If your head is weaved with pubic hair taken off some old Indian woman and you wear plastic nails, hands off Mshoza, you hypocrite! The other day I found myself searching for the meaning of the word natural. I used all the trusted sources; Wikipedia, Wictionary and word finder apps on my phone. I even took out and dusted my old paperback Oxford dictionary. I checked and double checked the meaning of the word in all its forms: Adjective, adverb, noun, synonyms and antonyms. You might be asking yourself why would someone who claims to have matriculated with a pass in English, reads books and has bestowed upon himself the title of writer, not know the meaning of such a commonly used word.
Let me try and explain.
This happened during one of those social media combats, when you find yourself at loggerheads with the Twitter kids, or Facebook’s clever blacks tearing you apart. If my mind holds well, it started on a friend's Facebook post about “Self hate, Identity and Colonial mentality,” or something along those lines. The first comment came from a lady mentioning Mshoza and Kelly Khumalo, ripping them into pieces for their skin bleaching tendencies. The word natural appeared more than a hundred times on the comments section. The said lady went on to express her disgust at "people like Mshoza who don't take pride in their natural self and African beauty". I quickly went to her profile to check her picture and came back to reply to her comment: "Sisi, nawe ufake izinza zeNdiya thizeni ekhanda, hlala phasi”. Needless to say, she removed me from her “friends” list there and then. But not before she showed me two middle fingers and suggested that I should go relieve myself because I suffer from “itswayi”. For those who went to Crawford schools and are not acquainted with township lingo, when someone says to you “unetswayi”, it means that you suffer from a disorder caused by a lack of sexual activity. This is the most unchewable insult you can throw towards a man. But over the years I have trained myself to be numb to insults. So I just laughed out loud.
The debate got heated, but not with much contribution from me; I was just lurking reticently, waiting for another hypocrite to mention Mshoza and her skin or to even utter the word natural. Another woman came in and dissed my Mshoza. This one had a face not too dissimilar to a display inside a Jewellery store in Sandton, with earrings and nose rings all over it. Bling bling! She had pierced her ears top to bottom, her eyebrows, her nose and her lower lip. I pointed out to her that any form of piercing, on any part of the body, is far from being natural. This one did not swear at me, she sounded more matured and educated. I say educated because she wrote me a long academic thesis on the history of piercing and vowed that piercing is in fact an African tradition that our forebears were fond of. She proceeded to ask me if I knew anything about the Kenyan and Ethopian what what clans to which she attributes this “culture” of piercing. I had no words to respond, my uniformed counter argument to that was just a weak, “But it’s still not natural, yes you say its African, but it’s still not natural”.
When you pick a debate with a PhD student (I saw on her profile it said PhD somewhere), you have to be sure of your facts, so that is why I was so obsessed with the word natural that I googled it more than once. I had begun to doubt myself and my limited vocabulary. Of course the dictionary offers different explanations but with the same meaning. But I decided to stick with one meaning as my weapon of defence. Natural: “Existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind”. But I didn't engage Miss PhD any further, I just shrugged. See I'm like Jacob Zuma, I answer only when I'm confident that I have something solid to say, but when I'm defeated I ignore the question and just laugh. He he he hee.
I wish I could tell you that the debate ended shortly after that or I left the topic to catch up with my porn watching schedule. But no. I still waited for another Mshoza hater. This time it came from a doctor. He also wrote me a research proposal with headings and sub headings detailing the complications and dangers of skin bleaching. Thixo wase George Koch! He he he hee.
"This is not a health issue, Doctor, it’s about 'being natural' or the complete lack thereof”. Panado!
I could go on and on, but I think I have made my point. In fact, there is no point. I was just looking for an opportunity to make a confession that I had a crush on Mshoza since we were both kids, I'd always wish I was the boy to whom she directed the lyrics "Mawgqok 'i’sgqoko, wen 'unyanghlanyisa'.