Review of “Where We Stand: Class Matters” by bell hooks

At the end of the day the threat of class struggle is just too dangerous to handle. The neat binary categories of white and black or male and female are not there when it comes to class. – bell hooks

bell hooks is an author I’ve recently (read: this year) started reading in more depth. Her approach to intersectional feminism is thoroughly analytically and simultaneously lyrical. Her book Where We Stand: Class Mattersis a slight departure from what she’s usually known for – exposing uncomfortable truths and ingrained lies about race and gender.

In the Chapter entitled “Money Hungry” hooks explains her childhood household situation with child-like simplicity. Big ideas and concepts are whittled down to their essence by hooks’ writing.

This is an excerpt from the above-mentioned chapter.

This is an excerpt from the above-mentioned chapter.

This is not the style of writing you’d expect from someone with a doctorate. It’s incisive and marries psychology, gender relations and power hierarchies in a subtle and nuanced way. You are invited by hooks to enter into dialogue in a language that is easily understood by many – in a language that is your own. That is why her work is revolutionary. She not only writes about an inclusive and non-oppressive world, but she creates one by her accessible writing style.

Here is a pdf of Where We Stand: Class Matters to devour!


No voice goes unheard


Ukufunda: Let's Talk Education

Upstart Programme Manager, Belinda Shange Upstart Programme Manager, Belinda Shange

By Lesedi Ntuli

When Belinda Shange greets you, she beams – a huge, warm smile spreads across her face and her eyes twinkle.  It quickly becomes clear that she has a talent for working with and helping people. As newly appointed programme manager for the local youth development project, Upstart, she makes it clear that her involvement “has been incredible”.

“These learners are amazing! It makes me really happy to see how passionate and confident they are, despite their different social and economic backgrounds,” she says. Although having spent just over five months in Grahamstown, Shange adds that she has learned a lot from the learners forming part of this multidisciplinary project.

“Engaging with the learners, just listening to them speak and air their frustrations – whether it’s about school, their social lives or any situation they’re faced with – is enlightening. And that is…

View original post 327 more words

Mental illness and women – an issue for the intersectional feminist

As I have previously mentioned, this blog will be a platform for both my mental meanderings and for more ‘formal’ coursework purposes. I have created a curation piece on Storify called “Mental health is a feminist issue”, which is mandatory for Journalism and Media Studies 3. It problematises some recent instances of men’s mental health issues in the media. Ya’ll can read it here.

Unearthed truths

Words cut, heal, maim, transform, confuse, enlighten and excite me. The words with the most impetus are those ones, beautifully put together to reveal a forgotten or un-articulated reality.

Writers and readers seek one thing – truth. This commonalty is something I hinted at in my Why I write post. Readers and writers share many other similarities but this is the binding glue making these two roles inseparable. Readers can be writers BUT writers must be readers. The search for a particular truth, honesty and rawness is something I do in my writing and the novels I consider more as friends than lifeless pages of tree pulp are those which have highlighted a truth specific to me.

Toni Morrison encapsulates my view about the relationship between reading and writing perfectly.

Toni Morrison encapsulates my view about the relationship between reading and writing perfectly.

A Literature Comparison
I outright ugly-cried when reading Nervous Conditions in Grade Eleven. I’ve only cried a handful of times in high school. Never over boys, never over exam marks, never over anything really. This book went through the layers of flesh and blood and bone to some part of me that related so strongly and deeply to Tsitsi Dangarembga’s fictionalised Rhodesia.
The same experience was replicated a few years later when I read The Story of an African Farm. I wanted to hide from myself when I read it. I didn’t like looking at mirrors. The novel followed me around, either in my mind or physically and I hated and loved its lingering presence. I couldn’t pin-point why these novels touched me so.
On the surface these two novels mix like oil and water. Olive Schreiner, although liberal and progressive, wrote from a post-Victorian, colonial perspective. Tsitsi Dangarembga wrote from the perspective of a female Zimbabwean intellectual.

Pastiche of home truths
Besides being from completely different eras, they differed entirely from me, too. What would a young Indian girl find insightful from dusty texts written by people entirely unlike herself?

Like Lyndall, I believe in independence. Like Nyasha, I break with cultural norms. Like Waldo, I blindly stumble along my life path. Like all of these characters, I question until I find my truth.

I was and still am a voracious reader of things because I like the duality of knowing something about the creator of the words, as well as the message the words themselves are trying to convey. The authenticity of emotions from the characters can, I believe, only come from a point of reality. These novels speak to each other and to me because what they say is rooted in the tangible reality of the human spectrum of emotions.

C.S Lewis knows what I'm talking about.

C.S Lewis knows what I’m talking about.

I have attached pdf versions of Nervous Conditions and The Story of an African Farm for your reading pleasure 🙂

Breasts series: Part two

Yo. Here’s part two of the Breasts series (it’s SFW, I promise!)


This article is part two of a series dealing with issues around breast lumps by Youlendree Appasamy. It tackles medical processes and more specifically the people involved in them, her mother and a variety of medical professionals (including 2 different male surgeons, two male radiographers and multiple female nurses).

breast cancer graph

This is a reflection on the entire process of finding, diagnosing, treating and living with a giant fibroadenoma leading up to the point I am at now.

View original post 624 more words

Tale of XXtasy and Heartbreak

I wrote this in my first year of Journalism. First, last and only foray into music journalism. lulz.

AudioMob Music Reviews

By Youlendree Appasamy


Oliver Sim of The xx. (Photograph taken by Tom verlie)

Desolate, yet beautiful landscapes – this is what comes to mind when listening toThe xx’ssecond and latest album Coexist.

In fact, The xx have been praised for their use of space and emptiness in their music, most notably by Pitchfork-and as a result every tightly stretched chord is weighted with intense emotion. The xx doesn’t fit into any definitive musical genre but for those pedantic enough to want one I’ll useUncut’s definition, which is: an indie-pop, soul, post-dubstep mash-up. Genre hopping is what makes the band incomparable as it manages to stand out from the overwrought indie-pop and dubstep genres by utilising both simultaneously (and adding some house influences for the hell of it).

The sound is an infusion of raw punk which can be heard in the stripped down guitar…

View original post 370 more words

respectability politics

the history of respectability politics. NBNBNB


Cargo-Cult-Plane a plane built of wood by a Pacific Islander cargo cult in hopes of attracting cargo planes, like those that came during the Second World War.

Respectability politics (1895- ) is a cargo cult founded by middle-class Black Americans. It says that the purpose of life is getting cargo (material wealth, “success”) and the key to that is to act more like White Americans – to dress like them, talk like them, etc. It is why, for example, some people say that sagging pants are holding Black people back.

Apostles: Booker T. Washington, Don Lemon, Bill Cosby, Barack Obama, Chris Rock in “Niggas vs Black People”.

Glory days: 1895 to 1955, from Booker T. Washington’s Atlanta Compromise to the murder of Emmett Till. Its low point was from 1965 to 1984, from Carmichael to Cosby. It seems to be a reaction to racial nadirs, periods of White racist backlash against…

View original post 452 more words