Of the conditions of this body

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In the conditions of this body, female and dark – dark as in the stars have collected in the crevices of my eye sockets – I have only known how to be my own starry sun in the middle of the night sky and perhaps, perhaps this is why my own discourses of empowerment have been hidden from common knowledge, and our power has always been on the stories carried by our spines. You have witnessed what happens once these have been broken…

Woman.

Black.

Black woman.

Incredible how far I need to search in the tongues and expertise of lecturers for a hint of my own image. I am still searching for one that does not make a caricature out of my identity. Diversity has never been a safe space.

Our campus lacks in the wooly haired minds descended from the libraries and homes of Alexandria and

Timbuktu;

How can we

Black

Women

Possibly be delivered without the proficiencies of our forefathers and foremothers alike,

How can you Others

Reduce us to alternatives, on dusty shelves in abandoned libraries; you have no use for the uncomfortable. Uncomfortable is trying to find a tight space for black and woman, between lines of norms and shelves of hegemony.

What is the world so afraid of?

Coming to university, in this country, in this continent was evidence that you can make minorities even out of the largest populations. And the danger is that we often do not see institutions for what they are until they are pointed out explicitly; which is why I am grateful for the women that have helped raise me in the last year. They have taught me to unlearn the internalized and relearn the conditions of this body and find the God in me even through the frustration of a colonized academia.

I thank each and every one of you.

As for myself, I hope,

I pray,

That my discourses of empowerment will bring comfort to those still liberating their minds; I am still liberating mine. And in this journey, I have learned that I am talented and intelligent though I am constantly reminded that my ideas are secondary, but I try to remember Black Excellence was never a myth. Black Female Excellence either and the Queendom has taught me that.

Today in all forms of expression my identity makes its way through my fingers and my tongue, my hair and surely my skin.

I am, certainly, grateful for the conditions of this body. Black and female, co-constitutively intertwined, forever.

By: Yasmina Silva

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The Move

Next edition: Monday 12th September

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