I stopped looking at myself in the mirror. I left social media because it gave my demons a playground, it gave me anxiety, it reminded me of the complete imbalance in life, scrolling through an Instagram post of a Camps Bay mansion right after one of flooded shacks in Diepsloot.
I stopped listening to Makhafula Vilakazi’s poems. I got tired, I got tired of him always reminding me of how oppressed I am. When I was younger I used to admire him, I got older and got tired of hearing him reverberate how ugly a black person’s life is in the township. I got exhausted watching him always seated on one side of the canvas and refusing to change his angle.
The idea of ukuphuma elokishini does not begin to assist us in finding alternative ways of seeing, being and thinking about the township. It actually traps us into an endless pursuit of something that’s unattainable.
I am well aware of the echoing cries of hunger that continue to resound the narrow streets of Gomora. But I’ve decided to strive to reimagine ways of portraying and inhabiting the township.
I’ve decided to try find the rainbow ekasi. To see the beautiful things, to watch the happy family of three sitting outside a fish and chip outlet. To watch 30 church gogos walking 2 km to the house of a deceased to pray. To admire the graduate sitting at the big chair under the stretch-tent in his/her graduation gown while the mother cries in disbelief.
I got tired of complaining about people who look like me being exploited so I decided to put more energy into my businesses.
WALK FRESH x LIVE FRESH x LOOK FRESH.
I’m sorry to the kids for leaving you hanging. I know we don’t have enough township role models online, but I’m unravelling, I’m learning to embrace my vulnerability and emotions, I’m still learning to navigate this place that dictates I become a douche bag in order to survive as a businessman in the hood. The media that fails to engage me as an intellectual and only seeks to speak to the ‘from nothing to something’ narrative.
I’m still alive though and trying to find the rainbows. I hope one day you will too.
By Lethabo Mokoena