Such a refreshing read! There is something special about reading a well thought out piece that you relate to and that speaks about a context that is in your time. I am not throwing shade at thoughts penned before I was even an idea – I am just excited that my generation of peers are writing about our struggles. The scary thing about reading Writing What We Like, edited by Yolisa Qunta, is that most of the struggles feel like the continuation of the struggles our parents faced. Didn’t my mom and her peers fight the system so we would be living better lives?
One would argue that we are living better lives but this would depend on which side of the class fence you sit. The race issues in South Africa are far from over. Although the topic is dealt with in different manners – these essays highlight the different stories of the black struggle. What Qunta has managed to do with this book is eliminate the single story regarding black struggle. Advertising agencies would be doing themselves a huge favour in sharing this book amongst staff.
This is a six-chapter book with different authors sharing their views on race, sex, education, privilege, black people defining themselves and much more. Some got me straight up laughing, like Loyiso Gola’s I digress, some got me thinking like Ilham Rawoot’s Cape Town’s Pretend Partnership and I wished Tshegofatso Senne’s Confessions of a Sub was much longer – I was curious.
Reading the now late Fezisa Mdibi’s “If Only They Could Stop Fucking” just made me sad because I miss her madly. God took one of our best before she could give us more of her writing to keep.
That is another thing I loved about this book, most if not all, of the authors have a strong social media presence. Writing What We Like was a platform beyond the interwebs to understand, without interruption, what the backstory is regarding a specific topic, should you be following them on social media, that each author holds close to their heart and tends to tweet endlessly about.
To read Senne’s thought piece on BDSM without the interruptions of someone tweeting their opinion on it was fascinating. She’s tweeted about the topic and her experience for a long time but the noise that keeps Twitter alive sometimes interrupts the essence of her stories.
I hope this is the first edition of Writing What We Like, we need to read more of these kinds of essays, preserve these voices in books and not rely only on the interwebs to remember the magic of our time.
So much has already happened since it came out in 2016. Soon after the birth of #RhodesMustFall we saw the so-called born-frees fighting nationally for #FeesMustFall. There’s been the continued rise of EFF, high school children standing up against racist rules at school, #MenAreTrash, #ZumaMustFall and the countries downgrade to junk status. Like the Twitter streets would day “Issa Mess”!
I honestly think that everybody should get their hands on this book. It is a perceptive compilation of short easy to read essays that hit the mark. Young South African’s are speaking out, writing, shouting and re-defining what it means to be a child of Azania post-1994. I love this!
I will leave you with this paragraph from Sentletse Diakanyo’s Defining Ourselves, “As Africans, we cannot allow our identity to become dispensable in the name of social expediency. The colonial era reduced African identity almost to nothing. Having liberated themselves from historical thuggery and asserted their identity. Africans should take care, today, not to be blackmailed into watering down what defines them and who they are for the sake of inclusivity. Africans must reclaim and defend their identity, lest we revert to the colonial days when defining ourselves was the task of others”.