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Toxicity, Fragility & This Skin

Hello friends

I hope you are keeping well, South Africa has been through the hardest times in the past 2 weeks, and so to first, hold space for her healing, hold space for the conversations that need to happen and to mourn with those who have lost loved ones through it all.

And in the world of words and expansion… It's been another amazing week in the water, of joy, and somehow, from my first blog back, talking about the exploring of my humanity, was coming back to share more about this, and perhaps share a most recent story.

On one of the mornings on the Sardine run, I was running late and anxiety gripped me hard... as I made it on to the boat, 5 minutes late, was profuse apologies, and freak, as Rob turned and said 'Zandi, its okay, we would have waited for you, is all okay?'

As I put my life jacket on, readying to go through the surf was a moment of assessing what had just happened. The day before, another guest had run late, and they had walked onto the boat in the fullness of their humanity, they were late yes, but it was okay… they were guests, and in every way, there was no intention, to be late, so why did I behave like… I was any less?

Through the surf was more thought. The realisation that I had spent a fair amount of time recently under toxic whiteness in the water space, and this toxic nature of engaging had gripped parts of me so deeply, I hadn’t begun the work of unpacking the greater effect of being tolerant of white violence, where the power you hold seems to hinge according to the mercies of.

It probably needs therapy, anyway,

It’s a weird thing being Black in a largely undiverse places at times. It means that at times, you have wounds that are healing and before you know it, you are in the next moment, and for as much as your heart is present and true, there is also the hurt and hard of your skin being the first thing that people see and so sometimes, you shield because do you even have the capacity to explain while you’re mending the last wound.

In the days that followed was more healing, and less high walls, I laughed and was in the full joy of this skin, this life, and its entire existence.

In the work towards owning my humanity is this,

  1. To continue to speak past the shaking voice,

  2. To leave places that are violent to the Black body in any way shape or form even if its the Presidents invite because we can create room and access without violence and new trauma to the black Psyche

  3. To learn from, the humans that surround, around what Freedom possibly looks like, what existing matter of factly looks like vs the apologetic departure,

  4. Being weary of keeping company with humans who have not done the work of self awareness and so the consistent justified violence because of many things including lack of understanding of the Black lived experience, privilege, supremacy, access and the many things that are, because in the work of self awareness, when these moments show up, they are not worn with pride seeking to whip your back into submission of theirs being gospel, but conversations meet you both, where you are, without white fragility being the token that polices discussions around problematic normatives and narratives. The 'play' button.

  5. Not every time is THE time to deal race issues, particularly in relation to the water. And so not everyone can have these discussions with you but also, not every time is tea time, you can be selective in protecting your energy.

These are my learnings, not perfected, but endless musings and work.

I recently spoke of how Serena was needed, and how Naomi is necessary, It is needed for us to know that we can thrive and exist in predominantly white spaces despite the violence that can occur, however, it is crucial to know that our wellness in the midst of being at the height of it at times, is just as important.

Happy New week friends,


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This blog post has given me a fresh perspective on the issue. The clarity of thought and presentation is commendable.basket random


Jan Hardenbergh
Jan Hardenbergh
Oct 04, 2022

This is deeply touching to this old white salty water rat who only read it to see if it said what sort of fins a mermaid wears.


Deeply touched by all you write. Toxic Whiteness is also toxic to white people. They just can't see it. Perhaps we are all too distracted by the toys of capitalism, or the manic way we grind towards bigger, better, more. In the process extinguishing the little flame of humanness at our core. Thank you for reminding. Power lies in the ability to protect your fragility.


As I read, you expressed the nuances I continue to feel in these spaces. Not really having a finger on it, on what it actually is. And also feeling I have to be good to be valid, I cant just have an off-day and be an average mediocre black female.

I am still trying to figure out if it is an invisible pressure i put on myself, a me-thing, idk.

Whenever you feel like this again, I will have you in my thoughts as one of the #negus&bishes forging a path for girls that look like you.

Thanks for sharing. I see you.

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