way, is something I am guilty as charged of. I should really do better.

 

Chapter 3: #MenAreTrash

#MenAreTrash means what Gcilitshana asks in the film – “when is this [violence] not my daily experience [as a woman]?” because all the signs and symbols everywhere are aimed at proving my inferiority and lack of ability to think for myself.

In fact, an abuser who was interviewed in the film said “My message to men is that they should not hesitate to discipline their women. A little spanking won’t kill her.”

So, yes, it’s true – violence has the face of a black woman, from everyone. And, this understanding of violence and black men as trash must not take away from the fact that while black men are the faces of violators, black men have very little power in systematic violence towards everyone, and we should not forget how normal it is for white men to be extremely violent to millions and billions of people. Hell, the entire Africa was violated by white men!

In addressing mothers, a conversation between daughters and mothers revealed that women sometimes enable trash. The mothers of the abusers slam the victims for speaking out, and when one mother (as all our mothers do) argued that these problems can be solved by surrendering to God’s protection, a younger woman asked; “Why yena [uThixo] angangiProtectanga the time umuntu ang’Rap(a)?”

For Youtuber and activist, Sibu Mpanza, men were offended by #MenAreTrash because suddnely, they had to deal with the things that were mentioned, which they did at one point in their lives. Some men were adamant that #NotAllMen, while others argued that men are too quick to defend themselves in not being trash, but are never in solidarity with women.

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Chapter 4: Call-outs

“Even though we know who we are talking about, no one is dropping the names.”

Okmalumkoolkat was a big topic in “calling out” rapists and sexual assaulters. And, without diverting from the film’s commentators and activists, it’s always been interesting to watch how protective even women who are raped are of rapists, when it’s men they know, because no matter how violent rape is, it’s different and personal when your father or brother did it.

In Latent Rapists, Ntozakhe Shange writes;

“Women relinquish all personal rights the presence of a man who apparently could be considered a rapist, especially if he has been considered a friend. He is no less worthy of being beat within an inch of his life. being publicly ridiculed having two fists shoved up his ass. And the stranger he always thought it would be who never showed ups it turns out the nature of rape has changed. We can now meet them in circles we frequent for companionship. We see them at the coffeehouse with someone else we know. We can even have them over for dinner & get raped in our own houses by invitation.”

This realization and in the context of the film is where I think the most critical conversation happened for Rasethaba, who was a friend of Okmalumkoolkat.

The questions raised were; how do we continue supporting his music knowing what we know? And, speaking to my colleague about this, I was clear about the fact that men need to call out men. As women, we are already painted with the “angry feminist” brush that men are always in defense mode when we speak. The men who are our allies must do their work around other men.

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Chapter 5: Change

In conclusion, fifteen years ago, I never imagined that a man would curate this kind of a conversation. I experienced patriarchy, although I didn’t have the appropriate linguistics to name it, and for me, men were men; boys were boys, it was up to me to cover myself up. No man did anything about it. So, men who have come out to challenge themselves and their privilege is a huge step towards the right direction. Yes, it doesn’t end there, because if men can be violent towards women, then surely, they can use this power towards positivity.

I am focusing on men because unfortunately, patriarchy has been left to feminist groups, even though it’s a plague killing both men and women. Rape is not a women’s issue, it’s a men’s issue.

Nakhane Toure, who has had his fair share of patriarchy after starring in the film, The Wound, said, “the only way men can change is if they feel forced to change.”

I agree. Legislation needs to be tighter on gender-based violence. Thus, when we deal with violence, let us remember that our beloved president, Jacob Zuma, is also a culprit and that, “rape in South Africa isn’t a moment, it’s a language,” in the words of Pumla Gqola.

 

The right way to ‘stay’

I like going back to projects years after their release. I never stop recollecting all the wisdom I need from them, and we all know the meaning of art changes according to time and personal context. I get to really decipher my truth in and about them when there is less noise and opinions.

Albums like Lemonade are one of those, and before you roll your eyes and click elsewhere, please note that this piece is neither about the album nor personal indulgence of Bey.

But, let’s admit it, in pop-culture, Beyonce has become the poster woman for “staying,” especially after her hubby Jay Z released an album that speaks to his cheating (if it’s true), which also sees him manning up to his faults and almost opening up to healing. Confronting himself, in Kill Jay Z, Jigger says;

“You almost went Eric Benet, let the baddest girl in the world get away. I don’t even know what else to say. Nigger never go Eric Benet.”

Since Beyonce and Jay Z are an international couple, their projects have shown many that they can work it out as a couple. The song that cements this idea the most is Bey’s “All night,” and my favorite line from it is in the poetry before the song;

“So, we’re gonna heal. We’re gonna start again. You’ve brought the orchestra. Synchronized swimmers. You’re the magician. Pull me back together again the way you cut me in half. Make the woman in doubt dissapear.”

 

As a fanatic of pop-culture, I like to be critical and before I glorify international stars as pioneers for certain ideas, which results to latching on to associating things with those outside of us, I spend a lot of time on You-tube, google, books, Twitter and in my memory, wondering if these things have been said before to us, by us and for us. Most of the time, the answer is yes. Gender bender? Brenda Fassie. #CoupleGoals? Letta Mbulu and Caiphus Semenya. Romance? Ringo. The list goes on and on and on, trust me.

 

Now, for the right way to ‘stay,’ I found Zeb Matabane and Agnes Matabane – Isidingo’s power couple, believe it or not.

You will remember that Isidingo hit our TV screens in 1998 as a Soapie set in a small mining town, Horizon Deep. I was only seven years old back then, and probably started watching it in 2002 and was instantly captivated. Zeb represented my father and Agnes, my mother.

Their 16 years journey as a couple with success, love, hardships, infidelity and a love child shifted the paradigm of what black love could look like for me, because Agnes did both what my mother did and did not do.

One, she stayed. My mother did that. Two, she started being empowered in every aspect of what that word means. My mother never lived long enough to do that. Nonetheless, I held them on a pedestal as a mirror of what could have been my parents had my mother still been alive. To say I loved their story-line is an understatement; feel free to use the comment section to call out any biasness I have here.

When they left Isidingo in 2014, they made headlines; Destiny Magazine wrote “over the past 16 years they’ve made us laugh and cry, but this month marks the end of the journey for Isidingo’s much-loved couple Zeb and Agnes Matabane.”

It’s true, theirs was an inspiring journey from rural Thaba ‘Nchu in the Free State to Horizon Deep. They were our kind of power couple because they started out with nothing – initially Zeb worked as a miner, while Agnes sold chicken feet.

With hard work they managed to rise against all odds until Agnes was able to buy shares and own a percentage of the local pub known as The Rec. She was now a business woman. But, sadly, this was also when we saw the effects of how much a woman being a go-getter chops off manhood of traditional patriarchy. Zeb’s poor little fragile masculinity suffered a lot. He was forced to rediscover himself as times were drastically changing; empowerment fixated on black women, benefiting his wife’s career more than his.

What was his role now? Who was he in relation to her? And, what could possibly be the way forward, especially when he injured himself and landed in a wheelchair, unable to be the bread winner?

That, “a relationship is where two people meet, detect and heal their past traumas,” as Jada Smith puts it, was true for this couple. Agnes had to still see her king in the Zeb who was no longer a provider, and Zeb had to see his queen in the Agnes who was doing what would be considered “a man’s job.”

Agnes wasn’t going to leave Zeb; he was the love of her life. But, she was also not going to drown trying to save him. She was not going to let him abuse her. She was going to lay down the law about the kind of marriage she wanted, and give him an ultimatum. And, being a woman from a different generation, she was patient; it was going to take her husband years to unlearn his ways, and it was going to take her years to unlearn the expected role she should play as a wife. So, within that harsh turbulence of transition, they still held on to each other.

I want to make it clear that I am saying that staying should be with a person who is willing to do whatever it takes to save the relationship, as was in this case, you cannot possibly work alone in it.

For me, this was and still is a vital message for black couples, particularly. When two people come together, we give each other everything we have been given. If your parents gave you violence and patriarchy, that’s exactly what you are going to give your partner; and a relationship is your mirror to see your shit unfold.

Abandonment. Black depression. Depression. Violence. Doormatry (I made this word up). [Insert more shit here]. 

I believe that if the love is still there, and there is no threat to any partner’s life, it can still be healed, just as Agnes and Zeb were constantly under construction, to become the best version of themselves individually and as a couple. In that, Agnes didn’t only empower married women to put their foot down, but also validated single women when she separated from Zeb and was still doing the damn thing!

I think the journey to being a ‘power couple’ (as Millennials valorize it) is not a smooth one, and it requires love for that person as broken as they are. It also doesn’t require you to fix them, but to fix yourself and trust them to do their own work.

Men and women who stay are not always stupid, the same way that women who leave are not always brave.

There are many ways to love yourself, and sometimes, we are not gonna leave; we are here to stay. We like it here. Together; we will alternate the needle and thread among each other to stitch our scars, until we’re both alright. No lumps in our throats, no melancholy, no songs about being left or leaving, and definitely no pain anymore.

Yep, we are all in conversation; whether it’s Zeb and Agnes, Jay and Bey or you and your lover, the truth remains, “we’re gonna heal,” and “if we’re gonna heal, let it be glorious.”

Hoe is life?

#I’m #glad #women #are #writing #themselves #out #of #social #constraints.

The awareness that something was wrong (academically) started when I read Susan Faludi’s ‘Blame it on Feminism.’ I related to her as an academic. But, in hindsight, as a woman, I didn’t fully relate.

White women’s grandeouse feminism (during her time) had a fixation on dismantling Barbie. I’ve never owned a Barbie doll, or any doll for that matter so I am indifferent to it.

And now that I really think about it, my relationship to white feminism can be likened to Rihanna vs Madonna (not that they have beef, but hear me out).

Yes, “remember how we used to slut-shame Madonna? That totally worked out. Nobody ever had sex ever again. UNTIL RIHANNA,” wrote Lindy West.

It’s true, Rihanna became extremely popular for being a bad girl, and whenever we wanted to be bad (mostly from being heartbroken, even though we wouldn’t admit it), we would sing along to; “Is it bad that I never made love, I never did it, but I sure know how to fuck?” Rihanna became the spokesperson of ‘hoe is life.’

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Although ‘being generous with her vagina’ and not giving a fuck is her street cred, in a 2015 interview by Toyin Owoseje, Riri revealed that she doesn’t do casual sex. In fact, she said being single means she does get horny, she is a woman, and continued; “but what am I going to do − just find the first random cute dude that I think is going to be a great ride for the night and then tomorrow I wake up feeling empty and hollow?”

Like most of us, she associated casual sex with having the effects that drive her [or most women, for that matter] to wake up feeling guilty. Guilty for what, you may ask. I don’t know, but we do feel guilty, especially when we don’t get a call from that wo/man the next day. Isn’t it interesting that the baddest bitch in the game couldn’t have casual sex?

I wasn’t at all surprised because I had always seen a mushy-mushy sentimental girl behind the bad-girl image. My suspicions were confirmed when she took Chris Brown back after he almost killed her – girls who don’t give a shit don’t do such.

And, whether socially conditioned or by natural inclination, girls don’t want to be called sluts. Especially by men they really love.

Girls don’t want to be known (sexually) by multiple wo/men. Girls want to be ‘special’ and exclusive, somewhat pure and for girls, being in charge of our sexuality means saying NO, since we are always sexually sought after and forever hear “your body is your temple.”

So, for me, by the time the #HoeIsLife sensation came about, I had already had my fair share of trying to be with multiple men and calling it freedom. Whereas, there was always one man I was madly in love with paying me no attention, the rest of them were tools to deliver me from the temptation of calling him. He didn’t want me.

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Don’t get me wrong. I am not intertwining sex with multiple wo/men with heartbreak only, but I am saying that if I am really honest to the core, there was no freedom there for me. Because like most women, I could never really get to the bottomless hole of my sexual fantasies with casuals, nor could I explore and be spontaneous, fully. Let me even go as far as saying that sometimes, I tailored myself as a no-strings-attached girl after realizing that the dude wanted nothing serious. I wanted to feel like it was my decision.

Moreover, there was no freedom because it was important for me that the man I really loved didn’t know I was sleeping with others. I had to be pure for/to him. And, if he ‘saw’ me and made me his girlfriend, I was going to leave everything I was doing, regardless of the fact that he had been banging hoes left right and center. I knew it. I had caught him doing it. But, I still would give up my hoe life in a heart beat for him. Not only that, but even when I briefly dated a married man, I wanted him to see me as a loyal (sexually and otherwise) chick.

Call me stupid, but this is a default for many women. I am friends with very strong women, but being entered and exited with no emotions still hurts them like they are little girls.

Over the years, I learned that there is nothing wrong with that, as much as there is nothing wrong with women wanting to be hoes. I learned that my power and freedom as a woman doesn’t come from fucking this one and that one, but from fucking where I love and am loved; it comes from exploring sex with that one person, and allowing myself to be vulnerable to the fact that I might get fucked over with this loyalty BS, but that it’s okay.

I remember the full circle moment when I went on my healing journey, because the no-strings-attached obsession came from home, where we were taught to block out emotions. So, I was already a pro when I was in my twenties. To this day, men (except for my boyfriend) go on about how cold and unbothered I am.

All I know is that I couldn’t do it anymore. Life is holistic; your bedroom affects your boardroom, insurmountably. I need healthy relationships.

Sex buddies started having an after-taste of my father; absent and present at the same time. Not wanting full responsibility and accountability. It’s possible that I sought them because we look for our fathers, everywhere.

I wanted to feel what it’s really like to have someone hold on to me and not let me go when shit hits the fan. I was done with letting men curate how far I can go in attaching myself to them.

If your penis touches my clit, your balls sweat in my mouth and I am subjected to your come face, then I want to have the option to ask you to stay. And, you have to reciprocate.

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Nope, hoe isn’t life for me, not because I will NEVER be one, but because I don’t want to do it like this. I don’t owe social media and any ‘ism a ratchet sexuality, nor do I owe any man an angelic sexual demeanor.

To the women who are self-proclaimed hoes, in the hashtag and maybe reality of it, I am not invalidating your intelligence at all. I hope it’s about you, and that you find the maximum freedom in it, unlike me. I failed, dismally.

To those who are like me, who feel hollow and empty after casual sex, don’t allow yourself to die in the name of hashtags and likes. Dance to your own rhythm and choose a life that supports your sanity, darling. Did you know that healing is life?

ZAHARA: Can she be #BlackGirlMagic?

A while ago, I had an interesting chat with a friend during Solange’s “A seat at the table” frenzy.

Our conversation wasn’t so much about Solange, but we used her as a case study. If you love artists like Solange and Erykah Badu, you will understand how much #hoteps associate with these artists, as opposed to, for instance, pop sensations like Beyonce and Niki Minaj.

These are the same #hoteps who slam fake hair, but are okay with Solange and Erykah Badu having it, because the two artists are alternative. These are the same #hoteps against Beyonce’s cultural appropriation stunts, but are okay when Solange does it. Those #hoteps. The ones who only celebrate alternative black.

Idiosyncratic blackness and its hypocrisy sometimes bores me to death. In the past, the best version of black was always through a white person’s gaze. Since there is a revolution that currently dislocates the black reality from that aloof gaze, blackness is appropriated by black people whose accents, realities and educational backgrounds come from whiteness. Whitewashed black folks who cage decolonization in colonial gates. Black folks who wanted to be white, who realized that they will always be black and then ran back to us to be gatekeepers of our realities.

Those of us who were always black had to now abort our causes because they changed the black narrative to be about how horrible their lives were in white circles. But, when push came to shove, they would always used their English and privilege to be miles ahead of us.

Disclaimer: I don’t care how much you want to convince me what a tough life you had at Collegiate Girls’ High, it can’t be anything like urine and pads all over toilet floors, and gangsters visiting the school every Friday.

Therefore, this privileged black narrative is the reason I believe South African afro-pop sensation, ZAHARA, is not trending as #BlackGirlMagic after breaking records album after album. Huffington Post reported ZAHARA’s latest album, Umgodi “…certified gold in just six hours and went platinum in under 24 hours of release.” #BlackGirlMagic much? Not only that, after ZAHARA suffered backlash about being a broke artist, she now owns a record label called MLH Records. No? Not #BlackGirlMagic still?

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Don’t get me wrong, I am not disputing the importance of the movement and hashtag, but am arguing for its expansion. I understand that I am as responsible for that as everyone else out there. We seriously need to rescue feminism and #BlackGirlMagic from the hands of (only) privileged black women who get the most time on microphones, and their celebration by privileged black men. They need to be more pervasive.

The politics of privileged black folks can be extremely dodgy. I remember dissecting the problem with one black guy’s type of woman because he refused to admit that he likes white. He is one of those who hate #OPW and Papa Penny in how they (mis)represents blackness.  Okay, I get that. He also likes mixed-race women – uh, okay.

When I probed deeper into him, he argued that he does like black women, just not the ones who wear weaves, flash materialistically and like Gqom music. He likes black girls who are weird, as in alternative, as in with Tatoos, weird piercings, with natural hair or braids. I asked him “how many black girls ekasi look like that?” because it was clear to me that he is the ‘alternative’ group of black men who can date natural-looking black women who can’t utter a word in their mother-tongue, but will not date a woman who mostly speaks SeSotho and has a weave. “Weave girls and religious girls are colonized,” and I assumed those who don’t speak their languages are not. Mind you, the guy also cannot speak his language.

I reminded the brother that most black girls in South Africa are going to celebrate their cars and houses whether in a narcissistic or inspirational way. Those are achievements to us.

It was clear that an ‘alternative’ black girl to him is a girl who carries black aesthetics, not blackness itself. Basically, he likes black girls who grew up in the white world. I knew that although Zahara carries the aesthetics he claims to like in black girls, she would not be his type of #BlackGirlMagic. Unobu lokishi mos uZahara. Typical black girl.

I have no issues with alternative black people and embrace what Inda Lauryn says in an article claiming that “there are many reasons [she] finally realized Black girls could, indeed, be alternative and were in fact catalysts behind many alternative trends and movements. One of them was that [she] realized a lot of the indicators for alternative lifestyles were taken from Black cultures and the cultures of other people of color: tattoos, piercings, scarification, and other forms of body modification, as well as alternative fashion and music almost always originate from Black and Brown people.”

However, having gone to public schools, I thoroughly remember how students from white schools assumed an “importance” and “more clever” status as their parents celebrated what an achievement it was that their children were now studying with whites. They did not even want to date kids from black schools and the inferior/superior relationship between us and them was distinct.

Fast-forward to a few years after High School, the hair revolt at Pretoria Girls’ High happened and although it was pivotal, I could not relate to it in first-hand experience because I never encountered such in black schools. Mine was the “no chairs, textbooks and resources” reality, and whenever it made headlines, it was always a joke and confirmation of how far behind we were to white schooled black children.

For those of us who come from the other side of the margins, Zahara’s story gives us life, the same way that Papa Penny gives some black people life. He is their version of black consciousness the same way Zahara is our version of #BlackGirlMagic. Not many women from Emdantsane have dared to be this brave! We are inspired. We recognize her. We see her. We honor her!

Unathi Msengana: Love in the age of Social Media

Recently,  Unathi Msengana confirmed that she and husband, Thomas Msengana, are no longer together in an interview on E-NCA with Ayanda Allie-Paine.

It was no surprise to many, as speculations were making all the buzz for some time about her “marriage [being] on the rocks,” according to Daily Sun in an article claiming “Unathi and her husband Thomas ‘Bad Boy T’ Msengana are rumoured to be heading for divorce. One of the reasons for the alleged trouble in paradise is Unathi allegedly cheating on her husband.”

That said, Unathi was calm and graceful about what she confirmed in the interview. It is thus, the basis of what she said that led me to write this piece.

Among other things, Unathi spoke about the newspaper speculative reports, which she called false saying “I think we get to a point where we feel like we have to share our private lives.” Speaking about her marriage in relation to navigating being public figures, she said; “We are people who have never used our family for a PR campaign.”

Ayanda asked Unathi if she thought the “it couple” sensation and exaggerated interest on her marriage was due to her and husband’s public figure status, to which she replied, “We’ve never been that kind of couple though.” Their back and forth made me nostalgic of my time in University studying Media Studies, and in one class, delving into “The dumbing down of journalism: Tabloids.” Now, with the addition of social media, I don’t even know how low the dumbing has gone because these days, newspapers aren’t embarrassed to screen-grab tweets, caption them and call that an article.

Needless to say, as soon as the channel posted the interview on the internet, #unathidivorce started trending like Easter Eggs on Easter.

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You will remember that Unathi has had her bout in a Twitter boxing ring. The debacle with a Twitter follower in 2015 ultimately threatened her bread and butter as Metro FM suspended her. What followed was a public apology from the passionate Radio DJ and musician, and whatever was between the lines of her apology was clear anger, disappointment and ‘joys’ of having to be the bigger person.

Now, in 2017, there are obviously different arguments about her divorce; the first being those who have turned it into a joke. One went as far as saying “Badboy T gave unathi a shot in radio now she’s bigger than him she’s leaving him. These whores ain’t loyal udlwe umjita  Others who also shared negative comments about it were “LOLing” and “LMAOing” about how her tears on idols were because of the divorce. I can’t help but ask myself; when did divorce become a joke? When did those who have or are divorced parents forget its effects? And, why are we so hell-bent on laughing at Unathi even though she, with the utmost class, shared information we didn’t even deserve?

The other side of the spectrum is the one that is sensationally throwing the towel on love, alluding to the fact that Zwai and Melanie Bala are also divorcing, as well as Precious Kofi and her husband. In these sentiments, I find a very dangerous association of love only with a partner, which is not true because divorce can also be an act of self-love as well as love for the other person, enough to let them go to where they will be happiest. I also believe love is unattainable when paralleled only with who we think is an “it couple.” We are obviously duped in the #loveliveshere phenomenon of instant gratification, that we seek examples of what love should look like, as opposed to what love should feel like. Some couples do invite the pedestal (which comes with public opinion), and some couples don’t. But, what I am saying is whether it is AKA and Bonang or just plain irrelevant me with my boyfriend, relationships have the same fundamental dynamics and all go through rough patches – moments never captured on Instagram; so, focus on your relationship; let people divorce, damn!

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Latly, the Tweets I personally loved were the ones which seemed concerned about how Unathi was holding up. I think that’s all that matters. How is she and how is her heart… Ultimately, Unathi has a wholesome album, a banging body after two children (already an inspiration to moms wanting to get back on shape) and other things. I don’t know her personally but from her work, she continues to embody an African woman who is not afraid of her truth; who stands in and with it. Of course, we will not agree with all of her views because we all come from different walks of life and think differently. Like dust, she continues to rise. I hope we learn to cut each other some slack some day, soon.