Too gam to have a voice

Apparently Gadeeja Abbas is an embarrassment to her race because of her “slamse hare” and lack of a “proper education and background”.

I’m sitting on a case of beers, fingering my cheap pink Kelly kumalo night gown – with matching swirlkous - wondering desperately where my next Black Label will come from.

The GHD that my media company has sponsored has worked wonders on my hair as I pose for a new pic to post on Twitter. You see, I would hate for another victim to vomit at the sight of disgusting face.

They have exposed me. I am common scum who has disgraced the nation for writing what I know, about people I know, about people I am PROUD of knowing.


Silly me. How could I have thought that I could ever escape the clutches of my “gam” ways? How could I have thought that I had the right to write about my background and my life. I am, after all from Hanover Park. How did I imagine I could be a voice for people who have no voice – people who are disrespected, people who are swept under the carpet because their very existence offends other people.  Now I’ve “taken the struggle back 40 years”. Interesting as things haven’t looked much different in my hood recently. But then, “I am just an ignorant bitch” who knows nothing of what I’m talking about.

You see, I have become a stereotype.


On Friday, as we’re entering the festive season, I posted a tongue-in-cheek article titled Survivors guide to partying with coloureds. To my horror, writing about my very own background and experiences revealed a roiling mass of anger, racism, defensiveness and verbal abuse.

Ironically, the very people who accused me of being a racist and a creator of boxes for coloured people, created a box for me.

I should feel special. But really, I am not. I am but one of many people. But apparently not the “right kind” as the huge personal attack on Twitter showed. Eventually, even an article about my childhood abuse was criticised and ridiculed. Haven’t you heard? Writing about being emotionally abused as a child is not ‘sensitive” enough.

How wrong of me to be open and honest on a subject that was even difficult for me to internalise let alone convey into coherent sentences.

I guess I should just shut up. Well, you know what? I won’t. What kak.

Oops, I guess my class is showing.

Initially when I embarked on writing the survival guide to partying with coloureds I attempted to use satire to highlight a culture, within a culture, who could accept people for who they are.

I do not see how my article was any more offensive than anything Marc Lottering or Trevor Noah has joked about. Sure, I’m not as funny. I am but a fledgling writer, learning to spread my wings by writing about what I know. How dare I try?

Apparently only people from the “Northern Suburbs” are good enough to write about their lives.

Mmmm...

I do not want to live in a country where I’m denied a voice because I’m not educated enough, or because I didn’t grow up in the right neighbourhood.

Fact 1: The article narrowed it down to partying with coloureds in the Cape Flats.

Fact 2: A “yaat” party is a party in the hood, where I come from. Not in the “Northern Suburbs.” Get over it.

Fact 3: Nowhere in my article have I mentioned the term “All coloureds” and therefore I am correct in saying that I DID not generalise.

Fact 4:
I challenge anyone to show me any part of my article that is not true. From the swirlkous to the an-maak-juice to the warm and welcoming nature of people enjoying a full blown yaat party.

Fact 5:
I did not ridicule a culture I belong to, that is just ridiculous (and racist) to insinuate. I merely conveyed the fun side to a sub-culture as opposed to the gang violence it is so often associated with.

Besides the personal attacks and negative responses, I have received good feedback from people who understood what I was trying to do.

Those readers who were offended and immediately galloped on their high horses passing character judgements, I ask you, why did both my articles offend you so?

Could it be that you are ashamed that I have ‘exposed’ a sub-culture that you would rather hide than highlight?

And, judging from your reaction to me, ask yourself, who is really racist here?

I was told that the whole country hates me and that my career is basically ruined, well, I would rather die a slow and painful professional death writing daringly and passionately than face being censored by people who think that I don’t deserve a voice based on the fact that I am “gam.”

Communicating the fact that coloured people living in the ghetto as a result of apartheid can enjoy themselves despite being faced with socio-economic issues is not allowed? I should shut up?

Forget it.

*gam – common*


How is that for classism?

“@addifferent: ...And now you will be educated (whether you want to be or not) about what happens when you #pissoffacolouredperson (sic)”

Nice.

Have any of you critics read my other articles?

I guess not. It’s easier to appoint a lamb to the slaughter with the misguided sense of righteousness and liberty. But, how liberal are you not to allow someone to have the freedom of speech?

You talk about empowering and elevating, what have you done to bring about change?

I respect each and everyone’s opinions who have commented on my pieces, it’s just a shame I was not given the same courtesy.

Don’t worry, I have now thoroughly been taught how the world works.

Those who deserve the right to a voice should be determined by class and status.


Check it out on Women24’s Twitter page or view it on my own handle @Gadeeja_Abbas.


 

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