We live in a world that continuously rejects us on the basis of our skin, gender, sex and we crave spaces where we feel accepted.
We continue our conversation with Silindile Nyathikazi of These Dam Blacks, exploring how space and participation are crucial for change.
What is the importance of gatherings for black people?
We live in times of increased isolation and loneliness as black people, not only in Johannesburg but in the country and even the world as a whole. Because we live in a world that demands us to interact and deal with whiteness on a daily basis, we feel suffocated.
We live in a world that continuously rejects us on the basis of our skin, gender, sex and we crave spaces where we feel accepted. Much like the Abantu Book Festival, These Dam Blacks is a space for us by us where we feel safe as black people and where we feel we can just be without feeling the need for us to perform our blackness for other people.
We gather because we crave spaces where we can free, unpretentious, where we can love each other with no inhibitions. We gather also as an act of rebellion – in a world that demands us to ship up, to shape up, to conform to the status quo that we are unhappy with, we create this space because we would rather be part of creating a world that we’ve envisioned and that we shape.
Photos by Ayabongile Cawe 2018
What are some of the obstacles to gatherings for black people in this day?
We hope that TDB will grow to become a movement with gatherings held bi-monthly in all cities and towns across the country and even abroad. Some of the challenges of organizing such gatherings include that:
We need to start holding each other accountable in honest, gentle ways and ways that seek to build us on individual and collective levels.
What is the way forward?
We’d like more blacks to join so we can raise more money to have more gatherings more often. At the moment it takes us about R20 000 to host each event and this money has been raised by organizers from their own pockets and other generous donations in the form of wines from Sis Rose who makes Bridges of Hope wines for example. Join These Dam Blacks Facebook group. https://web.facebook.com/groups/1035171463287741/about/
This week we catch up with the creators of These Dam Blacks (TDB) - a movement of black people erupting in Johannesburg, and across South Africa to build conscious solidarity that translates into impact and empowerment! Silindile Nyathikazi shares her thoughts with the Watu Africa team.
Riveting pictures of the movement Ayabonga Cawe © 2017
who are you?
We are a collective of black people who know each other mostly by virtue of our connection with the City of Johannesburg. We know each other through similar interests and connected social circles.
Black gatherings have their own beauty, power and a kind of defiance in a world determined to alienate us from each other and ourselves.
What is these dam blacks?
We are a collective of black people who love being in the company of other blacks. We are a group of black people who have come together to build each other and with one another for the progression of the black nation. We are a group of black people who are woke to our political, economic and social dispossession and we choose to gather because we find comfort, upliftment and joy in us, blacks, being together. We also gather because we realise the power in ourselves as a network; so when we gather we talk and exchange about our interests and the work that we do in order to establish synergies. At our gatherings we also invite black people who make clothes, jewellery, wine, gin, food.etc to showcase their works, sell some items and even close some deals.
These Dam Blacks is a black gathering where we as blacks gather at Emmarentia Dam (and sometimes at Darlene's house when the weather is counter-revolutionary) for some scenic views of our stolen land where we dish out black love, warmth, heart and laughter.
Black gatherings have their own beauty, power and a kind of defiance in a world determined to alienate us from each other and ourselves. So we call blacks to come to a social gathering with a little twist. With chilled vibes, we connect with each other across different pursuits (hustle) to find crossovers between our lines of hustle and explore productive collaborations. We experiment with collective solutions to our collective structural problems to challenge individualized black exceptionalisms of first or only black to be this or that.
You will find emerging black business people, connecting them to a conscious customer base that is determined to rotate the rand within the black community. Explore ways to utilize our collective buying power nationally by starting small. We also welcome people in social development programmes such as education, health promotion, media, community safety, etc. to meet others and share with us on how we can join and bring our resources in finance, labour (compensated or voluntary), networks, etc. for solution-driven goals.
"We gather because we crave spaces where we can free, unpretentious, where we can love each other with no inhibitions. We gather also as an act of rebellion – in a world that demands us to ship up, to shape up, to conform to the status quo that we are unhappy with, we create this space because we would rather be part of creating a world that we’ve envisioned and that we shape."
Want to learn more? Tune in tomorrow for more exciting achievements by These Dam Blacks!
We are a multidisciplinary collective and welcome academic and non-academic views. Reach out to us on the Contact page to find out more about how you can be featured on our blog.