Just when I thought he was a humorist his words slapped me upside the head and made me cry. I don’t find his meanderings on Facebook every day, but I’m always looking for them. They fill me up.
Welcome to Garden Spices, Faeez Van Doorsen. Hope you visit often. -Victorine
Why try so hard to be someone’s cup of tea? Why reduce your bigness to make room for someone else’s small-mindedness? Bugger that! Be a jug of smouldering boeber shared between your loved ones after a difficult Ramadaan! Be a glass of wine that spreads the warmth of contentment in the most discontented parts of your lover! Be a shot of tequila that brings the joy between your friends to the fullest of fullness! Be a bottle of beer cool enough to break the fever of those you know sick with sorrow! Be a goblet of liquid shine from which all the world may sip and savour the sheer glitter of all you are… you… yes you… you who refuse to be anybody’s dull cup of tea!
In times of crisis I find a quiet corner and call on the counsel of my ancestors. Mostly, their messages – sent to me in otherworldly shapes, angles and colours – are often difficult to decipher. Today, however, after only a brief time seeking their advice regarding my unemployment woes, their message came to me as clear as day. And, as one, the voices of the many who struggled and fought before me sounded the following…
‘Go on, child! Do it. Don’t be afraid. Make it happen. Become a hooker!’
I was on a bus today, and found myself listening to some young people talk politics. I was heartened by their sharp, incisive critisism of Zuma and Zweilithini’s responses to the xenophobic attacks. It made my heart sing. ‘Yes’, my belly hummed, ‘the future in good hands’. Then, suddenly, as quickly as the beat of their banter had grabbed hold of me, the music died. Gone. Kapoet. Deader than dead. As if to say, ‘not so fast, oompie’, one of these kids – lets call him Alpha – raised the what he called the ‘issue’ of a trans student, who had the ‘audacity’ to attend one of her (presumed pronoun) classes in a dress.
And, before I could catch my breath, the chatter turned from modestly dressed homophobia to full-frontal trans hatred. Moreover, as the volume of the vitriol rose, more and more passengers joined in the fun. Memerised by the thickening menace, I found myself staring out of the window, thinking… ‘is this how it all started for Emmanuel Sithole?’. Somewhere in a bus or a tavern or a kraal, where someone lit a match, while others grouped their hands around the flame, while others built a pryramid of wood and others brought their fuel… ‘Is this how it started?’ On a bus? In a tavern? In a kraal? The fire that filled the heart that prompted the knife that sliced the life out of Emmanuel Sithole?
Call me a coward. Call me paranoid. Call me what you want. I’m used to being called names. But I could no longer be on that bus. And I hadn’t but made the decision to get off the bus and walk the remaining 3 kilometres when Alpha, as if smelling prey in his midsts, chanted ‘Leave the kwere kwere. Fuckin faggots are our problem’.
Heart beating like a rabbit on the run, I exited the bus and made the long walk home.Not, however, before catching Alpha’s face and just for a second, seeing nothing of the hatred that compelled me to flee rather than fight. No, For just a second.I believe I was looking at the face of a boy who liked other boys and didn’t know any better.
-Faeez Van Doorsen
‘Since graduating with an Honors Degree in Dramatic Art for the University of the Witwatersrand, Faeez Van Doorsen has worked as a television writer and content producer for some of South Africa’s leading production houses. He is currently playing his trade as a freelance copywriter and working on a collection of short stories with a focus on the lives of LGBTIQ people of colour across the country.’