By Melanie Nathan, March 09, 2013.
Inkanyiso is a South African website which was conceptualized by internationally renowned photographer, award winning documentary filmmaker and visual activist, Zanele Muholi in 2006. In 2009, Muholi registered the organization with Department of Social Services in South Africa. It was in response to the lack of visual histories and skills training produced by and for LGBTI persons in that country, especially artists (in the form of photography, film, visual arts and multi media. Now the website is growing by leaps and bounds and featuring some of the most thought provoking and emotionally gripping work that I have seen on the internet.
A lot of contributors (collective of creative thinkers) have participated in this initiative.
Having met some of the women myself, back in 2011, when I visited my homeland, South Africa, to attend a meeting at parliament on the issue of corrective rape, I was struck by the untold courage that turned would be victims into warriors and leaders.
On this International Women’s Day, the memory of Busi Sigasa hit home- and moved me to tears. I want to remember Busi Sigasa through her own words and I hope you do too .….
by Busi Sigasa
Wrote stories for the nations to read
Stood without fear and told my story
I smiled and greeted without judging
I influenced positive living to the sick
I planted seeds of hope to the hopeless
I groomed and grew
the younger ones whose parents died
I created artistic designs with my hands
I crafted and drew beautiful pictures
I installed education
l reasoning to some
I taught represented the minority to the majority
I made nations aware
I wronged some and made some happy
I survived against odds
I swallowed my medication even as hard as it was it was sometimes
I did so to remain strong and too
l live my life regardless of my status
I fought for women to be taken into serious consideration
by our government
I wrote and said “my” spoke word
I fought and showed many that there’s nothing wrong with being diabetic, epileptic and HIV
I represented many of the HIV infected lesbian sisters
I told the truth never mind the judgments
I lived and I’m still living
I loved and prayed to my GOD
I prayed without hesitation, for,
I was a big sister to my younger sisters
I listened to my mother’s teachings
I became friends with father
I’D DIE FOR MY FAMILY,
I LOVED THEM SO!
I captured moments with my camera
I brought forth what was unseen to the nations
through the power of image, pen and paper
I struggled to make it life
I was taken for a ride by some whom
I thought were friends
I showed my rapist how strong I was
regardless that he poisoned my blood with his HIV
I believed and prayed
I stood low and respected all regardless of their age,
colour and size
I say along with others
I had a unique voice
I had a message to deliver and a vision to see
I fell and I never succeeded sometimes
I was patient while to some
I was strange
I was loved by some and was hated by some,
STILL I did my thing
I loved and appreciated beautiful women
I loved them more than life itself
Some would say…
I am full shit!
but spiritually I was full
I was fed with GOD’s glory that’s why I praised HIM
I praised HIM more than I praised friends
I am my mother’s daughter
I made history and marked historical books of this world
SO……… REMEMBER ME WHEN I’M GONE!
FOR…without no doubt
I’ll and I am in peace with my maker and creator.
© 2006 http://inkanyiso.org/
About the author
Busi Sigasa was born in Soweto on the 23 Dec. 1981 and passed on on the 12th March 2007.
Her work featured in Breaking the Silence: positive Survivors – published by POWA as an annual writing competition and she won a prize.
Busisiwe went public about her HIV positive status in 2006, which resulted from a rape incident. She encouraged others to do the same. South Africa has one of the most severe AIDS epidemics in the world and some people have dubbed it the “rape capital” of the word.
She posted poems on her blog about her experience as a person living with HIV, her belief in God and the difficulty of being a lesbian in South Africa.
Buhle was a proud lesbian mother, poet and writer, as well as actress, singer and lyricist who was involved in every aspect of the work of Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW) from the early stages. She was a leading member of the SAfroDykes, the FEW performing group, for which she wrote, directed and performed in, a number of dramatic and musical productions. Among Buhle’s compositions was an anthem dedicated to FEW.
PLEASE SUPPORT http://inkanyiso.org/ in any way you can – Please visit the site to see and hear the voices of South Africa’s LGBTI community.