Dance with me while it lasts, not because you fear loss, but because this for me is what could ease the pain.
Be by my side when I take those long cold showers, wondering whether they will momentarily silence all the voices in my head.
Play me Nina and Etta James on Sundays.
And whenever you can, remind me of Nathanial Nakasa and Kabelo Sello Duiker.
Did you know how every moonlight for me, is a moment to re-(member)?
How it demands that I revisit all the archived demonstrations of courage?
How it has a way of finding me, always.
How from there it goes on to stare me in the eyes, questioning my bravery?
How each time, it hands me a sharp object and says: “I know you; I do.”
Did you know that my mother is the one who keeps me alive?
That I know how no one in their right mind – the irony of this – would wish upon their self, dead lovers walking?
My mother thinks I am okay.
To her, I am truly a road that leads to freedom: that her children, my siblings would be nurtured in my hands.
For she too, is dying.
I do not think she is self-centered, for this is how Black women who are poor in this country, like her, have survived.
Nonetheless, she does not know that I stopped being okay the moment I understood that for Black boys like me, dearth is what awaits us.
Mpho Ndaba is an activist scholar, writer and producer. He is the founding director of
Changing the Lense SA (CTL-SA), a social justice and development content hub whose work
is around development, media policy and climate justice work in South Africa. He holds
degrees in International Relations, Media Studies and Development Studies from the
University of the Witwatersrand (WITS) and the University of Cape Town (UCT) respectively.
Ndaba is a recipient of a number of accolades, in recognition for his leadership and
academic excellence. These include the Emerging Leader Award from the Development and
Leadership Unit (DLU) at the University of the Witwatersrand; the Andrew Mellon Funded
Scholarship in 2018 at the University of Cape Town and the Mail & Guardian Top 200 Young
South Africans in 2018, Environment Category. He is in 2018 also received the Open Society
Foundation for South Africa scholarship, which he will take up in 2020, researching
development policies and southern food systems. Other memberships and commitments
include being a member of the Green Campus Initiative (GCI) at the University of Cape Town
and serves as a member of the board at the SOS Support Public Broadcasting Coalition.
He has written for Mail & Guardian, Africa as a country, Vanguard Magazine and Micampus
Magazine to name a few. And has featured on Radio 702, Cape Talk, The Big debate,
Eyewitness News, Cutting Edge, Newsroom Africa, Power FM and Voice of Wits to name a
few, making socio-political commentary on environmental justice, development, democracy
and youth participation, gender, race and sexual orientation.