Voices Leak Identities: On Speaking Up

Featured Illustration: Melissa Koby Voices leak identities, someone told me recently when I confessed to being terrified of public speaking. I had been asked to present a lecture on the cultural aspects of slavery, for an online seminar. In spite of feeling confident about the topic, I was aware of a familiar pervasive feeling of…

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What We Lost in the Fire

Cape Town burned for three days this April in one of the worst fires that I can remember. I woke to the sound of helicopters transporting water from the dam in the city to the mountainside that was on fire. I fell asleep to the sound of sirens from fire engines, hoping that the wind…

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A History of Silence

Featured Image: Corbis/Getty Images As a young child growing up in Cape Town, I knew that the minstrel carnival my parents took us to each new year and the songs sung by the Malay choirs had something to do with slavery. It certainly wasn’t something that we learned about during history lessons at school and…

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An Artist’s Reframing of the Past

On first viewing, Jody Paulsen’s textile collages displayed against the bright yellow walls of the SMAC Gallery in Cape Town appear to be a joyful celebration of life. I am drawn towards them, wanting to touch the multiple layers of felt, recalling childhood games and crafts. On closer examination though, I recognise deeper references to…

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Symmetry in a World Out of Kilter

Featured Illustration: Lena Shevchuk “When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” -Khalil Gibran . . . My father would have appreciated the symmetry of the date he died — 12.1.21 — and would have commented on…

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A Year of Gratitude

Featured Illustration: Ann Chen A year ago, soon after I returned from an emotionally exhausting Civil Rights trip to the USA, I had the opportunity to take stock at a women’s retreat that I attended. I realised that there had been many positives hidden among the personal challenges of the previous year. Determined to begin…

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A Portrait of Respectability

Many years ago, my grandmother took her two children off to a photographic studio to have their portraits taken. In the fragile photograph that is now more than 80 years old, my father poses on an oversized chair, slightly leaning into his older sister who is standing next to him. I am intrigued that my…

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Reflections on Heritage Day in South Africa

As I scrolled through posts on social media about the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG), I noticed that she wore her iconic white beaded collar in the majority of the images. Apparently, it’s a favourite in her collection of neckpieces, and came from South Africa, where it is made and worn…

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