blogger’s note: I know (many) stories of super/s/heroes that are changing tings on the ground in their communities….

The Q werd is starting with the ones that we’re familiar with, because if we don’t cherish en honour our own, then who will (do it better)?

Until we listen to the lionesses, the tales of hunting will be weak,

These are some of the (many) stars of the Q werd. The people are real. Na hadithi ni kweli pia….leo ni ya Millicent Gaika, Anelisa Mfo na Ndumie Funda of LulekiSizwe LBT

check out http://www.lulekisizwe.com 

 

A lesbian was allegedly beaten and raped repeatedly for five hours by a man who told her he wanted to “turn her into a woman”.

With both eyes swollen and bruised, stitches above her left eye and open wounds on her neck, Millicent Gaika, 30, of Gugulethu, haltingly told how a man she had known for years attacked and raped her repeatedly on Friday night. Her voice was husky from screaming.

Gaika alleged her attacker “acted like an animal who wanted to kill”.

He has been arrested and will appear in the Philippi Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

On Friday just after 10pm Gaika and her friends were walking home after spending the evening at a friend’s house in NY1. As they approached their home, a man, one of many tenants on the site, apparently asked Gaika for a cigarette.

She stayed to smoke with him while her friends walked on. A few minutes later, the man refused to pass the cigarette to Gaika and walked into his room.

When she followed him he allegedly locked the door. “He started hitting me and I fought back. Then he started doing what he did to me. He pulled off my clothes and pushed me down on the bed. He did it more than once. He was holding me down, strangling me and pushing his hands hard on to my neck.

“I thought he was going to kill me; he was like an animal. And he kept saying: ‘I know you are a lesbian. You are not a man, you think you are, but I am going to show you, you are a woman. I am going to make you pregnant. I am going to kill you.'”

Gaika said the man had never openly objected to her sexuality before. “He was very nice to me – I’d known him for years. I hate him now. I am just angry. I was swearing at him while he was doing this to me. I just wished I could die. I hate what he has done, he makes me sick.”

About 4am, after five hours of Gaika being raped, a neighbour knocked on the man’s door and demanded to know who was in the room with him.

A friend of Gaika’s who asked not to be named said: “The neighbour heard something and he insisted that the man open the door. Then he broke the window and the two men started fighting. Other neighbours came and eventually broke down the door and saw what was happening. The rapist wanted to run away, but we kept him there until the police came. Millicent was on the bed. She was only wearing her sweater and it was full of blood.”

The attack was not the first one. After she was raped by four men in 2002, Gaika told herself that it would never happen again and got her life back on track.

 Gaika said the four men had been convicted and were sentenced to between 10 and 15 years. “But after a few years, they got out and that was too little time… I saw them walking around here in Gugulethu again. I was angry but I got through it and I wasn’t scared. But this time it was worse, much worse. Now I am scared, I don’t trust men. I don’t know if I am ever going to be okay after this because I thought I was going to die.”

Ndumi Funda, the founder and director of Lulekisiswe Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Women’s Project in Nyanga, was at Gaika’s house (yesterday) and said she was “deeply hurt and traumatised” by the news.

“This needs to be stopped. We know of so many that this happens to and nothing is done about it. How many more young lesbian women must die?”

The project was formed more than two years ago and has various awareness programmes. It also has a centre to help women like Gaika.

It was started after Funda’s fiancee and other lesbians they knew died of Aids-related illnesses; they had contracted HIV in homophobic attacks.

Last month, Weekend Argus reported that the rape and murder of gays and lesbians had taken on “crisis proportions” and was not restricted to townships.

According to a report by international group ActionAid, there were reports of 10 new cases of lesbians being raped every week in Cape Town alone.

Gugulethu police spokesman Captain Elliot Sinyangana confirmed the incident and said a 40-year-old man had been arrested.

He will remain in custody until his court appearance.

Written by melanie Nathan in San Francisco

http://lezgetreal.com/?p=31434

 

blogger’s note: corrective rape, out here in the West, is usually associated with South Africa, and conjures talk on the discrimination & fear that African lesbians face in their lives, couched in human rights frameworks en (not-so) critical analysis …..there are very few I’ve talked with who’ve  associated the term with say, Pride Toronto, but I think what they’re doing to queers of Afrikan descent is, depending on one’s subjective perspective ofcourse, is worse.

bredrin (one of the warriors who’s featured in the Q werd) posted on facebook recently….. Pride Toronto doesn’t give a fuck about black people. And I say, amen! to that. 

See when (the devil in) the man was ‘allegedly’ assaulting Millicent Gaika, he ripped her apart like he said he wanted to, he told her exactly what he thought, that he wanted to turn her into a woman, that she was a slut, he fucking RAPED her, en it’s ‘signified’ as corrective. At least we know him for the devil that he is….and we can agree, without a doubt, that shit ain’t kosher.

Now Pride Toronto, that’s a much more sinister story, a case of  devils we know masque(e)rading as leaders of the community, hardly even bothering with camouflage, a corporate-ized story of class divides and white supremacist ideologies  that are couched in token nominations [read: as necessary as Victor Mukasa’s nomination last year was its rendered superfluous by all the ways that the Committee HASN’T  come through for the queer/trans Afrikan communities in Tdot…….like, look at the ongoing dispute over Blockorama, and we’ll definitely be talking back about  OUR experiences at Pride last year]

The truth is, most of the organising for queer/trans rights in Afrika is being done by people of Afrikan descent, and there are still many gaps to be filled, and conscious allies to be recruited.

For many in the movement on the continent, the issues are simpler and  more direct, than the fragmented post-modern queer theorising dykes en fags who will systematically get paid way more (en creatively) to sustain their professional queer-ism.

For many of us on the continent,  it’s a matter of being able to survive while doing this work, as in concretely (as necessary as it is for more afrikans to take up space in discourse on gender & sexuality), no lengthy dissertations on the wear en tear on the soul or preferred acronyms in our rainbow soup of identities.  We need food to eat, money to travel from Point A to C (en back again), safe spaces, allies who are willing to do hard work themselves, we need to be decriminalised and protected by the State, and our issues need to be framed in our own words.  And as necessary as all the talk is, to make it plain, we need more than empathy, encouragement, tolerance or worse yet, charity & sympathy.

And we are not JUST advocating for queer/trans rights, many (more) of us are struggling for the liberation of ALL Afrikan peoples, and it’s been critically analysed to heaven and back….we need to work on our OWN  unity first. Fafanua.

Drawing attention to oneself is an act of courage and one that cannot be emphasized enough, especially if the victim is one whose rape is termed   “corrective rape” where the odds are, that the victim could be re-victimized again and again.  Years ago, Lesbians would never have come forward to tell their stories, but now with the unrelenting support and loving assistance from an extraordinary human being, Ndumie Funda, a lesbian woman living in a South African Township, near Cape Town, women and lesbians are telling their stories, willing to be named, photographed and to stand up on our pages to say:- “This is what happened to me!”

In 2007, Anelisa Mfo then a 23 year old lesbian mother from Emkonto, an informal settlement in South Africa, was walking in along a street in Nyanga when she was attacked by a man who pointed a gun at her yelling “slut ,bitch” –while he brutally raped her with a gun to her head.  Anelisa is agreeable to her name being published and story being told. There are many heroes in this story…

Anelisa together with two friends courageously identified and pursued charges and the perpetrator was caught and sent to prison for ten years.  After her HIV test proved negative in a country where HIV/AIDS is epidemic, Anelisa felt much relief even though still suffering from the cruelty of the crime.   While Anelisa was dealing with this trauma she had no idea that her five year old daughter was also raped in the Eastern Cape, by her sister’s boyfriend.

At the time Anelisa had no shelter, no employment, no money, no job, was disowned by her family because of her sexuality and a child who suffered so unimaginably.

In September, 2008, on the anniversary of her attack, Anelisa tried to kill herself. She poured paraffin over her entire whole body and set herself alight.

When LulekiSizwe LBT, Womyns Project, which had recently formed to help lesbian victims of rape, heard about her story the small unfunded group ran to the hospital in JOOSTER, where Anelisa lay clinging to life in an ICU, with no friends and no family to help.

“Because we don’t have resources yet we went to Triangle Project , they help us with counseling for Anelisa and her daughter pay for transport for Ndumie and Anelisa to travel to hospital and food parcel,” Ndumie Funda, founding Director of LulekiSizwe, informed Lezgetreal.  “We then approached IAM for a shelter and they were also a good help. Now the tough part comes who can look after her? There was no one, but I have looked her since that day,” said Ndumie the director of LulekiSizwe LBT volunteered herself to look after Anelisa.    “Like a nurse doing everything for her, feeding, cooking, washing Anelisa and her laundry- not to forget the good team of us that we have at LulekiSizwe LBT every day to relieve me.”

We received donations from the straight community at the time and so we could hire a nurse who was also helping with the dressings.

“Now,” says Ndumie, “Through prayers and care, Anelisa has recovered from her burns and has her daughter with her. We are currently trying to get some funding to get Anelisa and her daughter a home.”

Anelisa is breathing through a pipe – she cannot use her nose anymore – this is the very sad story of ANELISA.

Donations for LulekeSizwe to –

c/o Melanie Nathan
nathan@privatecourts.com
Private Courts, Inc
P.O. Box  1108
Woodacre, CA 94973

to be continued……kesho, on resistance from the margins

Wathint abafazi!
Wathint` imbokodo uzo kufa!

Now you have touched the women!
You have struck a rock
 

(You have dislodged a boulder!)
You will be crushed!

The Federation of South African Women (1955)

 sistas in solidarity (SIS) is a working concept that grew out of Thursday’s  roundtable discussion on building solidarity within queer/trans afrikan communities.  (this is a living document). 

It is an intuitive and logical consequence to the big dreams we have for the liberation of ALL Afrikan peoples. It is our contribution to the struggle for Afrikan liberation. We are critically analysing our gaps and internal contradictions.

We are addresssing the intersections of our diversity, sharing resources, and building radical, sustaining and  sustainable coalitions.

It’s significant to note that there were only 3 (bio) brothas in the brainstorming session. And only one was over the age of 4. That would be Chris Harris from BADC. another comrade in the struggle for afrikan liberation, ase. and ase, to all the wo/mynthat came together to build solidarity.

We warn you! we have (not)  only just begun, en these issues are OUR stories…..

 For the next few weeks, we will be (mostly) sistas in solidarity, mobilising resources en working together to do more to support queer/trans activism on the continent. we’re working on our own unity first.

It’s official we’re recruiting. write an op-ed. bring it up wherever en whenever. Do something (more).

We will be talking with you on community radio.Verlia stephens is officially back on air this week en she’ll be telling you more about the bill and proposed actions in her next  show  on “Liming with Verlia in de African Diaspora”.

We will be circulating petitions and requesting folks to sit on advisory commitees.

 

We will support the implementation of 4 programs, to start….

AO101  workshops,

a womyn’s circle for healing en self recovery,

queer/trans youth arts collective &

queer/trans youth exchange program (Jun-Aug 2010), to be launched in East Afrika,

en spearheaded by The People Project with the collaboration of various Kenyan & Ugandan groups.

(much, much more will be shared in detail on the listserv)

 

We’re asking for donations of many kinds. 

we will be sending you our wish lists for the GALCK  resource centre

(and) we’ll be checking them twice. 😉    

so check this space (soon).

 

to give you an idea. we’re looking for donations like books, videos & educational brochures for our library.

Binders, condoms, dams, lube, computers, cameras, printers, scanners, sound recorders, paper, STP’s, blank tapes, a boom & mic, hormones, technical support, volunteers, & MONEY.

 

we’re going to ship a container back to Kenya, with (some) necessary resources, for these groups in East Afrika.

MWA, TEA, IshtarMSM, Gay Kenya, AfraKenya, SMUG, FARug &  TITs

 

there are many possibilities to the ways you could support.

(be as creative en as revolushunary as you can, en get back to us with your ideas and suggestions)

 

We’re recruiting performers for our UNDERGROUND &  BIG LOVE  parties.

we promise a round up of the biggest celebrity talent (from the margins)

we got an after party, and our favourite DJ’s cherry picked alot.

 

yes. we have our wishlist. we want folks like  Ryan Hinds, Dainty Smith, D’bi Young.AnitAfrika, Amai Kuda,Troy Jackson, Laura Aidanblase,  Stacey Ann Chin, Imani Henry, Hanifah Walidah, Milo de Milo, Suzy Yim, Brescia Birdthroat Bloodbeard, LAL, zaki ibrahim, deb kirk pearce, ryli skelton, tenacious bryan, marie jolie, njeri damali campbell, truthIS …..the list is long.

we want U people

(to)

 

Book these dates. Nov 21st & Dec 18th.

we’ll be throwing you some (not-so) “UNDER-GROUND”  parties.

 

For now, we’ll spill jus’ a few juicy secrets. 

On Nov 21st,there will be spoken word/dub poetry, song en dance, en an after party.

There will be be many beautiful  QPOC en a silent auction.

It’ll be the kinda win-win situation we all looking for. come out, en raise money, for a revolushunary cause.

 

AND we’re looking for sponsors for raffle prizes for December’s   BIG LOVE  party……

the idea is that we get it all from the community, but we’re ready to exploit small en big businesses for our purposes. 

all a dis, en more,  is by, for, en from the community.

we are (the )  GRASSROOTS.

we are the power of (u) people.

 

We”re looking for other parties to donate part of their proceedings in events over the next 3 months.

would the (not so) usual suspects please stand up?

 Give us your ideas of who else we can get to donate part of their party funds to our cause.

 

Watch the streets and  join our group on FACE BOOK  for more details.

we need your support to realise our dreams.

Because we’re setting lofty goals, and THIS IS  the revolution.

Thinking global and starting local.

 

Join us!

  We are doing this not only because we can, but because it is necessary.

 We stand in resistance to all forms of imperialism.

and, to start, we petition the Prime Minister to release an official declaration condemning Bill 18! 

 

We will launch a queer/trans/pan/Afrikan activists listserv, hosted by Fahamu, that will serve as a forum to connect  Q/tPOC  and, activists of Afrikan descent from the continent en in the diaspora(s).

The official launch for the listserv will be, online, on Friday October 23rd.

And, we’re recruiting people for the cause.

 

Izwe lethu! I Afrika!

 

sis

[you tube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BpXhaDXp-c]

 

s.I.s(ta)

So, last Sunday, jus a few days ago,I chose to go out and watch some films being screened at the AGO by the first Canadian Black Film Festival. As I said in an earlier post, I was late, and missed most of the first screening, which was apparently the best, it was also the only one mainly featuring continental afrikan perspectives. So it was ironic how this Afrikan daughta missed Africa’s daughters, a doc about 2 Ugandan girls and their journey to fulfill their big dream(s),

I did get to watch 2 full features and 2 short videos….all shot from different, yet intricately, connected black/afrikan perspectives. I got drawn to and identified intimately with one feature….the one about da kink in my hair and trey anthony’s journey with her co-actors and dynamic sistas over the past 7 years. It was the only feature that gave me hope for my future….where I got to see womyn reclaiming their power and re/learning how to bond, grow, share, and work together.

The first full length feature had to do with a bunch of sistas, but I had to restrain myself from leaving the theatre (en at one point early in the screening, couldn’t take it and went outside for a cigarette, in protest of what I felt to be brain washing/misleading subject matter)……..this film was also supposed to be about black women looking for and finding love….but these sistas apparently couldn’t get what they wanted, and all of them were trying to find their fulfillment in the Lord. ……this flick probably had the most deceiving title of all documentaries I have ever seen….though to be fair to the directors, they placed a blatant sign about it’s imposed ideologies in the title….right there with the sword…but still I protested.

This is not what I thought I was going to watch. …..but, in all fairness, I hadn’t read the program, my pal T. read edited descriptions of the films that we were going to see, or I didn’t pay attention to what s/he was saying….either way, I didn’t realise this was going to be a film about black Christian singles, woulda asked for my money back, but I got more than my money’s worth with Trey Anthony…so I guess maybe the festival coulda worked for many groups within our community….there was supposed to be something for everyone….maybe next year I’ll submit one of my own documentaries…maybe I’ll give a revamped production of the q werd….instead of juxtasposing it in relation to the L word….I could place it in conversation with soulmates instead.

Instead of bette, we could put another version of (real/live) Vanessa, director of Petra Alexandra Inc. – the sista who was a lesbian B.C……and then married a brotha (who turns out to be) on the down low, and finds her solace in god and the Christian holy bible….I know at least 26 other sistas who would give another version of reconciling their sexuality and spirituality, starting with trey.

Ultimately, I wouldn’t have asked for my money back…I was grateful for watching soulmates. It provoked me, inspired me to continue writing my own stories, filling the margins with my own images of love and natural/mystic beauty.

And really, if I am to be genuinely anti-oppressive, then I have to concede that religion is a personal belief, and as destructive and harmful Christianity has been to our own indigenous afrikan cultures…..if we were on a level playing field, we should be able to follow our own god/desse/s…..Jehovah, Jah, Ra, Allah(t), Yemoja, Asiis, Ngai, Were, Maat, Mami Wota, Idemile, Quetzacoatl or Sin…we should be able to give each other space to fill in the gaps with the symbols we feel are for us…

but….. It’s not a level playing field…and too many afrikans are holding on to Christianity, as if it’s the last bastion of our tradition, when there’s nothing these that reflects our memories, xcept it’s roots…and that’s the only part of that religion I’m interested in…it’s antecedents….because unlike Islam, it’s not a simple reversal, not a blanket revision, but a composite of contesting and evolving religions…a historical site full of collected documents and revised dates…the truth is in the palimpsest. In the remnants of great goddess…in the songs of Solomon, genesis & the book of ruth…it is in the new (testament) and the old….it is the dregs of herstory….the ancient concept of the trinity, and the holy spirit….it is (the virgin) maria.

If I am to be truthful, I’ve only come to appreciate the space for reflection that the film Soulmates provided, now that I’m a few days away from it’s watching. I felt dis/avowed in that film. I felt like Vanessa let me down, she was the only sista who came out about having any sort of sexual desire for other womyn….we’re supposed to assume that all the others are straight…mostly because most of them talk about their desire to get married to a man, about their hurts over black men rejecting them, about dating men ‘outside’ of their own race…..and not to mention, the statistics…they made it clear where I was..non/existent (not with god) invisible… the only thing ‘queer’ was the ‘alarming’ number of men who slept with other brothers on the down low, while also sleeping with women….this statistic was profiled right before the one about AIDS…..right before the comment about AIDS being a black disease….what could have the potential to be a radical subversion of stereotypes about gay men was instead a trumpet call of homophobic justifications for the reasons gay/lesbian=bad for our community.

I found it convenient for the film’s message that the only sista who talked about an experience with a brother on the down low, was also the only one who came out as having had same sex desire…although technically, she didn’t talk about her desire….only that she took on a lesbian identity, BEFORE CHRIST, that was then, and we are supposed to (want to) believe that now that she’s with the Lord, that is her past……ofcourse she would be a good judge if any to talk about the horrors of queer/nes…..the brothas was so smooth, he said all the right things, he proposed marriage in 2 months, and on their wedding night, well he didn’t even wanna see her body…….this was probably the most hilarious part of the film for me. Hilarious because I found relief in the fact that at least one person in the film talked about her lived experiences with queerness, acknowledged that it existed in her life and in her community…

But the power of particularity is such that my reading of the film is entirely my own……I don’t think the director intended to highlight Vanessa’s story (the one who was a lesbian BC) as a point of identification for black queers. But I got to take what I can, and if knowledge is objective, then there’s alot to be learned from the material…in the silence, in the fantasies of the womyn interviewed, in their achievements, in their loss, through the journey of their hopes and dreams.

What I chose to do was sit with it, I chose to concentrate on something else, an come Monday morning, after writing my critical summary of the duties of the body towards the sexual impulse (a critical chapter in one of Emmanuel kant’s books), I was much more thankful of the previous depiction of Christianity I had taken in. At least that one tried to show the particular experiences of new afrikans trying to make themselves whole and share love. At least, I made a choice to stay and watch the film…with Kant, I had no choice, this was the required reading for the essay due by me evening class. So I read it, and wrote a critical summary, in protest of his white/patriarchal/western ideologies….

I decided to write this critical review of Sunday, after having to listen to more about what our Christian forefathers devised as moral conducts for society….after reading Kant, I had to go through Aquinas, one of most influential catholic thinkers…..fucked up and repressed..if you want just 2 words….but this ain’y my school papers, so I can write about who I please…

And I’d much rather share what I enjoyed, like watching the journey of trey en her sista crew in da kink in my hair. At least that screening had people I know, womyn that had taught me and changed me for the betta…like d’bi young.anitak afrika. Loving warrior. Sistas that I considered role models, like trey Anthony…..that gave me hope in my future….that reminded me to share my words and make space for myself despite all limitations and obstacles…..

These were the womyn I identified with, that I kept in my treasure chest of the magic of possibilities. But you gotta see the documentary yourself, watch the TV series even, if you’re in Toronto, go to their productions….secrets of a black boy is currently running, and go to the anitafrika! Dub theatre @ 62 fraser avenue…..

this revolushun is live, it’s on the streets and in our homes.

it’s in this matrix and in the villages….

spread the word, it’s all afrikan people’s movements for liberation.

it is me. it is (in) my words.

it is you reading this. it is your response.

it is NOT silent.