Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Africa - Creative Arts, Busi, Journal

Silent Suffering

It’s quite difficult putting up a post after the sad news of Busi’s passing. Every time I click on the blog I see her picture and I can’t of anything to write because I wonder what the point of most of my preoccupations are. So I’m going to defer my post on why I distrust cartographers for a while. Instead, I will share with you a line from a short story I wrote recently called “Silent Suffering.” I toyed with the idea of making this the last line in the story (as I am toying with the idea of putting up a post called ‘last lines’), but I eventually put it in the body.

And so we suffer, not because we are silent, but because our silence defies our oppressors…and ourselves.

Busi was anything but silent. And through that she accomplished much. But the reason I wrote this story was because I was asked to think about silence that serves a purpose…silence where we make the choice to be silent. A silence that defies. I think of writers, artists, activists, and the different ways in which silence can manifest itself. What if we stopped writing? What if we stopped painting? What if we stopped? Would we have stopped speaking? Is there a way to make our presence felt by our absence? And in the end is it all worth it?

I’m interested to know if there are concrete examples of the successes (or failures) of silence, because to my mind, a conscious act of silence, if you have something to say (which is arguable), is an act of silent suffering.

We think that by being silent we do not acknowledge and so we do not legitimize…them. It is a worthy equation.

1 Comment

  1. Sokari

    Annie@ It has been hard for me to actually post anything so I kind of had to force myself as I thought the only other choice is never to post again. So I wrote another final piece on Busi hoping that would ease my guilt at writing something completely unconnected to her and it wasn’t easy but I realised my continuing to write did not negate her in any way.

    ON silence – Silence can be powerful. I am a little confused because if I have something to say then silence doesn’t work. But if what I want to say is “silence” then that works. I was having a discussion just now with a friend on how Black people (in South Africa) used silence as a way of speaking – I am silent because I refuse to communicate with you the oppressor no matter what. Then silence becomes words with meaning. Not sure if this is where you are going.
    On another note I feel I cannot write anything really meaningful at this moment in time. I spent the afternoon back in Soweto this time with my friend who is filming a documentary on “hostel” music and dance groups. It was amazing, fun, happy, entertaining. I needed that to bring myself back to a state of life. But interestingly there were a number of references to death – like the only reason I wont see you is if I am dead and that did not sit well with my state of mine. I am way off here but this is what I am thinking. I am thinking I need to write something that is meaningful and forget about writing what I think BL should be saying”