The Best of 2016.

So, not only is this a glimpse of some of my favourite moments of the year, I hope that this also serves as an introduction to exactly what I mean by “my dreaming and doing life.”

Postgrad life keeps me intensely busy. There are so many cool projects that I couldn’t participate in and so many stages that I couldn’t stand on because of this priority. On those occasions that I was able to take some time off, it was and still is an honour to have had different groups of people entrust me with their labours of love and invite me to contribute to their vision with my gifts. Thank you to every one of you. So, not only is this a glimpse of some of my favourite moments of the year, I hope that this also serves as an introduction to exactly what I mean by “my dreaming and doing life.”

1. #JetLoveYourself 

I’m a gif! Made by Nomali Cele.

The year started off with Jet Store’s #JetLoveYourself body positive Valentine’s campaign! I joined some awesome South African women – who are also not models – in wearing beautiful underwear and confidently celebrating our bodies in their different sizes and shapes.

 

Photographed by Merwelene van der Merwe, 2016

2. NIHSS Awards

Photographed by the NIHSS, 2016.

The National Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences is a gem of a place. I’ve always know that it exists through calls for proposals and funding opportunities but being invited to perform my poetry at their inaugural awards ceremony gave me a chance to see the people who make it all possible by keeping the Humanities as a viable practice in our country. Dr Sarah Mosoetsa left such an impression on me. In her vote of thanks as the CEO, she let me know that the institute will always be my home and that they will continue to do their best to support young, black women in academia. It warmed me so much.

They also got me a pretty box of books containing what became my favourite read of the year: Imraan Coovadia’s work is EVERYTHING. Get yourself a copy and get into it!

3. The People vs the Rainbow Nation

Besides being in a documentary – which is a dope thing – the best part was seeing some of Lebogang Rasethaba and Allison Swank’s process. As participants, we spoke extensively about the implications of following the traditional doccie form and giving an audience to the opposing view, which would have been white racists n’em, in this case. Fairness is good but as South Africa, we don’t achieve much by amplifying the hate and intolerance that comes from people unwilling to fully acknowledge and do the work of undoing Apartheid’s injustice. Which is to say, I loved seeing the collective resolution to only amplify marginalised voices and allies come to life on screen. Integrity wins.

4. #Bayeza16

Bayeza means “they are coming” in isiZulu and the good people of ’10 and 5′ chose me as one of the “16 young South Africans defining creative culture now”. I spoke to Dave Mann about my creative and academic practice. One of my favorite things, though, was later in the year when they asked me to write a self-love letter. Please believe that I wrote the fuck out of it.

5. The Sunday Times Literary Awards 

Photographed by The Sunday Times, 2016.

The invitation to perform my poetry at this illustrious event was such an affirmation! And I got to watch Professor Pumla Gqola win an award for her challenging and necessary book, ‘Rape: A South African Nightmare.’ While performing, I was nervous the whole time because the audience, much like at the NIHSS, was all genius and role models. The room was full of my dreams in the form of the people looking at me on stage.

6. Cosmo Mag’s Awesome Women 2016

Photographed by Damon Fourie, 2016. I’m the one with the tattooed leg.
From contents page to cover page one day! I’m in the middle.

This was pretty rad. And I spoke to Cosmo about my work, life and thoughts on South African women.

7. Redbull Weekender advert

On one of Johannesburg most interesting CBD rooftops, we shot a stunning video – Imraan Christian, Allison Swank and myself. They’re such lovely people! I was excited to have my poem, “Johannesburg” as the vocal for all of these beautiful visuals about the city I love. Collaboration is dope!

8. Grada Kilomba & Angela Davis

With these two mortal eyes of mine, I watched two giants speak and affirm why it is that their work has become such a colossal part of my life. I attended Dr Grada Kilomba’s performance lecture and Professor Angela Davis’ highly publicised annual Steve Biko Memorial Lecture. Shoo! They both took me to church and back, especially Grada, who I am absolutely in love with! I constantly use her work to think through difficult questions. What also got me through last year is #WWGKD? She was/is my motivation. Forever crush. Forever goals.

9. Honours in Anthropology.

Bagged it! 2016.

I didn’t attend my graduation because I do find the ceremonies to be quite a long ting. Plus, I was postgrad-ing.

10. A Seat at the Table with Blackboard Africa

Photographed by Victor Dlamini, 2016. Nelson Makamo, Amonge & Zingisa of Blackboard Africa and myself.

This was a beautiful way to draw the year to a close. On this evening, I spoke about Anthropology as being my art and I also closed with a performance. It was a night of good and insightful conversation. I adore the young women of Blackboard and I’m excited to watch their work and vision grow.

Overall, I’m grateful for the year I’ve had and what I was able to give to myself and others through trying my damndest. Thank you, 2016!

Ganzy and I being joyous!

* * *

Author: Nova

I'm an Anthropology postgrad or baby master anthropologist, poet and writer. Occasional badass too. Patricia Smith says: "Say a prayer and start slinging" - I do.

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