First post since late July, after which point I have been story-ing, as the temporal, disappearing stream seemed like a less mannered visibility to be implicated in.
From mid September until yesterday I was teaching a course I devised alongside Nomvuyo Horwitz called ‘Strategies for Survival’ at the Wits School of the Arts, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, which drew on queer theory, radical black writing, trans- and disabilities- activism, eco-feminism and indigenous survivance in order to look at technologies of opacity, visibility and affect deployed by precarious bodies in order to persist, and in moments to flourish. Throughout the course there were (sometimes productive, often triggering) instances of contestation that demonstrated how ingrained homo-, trans-, hoe-, and black-phobia runs, and that even within discourses of decolonisation in the process of Fallism occurring at South African universities, questions of gender and sexualities are under erasure, or seen as irrelevant, as a limit within affinity, more so when the confluences of markers of precarity are so urgent. In this regard the writings of Zethu Matebeni, Nkunzi Nkabinde, Julius Kaggwa, Ernst van der Wal, and Stella Nyazi, alongside organisations such as GALA and Iranti, have been pivotal in localising the ongoing procedure of what Nyazi calls “queering African Studies and Africanising Queer Studies.” When I shared some of the misgivings regarding the course content with Zanele Muholi at their ‘Faces & Phases 11’ opening at Market Photo Workshop Gallery, their response was “They must realise they live in South Africa. They are grown up. Who do they make love to?” I write this not to upend the clear resonances of what has been called “sensitive material” with most of the students, which has contributed to new approaches to collectivity, and political galvanisation in de-sexualised and sanitised hallways and lecture theatres, but to assert that difference is difficult, confluences are complicated and compulsory, ever more the future lurks, and that silence still equals death.