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/