Why can’t a flower be a flower

If it’s too beautiful it must be plucked

If it’s to shy, it will never be acknowledged 

If it has too many thorns it must be mutilated 

Why do we never leave the flower alone

Its life is short anyway 

Maybe it wants its petals to join in dance with the wind 

Maybe it just wants its leaves to be adorned by the morning dew 

Maybe it just wants to die, happily in the field 

Why can’t a flower 

just be a flower 



The butterflies in my stomach 

Were asleep until I met you 

You made my ‘inner-mosts’ run wild 

Like a child after 3 ice lollies and a chocolate bar 

You made my mind reach across its oceans and pull out the things I thought no one could ever understand 

You rescued the dreamer in me

You summoned the lover.

With your gaze you made my world 


And start again

at a pace slow enough to smell the roses 

and fast enough  for us to always be ahead of everything. 

I am happy to be consumed by your warm winters 

I am happy to lay in your secret gardens 

I am happy to be yours 



I looked up at my mother as a child 

And thought…

I will never be as beautiful as her when I grow up 

No woman will ever be

As a teenager I watched

As my peers started developing

Curves on their bodies 

And edges in their hearts 

I watched as the pretty girls got boyfriends 

(Who would eventually make them cry)

I watched as girls relaxed their hair and hated the fact that I wasn’t allowed to relax mine 

“Straight hair looks pretty ma, I’m tired of this bush on my head” 

(I didn’t understand anything)
I remember gaining weight, and people noticing 

My dinner became hot water and lemon 

(For weeks)
I remember the last year of high school. 

I remember the first time a boy looked at me and called me pretty 

I don’t know why it meant so much

Why it still means so much to young girls 

I remember relaxing my hair

(and immediately regretting it)

I remember my first year in varsity and more boys calling me pretty, (usually accompanied by a comment about my dark skin)
I remember learning how to use photoshop. 

I made my skin lighter. I made my eyes blue 

Perhaps it looked nice at the time. (If nice was a stranger)
“You talk to much for a beautiful girl” 

Must I turn my mind off and just take my clothes off? I remember catching myself. 

I remember crying. 

It has been a chase. A chase for beauty, since the day I realized I was a “her”, I wanted to be beautiful. Not realizing that it had nothing to do with how I looked. 

I no longer want to be the pretty one, that is a prison far to harsh for my heart. And a distraction far too dangerous for progress. 

There are other things. Far more appealing. Far more magnificent. Only now I realize that’s what I was looking at. 

While I was watching my mother. 

It was never her beauty. 

It was just her. 



It’s a wonderful thing 

Having unconventional skin 

Waking up 

And making a choice

To be different 

To be more of you than you were yesterday 

To hold eye contact

To not look down 

To not be intimidated by judgement 

To be a little free 



You have been deteriorating

Before yourself 

That pain you couldn’t figure out before? 

That was your dreams being ripped out of your heart 

The suffocating consequence of concerning yourself with other people’s failures 

Surrounding yourself with small thinkers and small ideas and small men 

While all this time you have been a giant 

Squeezing yourself constantly into shrinking doors 

Until you started believing that’s where you belong 

Wake up 

Wake up child 

Stop wasting away 

And go do what you were meant to do


i don’t want to be right

i just want to be honest

lies keep evaporating my time

this home left me homeless


And i tried hiding

tried finding silence

swam the breadth of my heart


i almost drowned in it


and all these faces

they scare me sometimes

and i get sweaty palms

and forget all my lines


someone tells me

“stop picking at your finger

look, that one is bleeding

its not a lady like thing gal”


and this is maybe why

i’ve watched my phone ring

vibrating till it falls off the table…or dies

It’s just my way of dealing ma

with this anxiety thing


I left Tanzania when I was 6 years old

And since then, every country I’ve lived in. I have been a foreigner. I guess that means I’ve been a foreigner for as long as I can remember. It doesn’t make me uncomfortable, it doesn’t make me anything, and to be honest it has never really negatively affected me. 

It is nothing short of an adventure for the most part, I love meeting new people, learning about new cultures and just experiencing Africa as whole. 

And then today. Me, working on make up on a local movie shoot in the township (for those who don’t know what this is, Google is your friend) something happened.

There was a small boy (4years) who was quite naughty, running up and down etc and then he tried to climb into a broken cars window and naturally I stopped him because a) tetanus is a thing and b) he’s gonna get dirty and sweaty and cry if he gets hurt. 

Anyway, point is I told him off (in English) and stopped him from getting into the car and he wasn’t very happy about it. He turns around and says in Xhosa, “shut up you foreigner ” … Which I only know because the Cast Coordinator next to me was shocked and finally told me what he said. 
And in that moment I felt like I didn’t belong, that I was so different that even a 4 year old child could tell that I didn’t belong. I felt displaced, and just simply put hurt. I had to pull myself back from those feelings. 
But this is not what I’m writing about. I’m writing about the hundreds of other people I have met who have made me feel at home. The men and women who have taught me parts of their language and culture and in return wanted to learn more about mine, the times someone wouldn’t speak to their friend in their mother tongue but rather in English because they knew I couldn’t understand. The general good feeling you get when you are around a diverse group of people who are learning and exchanging ideas about our continent , or even better a random story that makes us forget our differences all together. 
Xenophobia, like racism is a result of ignorance, and irrational baseless hate. We were all placed on this world for a purpose, our forefathers fought together to achieve independence, the notion of Umoja spans from the shores of Dar es salaam to the shores of Cape Town and beyond. 

It makes me extremely sad that a 4 year old has learned how to discriminate, but in the same breath it gives me hope to know that there are other people in his community (besides his parents -__-) who will teach him different and teach him the concept of togetherness. We need to spread this love and knowledge like wildfire because Africans shouldn’t kill Africans, the same way humans shouldn’t kill humans. Everyone’s life and story matters.   

This is obviously my individual experience, there are many people who’s lives are threatened daily because they come from a different country. In an effort to not sugar coat the reality, I’m just reminding us the sometimes deadly result of such a wrong way of thinking.