"Time is as necessary for remembering as it is for forgetting. Even the smallest embrace of pain needs time larger than a pause; the greatest pause requires an eternity, the greatest hurt a lifetime. A lifetime is longer than eternity: an eternity can exist without human presence."
"Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heart-ache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. There is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, to discover what is already there."
"Never think along lines of I and mine. It is death.
~A Question of Power, Bessie Head"
One of Botswana’s most outspoken and prolific writers, Bessie Emery Head was born in on July 6th, 1937, in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa to a wealthy South African woman and black male servant at a time when just ten years prior to her birth the government at the time had introduced the Immorality Act which prohibited extramarital sex between white and black people (it was later amended to prohibit sexual relations between whites and non-whites).
In the 1950s and 60s, Head became a teacher and then a journalist for the popular black publication Drum. In 1964, she relocated to neighbouring Botswana as a refugee as she had been involved with Pan-African politics in South Africa with the anti-Apartheid struggle. She settled in the town of Serowe and after 15 years finally gained citizenship in Botswana.
Most of her most important novels are set in Serowe and involve autobiographical elements, such as the novel Maru which centers around the life of an orphaned Masarwa (Bushman) woman who is orphaned as a baby and raised by an Englishwoman, and eventually becomes a teacher.
Her novel, A Question of Power is based partly on the love-hate relationship she is said to have had with her adopted country of Botswana. Whilst living there, some say she remained somewhat of an outsider and at times she suffered mental health problems, perhaps due to her seclusion, amongst other things.
On one occasion Head put up a public notice making allegations about then President Sir Seretse Khama, which led to a period in Lobatse Mental Hospital.
Bessie Head passed away in 1986 at the age of 48, from hepatitis. Her early death came at a time when she was beginning to receive recognition from her works.
In 2003 she was awarded the South African “Order of Ikhamanga in Gold” for her “exceptional contribution to literature and the struggle for social change, freedom and peace. In 2007, her birth city of Pietermaritzburg renamed the city library in her honor.
Round 1 of Collage Scrap Exchange: Collages by Chrissy Richter, scraps from Sherry Holub. (Scraps received is the bottom photo.)
"Writers don’t write from experience, although many are hesitant to admit that they don’t. …If you wrote from experience, you’d get maybe one book, maybe three poems. Writers write from empathy."
This day in Black American Women’s Herstory …
Originally charged with the 1974 murder of a white jailer, Joan Little was ultimately acquitted on Aug. 15, 1975. Her defense claimed that Little, who was in prison at the time, had stabbed the jailer with an ice pick in defense when he assaulted her sexually.
Little became the first woman in the United States, regardless of race, to be acquitted using the defense that she used deadly force to prevent sexual assault.
Focusing attention on a women’s right to defend herself from rape, capital punishment and racial inequalities in the criminal justice system, Little’s trial aroused campaigning amongst the civil rights, feminist and anti-death penalty movements.
“Those of us — women and men — who are black or people of color must understand the connection between racism and sexism that is so strikingly manifested in [Joan Little’s] case,” wrote activist Angela Davis in a 1975 Ms. magazine article.
“Those of us who are white and women must grasp the issue of male supremacy in relationship to the racism and class bias which complicate and exacerbate it,” Davis continued.
“We are not lovers
because of the love
but the love
We are not friends
because of the laughs
but the tears
I don’t want to be near you
for the thoughts we share
but the words we never have
I will never miss you
because of what we do
but what we are
A Poem Of Friendship by Nikki Giovanni
I wrote a good omelet…and ate
a hot poem… after loving you
Buttoned my car…and drove my
coat home…in the rain…
after loving you
I goed on red…and stopped on
green…floating somewhere in between…
being here and being there…
after loving you
I rolled my bed…turned down
confused but…I don’t care…
Laid out my teeth…and gargled my
gown…then I stood
…and laid me down…
after loving you