My Relationship With The Light

Lonwabo Zimela, Sinawo Bukani, Female Blogger, Sinawo Bukani WordPress, South African Male Photographers, South African Bloggers, Discover, Black Photographers, Black Female Bloggers, Ma

I danced all day yesterday

I wiggled in the streets of Randburg as if I owned the land that the suburb stands on.

I rapped along loudly to my latest favorite song (sorry to everyone who shared a taxi with me) 🙈

And when I got to the #MandelaDay event in Soweto, with my eyes closed and the renovated playground imagined as my stage. I hummed, allowing the nostalgia ignited by the old music to escort me back to treasured memories.

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Finding Love In A Hopeless Place

Lonwabo Zimela, Sinawo Bukani, Black Photographer, Young Photographer, South African Photographer, African Black Photographers, African Photographers, South African Bloggers, African Blo

About two weeks ago, we sat side by side on the bed, in the dark of a candle lit flat.

We were eating his birthday cake from the same dish, because that’s what he had insisted we do.

This made me feel shy but I liked being that close to him so I didn’t put up a fight.

I didn’t have much of our dinner earlier but the dessert was delicious and I was eating up way more than him. 

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The Unfairness Of Using Human Beings As Bandages

Lonwabo Zimela, Sinawo Bukani, Black Photographer, Young Photographer, South African Photographer, African Black Photographers, African Photographers, South African Bloggers

One Sunday afternoon, many moons ago, I walked down one of my most favorite streets in the CBD.

I was going through the most but I still urged my chubby legs to plod on along because I had places to go.

A man stopped his car across the street, got out and came over to say ‘hello’.

He had a wide smile, and behaved the way all extroverts do. He was confident and his loud happiness was very entertaining.

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Remembering You With Kindness

Lonwabo Zimela, Lonwabo Zimela Photography, Black Male Photographers. South African Photographers, African Photographers, Black Bloggers in South Africa

The first time I ever broke up with you, it was because I was already suspecting you were the kind of man I could easily fall madly in love with.

I wasn’t wrong.

I still remember how hurt we were by the decision, even though we both knew it was for the best.

I wished we’d stayed broken up because the months that followed came with a lot of messiness and unnecessary pain.

We’ve been through a lot together and we’ve shared so many special memories. And even though we’ve put each other through the ultimate most, I don’t think I could ever wish any of it away.

You’ll always be the first guy I ever trusted with not only my nakedness but with every intimate thought.

Knowing and loving you allowed me to explore a side of myself I’d never discovered before.

It was a very warm place I submerged in with glee, even when I knew it would never be mine to occupy.

Holding on to you and hoping that we could ever become anything more than what you’ve always offered almost destroyed me.

I take full responsibility for the part I played in giving you all of me when it wasn’t always reciprocated.

When I reflect on our time together, I shudder because I willingly sacrificed so much of who I am to get any scraps you had to offer.

In turn, I directed a lot of the bitterness, anger and resentment on you as the woman scorned. I’ll never like the person our relationship made me become.

I should’ve focused my energies on getting over my feelings for you and finding someone who would offer me mutual adoration, love and affection.

Well, it’s difficult to phrase a whole relationship of six months in just one letter but I’m hoping to navigate myself into a space that will always remember you with kindness.

I think I owe us that much.

So, for the first time, I am not pointing fingers or forcing you to account. And I’m definitely not asking you to stay.

I know you’ve always wanted me to promise you a friendship beyond the break up…

I’ve never really imagined what that would look like but I’m convinced now more than ever that I could never be just your friend.

Since the day we went on our cute little ice cream date at Cocobel, my Christian girl heart was taken by you.

Every fragment of friendship you received was always laced with strong feelings of adoration. And every day we are not together I have harboured that as rejection.

So, I don’t know if I can promise you the friendship we once shared.

Maybe, for us, forever might actually have an expiry date.

Today though, I wondered if you were okay, if you’re being safe when you skate, and if you are eating … but then I also wondered who you talk to now that it’s not me, who’s sleeping in your bed and watching your anime stuff with you on the weekends.

I was going to ask if you’re taking good care of yourself but instead, I found myself writing you this letter and just hoping that you are.


Photo By: Lonwabo Zimela

What #HoeIsLife Means To Me

Lonwabo Zimela, Sinawo Bukani, Female Blogger, Sinawo Bukani WordPress, South African Male Photographers, South African Bloggers, Discover, Black Photographers, Black Female Bloggers

For me, the #HoeIsLife movement has always been about taking ownership of my body and sexuality.

As a Christian girl already in my late twenties, who’d never had penetrative sex with a man before, I was well aware of the harm caused by men who pitted womxn against each other by constantly labelling some as pure and some as bad.

That helped to strengthen my convictions to fully embrace and subscribe to the movement.

#HoeIsLife seemed intent on starting conversations about owning and exploring our sexuality as we saw fit. The unfairness of how womxn were treated for the same decisions men made was interrogated and we were refusing to be boxed.

#HoeIsLife became a safe space to discover that sex belonged to all us not just to men.

It was awareness by womxn for womxn reminding them that they weren’t tools created only for the enjoyment of a man. We rightfully owned the sex and all the pleasure it came with.

We learned to stop hiding in shame and communicated our passions loudly.

The word hoe no longer left a sting when spewed in your face with the intention to disgrace or break you. We broke down the stigma around the word and how it was unfairly used to shame us for being sexual beings.

The movement sought to speak out against the internalized misogyny. To recognize the damage done and the versions we had extended by judging and misguiding each other. It helped us feel set free and unbound. We were learning to finally give ourselves permission to explore and do as we please with our bodies.

We were able to question our convictions and trace their damage. We didn’t want to be part of any systems that taught us to break each other down for the decisions we made about our bodies. We were owning our sex and taking it back from the clutches of men, our church doctrines, and even from our own mothers.

We were not asking anyone for permission to be! We were rightfully becoming and empowering ourselves to know and be better. #HoeIsLife became an important movement that played a crucial part in my life.

We live in a society where the word ‘sex’ does not even belong in a womxn’s mouth, and the hashtag gave us a powerful platform to reclaim and speak up.

The movement spoke deeper into black radical feminism as a whole. The hashtag demanded all to pay attention and know that we were taking back all that belonged to us. It wasn’t just a trend, the hashtag continues to challenge and confront many stereotypes.

What has #HoeIsLife meant to you? What do you believe are the movement’s biggest misconceptions? Do you see any opportunities for improvement?


Photo By: Lonwabo Zimela