hadithi ya  [remixed excerpts from sassafrass,cypress and indigo by Ntozake Shange]

…& she layed up nights readin’ herstories of ancient civilizations that were closer to her than all that stuff abt England & the wars of the roses. She wrote songs of love & vindication for all the afrikan & indian deities disgraced by the comin of the white man/& loss of land/& cities reflectin’ respect for livin’ things.

“ i yam sassafrass/my fingers behold you i call upon you with my song you teach me in my sleep…”

Cypress opened up a large stained-glass box and pulled out four finely embroidered pieces of cloth.

“Hey, Miz Weaver…Sassafrass.  These are my inheritances for some children I don’t have yet.”

Sassafrass looked over, and saw blocks of minute figures and arrows and circles in different colours. Cypress became terribly excited while she explained that each of the cloths was a complete notation of a dance developed from her own experiences in de Kushites Returned. Sassafrass checked that de stitches were even en de designs exceedingly intricate.

“Cypress, if de white folks knew you were doin’ dis, they’d steal all of it and put it in a museum!”

Cypress was wallowing in Sassafrass’ appreciative statement when she recalled what their mama had said: “whatever ideas you have that’re important to you, write down…but write them so your enemies can’t understand them right off.”

Feeling triumphant, Sassafrass en Cypress did the time step down Fulton Street.

At de bus stop, de two sistas enjoyed one mo childhood pastime: singing rhythm & blues; first, Tina Turner’s “I’m Just a Fool, You Know I’m in Love” and then de Marvelettes: “I saida look, look, heah comes the postman, twistin’ down de avenue…he’s gotta lettah in his hand, an’ I know it’s gotta be from you-who ooooooo” And Cypress announced plans for a whoop-la get-down after the show at her house, with lots of good wine and good, good food. Like maybe……..

Three C’s: Cypress’ Curried Crabmeat

2 tbls vegetable oil                                                                           pinch of cinnamon

1 onion, chopped                                                                             pinch of ground cloves

1 fresh green chilli pepper (seeds removed)                          pinch ground cardamom

½ tsp grated ginger                                                                         2tbls chopped parsley

¼ tsp turmeric                                                                                   2tbls lemon juice

Heat vegetable oil and fry onion until soft. Add chilli pepper and ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom, and fry for 3 minutes, sprinkling with wota to avoid burning. Add crabmeat and salt to taste. Stir and cook for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice and chopped parsley. (serves 4)


My Mama & Her Mama ‘Fore Her: Codfish cakes (Accra)

4 ounces salt fish (cod)                                                                  1 small onion, chopped

2 cups flour                                                                                         ¼ tsp black pepper

1tsp dried yeast                                                                                1 ½ cups warm wota

2 blades chives, chopped                                                              1 tsp suga


Put yeast en suga in bowl with ½ cup wota, en set aside. Soak fish for ½ hr, remove skin en  bone. Pound fish, chives, onion, en pepper until very fine. Sift flour with yeast mixture and add rest of wota; stir until a soft batter is formed. Let stand in a warm place. Add fish mixture en beat for 2-3 minutes. Spoon fish into smoking oil. Drain, and serve with hot floats.


De Floats Be-fore de Fish

1 pound flour                                                                     1 tsp dried yeast

4 ounces shortening                                                       1 tsp suga

 1 ½ tsp salt                                                                         warm wota

Mix yeast, suga and a little wota in bowl en set aside for a few minutes. Sift flour en salt together; add shortening, yeast mixture, en enough wota to makea soft dough. Knead until smooth. Put to rise in a warm place for 2 hrs or until dough has doubled. Punch down. Knead again, cut dough into small pieces, en roll pieces into balls. Put to rise again for 20 minutes. Flatten balls out to 1/8-inch thickness en fry in smoking hot oil. Drain en serve hot.

Cypress’ Sweetbread: The Goodness

Use any kind of cornmeal, add cooked beans and mashed sweet potatoes, baking soda, salt, a dash of cinnamon, en ¼ cup honey. Cook in pan as ordinary cornbread. Eat hot or cold 

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



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
Private Courts, Inc
P.O. Box  1108
Woodacre, CA 94973

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

full moon

fullmoon08ritualritual2i know i’ve said this before,

tings falling into place,

but really,

it’s got to be more than that….

you know when you just meet the people you need to,

literally just run into them.


or they come to you,

literally, just walk up to you,

and offer exactly what you’re looking for?


that’s gotta be what this last week (has) been….


i thought it fitting too that as I started on session 12 of the womyn’s circle curriculum, the full moon dawned…

coz that’s what the section is on, lunar calendars and re/learning moon rituals…..


later today, I face the camera,

I have interviewed many others over the past few years,

and carefully avoided the camera myself,

all for one strategic reason or another,

usually, I feel that it is not my role to speak,

actually (secretly) I’m shy,

hide behind words (on paper) and

work ‘behind the scenes”…..

en there I ‘SPEAK’,

truth to power.

from every margin I find,


 It’s always our role to speak (OUT),

rise (up) and be heard,

by any means necessary.


so I’mma do that, this afternoon…


what’s fitting about all this too,

it’s my mentor/big sista (one of my role models)  and her partner who are making this film,


I’ve never been so aware of how many solid people I have around me,

I am blessed.