afropunk joburg: oh, how liberating it is to be us
January 2, 2019
Decolonization is more than just distancing Blackness from its white supremacist conception. It’s also about understanding that Blackness in its essence, us, is plentiful and worthy – it has been all along. It always baffled me that the wearing of traditional dress is limited to special events/occasions, interspersed between the long periods of wearing the dull veils of Western white supremacy. Are we not free people? Had we not turned burgeoning Civil War into a democracy? Why can we only be us on the weekends, holidays and at AFROPUNK?
The community that AFROPUNK is building safe spaces for often comprises of people demonized and excluded from family and culture, owing to archaic ideologies adopted from the very oppressors they lament for killing our culture. Cultures die when they stop protecting people — the very people who breathe new life into what it is to show cultural pride. Here is a generation of people creating, fighting and pushing to be themselves, wholly, every damn day.
These magnificent beings are the reason their cultures will live on. This movement will usher in a new world order in which beads and vibrant traditional garbs will walk through corporate halls and beyond, leaving the realm of special-occasion costume. When we get to be us, we start to understand when we don’t get to be us. That is a compromise we should never have to make as free people — global citizens.
Culture is most powerful when it allows its people the freedom to express themselves. When the history books tell it, it is these beings that will be remembered for their unabashed pride and freedom.
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