TSSF Journal, Issue 1

21557634_1659386047418854_6416383593060390209_n.jpgThe first issue of The Single Story Foundation‘s Journal is now live.

I strongly recommend downloading it and reading it on your computer or e-reader. The layout is stunning. (I can say that, because I’m not the one who formatted it.):

For those that cannot do so, you can read it in blog form here: http://journal.singlestory.org/

Many thanks to my fellow editors Tolu Daniel and Genna Gardini. Also thank you to TSSF founder Murewa Olatodera Olubela and our volunteers, Husband, Julie Keeton Bracker and Moira Richards.

We hope you enjoy.


Khwezi: The remarkable story of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo by Redi Tlhabi

36242923– My real names, dear. Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo. –

– In a way, the rape of some women and children in exile debunks the heroic narrative of the struggle. It also debunks dominant patters of self-glorification. The ruling party has, largely, been in denial about this, choosing instead a narrative that speaks only of the heroism and sacrifices of so many gallant comrades – a narrative that is true, but incomplete. –

–It has probably become more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in armed conflict. –

– Society should do its own introspection and ask why it was, and is, eager to accept the version of a man who can state, in a court of law, that he has consensual sex with a child. Our societal mores have enabled this.
It is shameful. –

– The rules of the cultural beliefs that Zuma claims to hold dear dictate that your friends’ children are your children. –

Publisher’s Link

House of Spies (Gabriel Allon #17) by Daniel Silva

34120187– “The enemy is determined,” he declared, “but so are we.” –

– A few terrorism analysts expressed surprise over the fact that the statement made no mention of anyone named Saladin. The savvier ones did not. Saladin, they said, was a master. And like many masters, he preferred to leave his work unsigned. –

– Mainly, he wondered how Chiara managed to care for the children alone, day after day, without collapsing with exhaustion or losing her mind. Running one of the world’s most formidable intelligence services suddenly seemed a rather trivial pursuit by comparison. –

– The Jewish people had drained the malarial swamps, watered the deserts, and prevailed in three existential conflicts against an enemy far greater in number. And yet a Palestinian with a pack of matches could bring the northwest corner of the country to a standstill and threaten its third-largest city. –

– The notion that a modern England might not be a cultural paradise appeared to come as a shock to Brady Boswell. He was one of those Americans who formed their impressions of life in the United Kingdom by watching reruns of Masterpiece Theater. –


Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, a Student and the Life-Changing Power of Books by Michelle Kuo

35652747.jpg– You want to believe that you do not at all resemble what you see. You want to believe that your town’s decay is not a mirror of your own prospects, that its dirtiness cannot dirty your inner life, that its emptiness does not contradict your own ambitions – that in fact you were born linked to beauty, to the joyous power of resurrection. –

– He stretched his neck, making a loud crack, and I realized how hard writing could really be. Physically, it changed you. You forgot to breathe. Your hand hurt. Your shoulders were sore. –

– In 2006, in a majority black area, where cotton production and slaveholding had once skyrocketed in tandem, one of the city’s rare public spaces still memoralized the Confederate cause. –

– [My parents] didn’t read to me, because they were afraid I would adopt their accents. They cared so little for their own histories that they didn’t make me learn their native tongue. For them the price of immigration had always been that their children would discount them in these ways. –

– Most public debate about the plea bargain has focused on urban areas. But its effect on the rural South was, and is, disastrous. –


A Manual for Heartache by Cathy Rentzenbrink

27202332.jpg– Perhaps heartbreak is what happens on impact, and heartache is what we are left with as time passes, once the dust settles, when we are able to look up and around us but are still shrouded in sadness. –

– I wrote this for myself, but also for you, so that even as your heart breaks and aches, and you can’t imagine how you will ever feel better, you can know you are not alone. –

– Life will never be the same again. The old one is gone and you can’t have it back. What you might at some point be able to encourage yourself to do, and time will be an ally in this, is work out how to adjust to your new world. You can patch up your raggedy heart and start thinking and feeling your way towards how you want to live. –

– [On “Everything happens for a reason”] I’m not a violent person but being told this has always made me want to punch people in the face. It’s an attempt to mould other people’s distress into a belief system. If there is ever a time to seek meaning in tragedy – and I’m not sure there is – it certainly isn’t in the immediate aftermath. –

– It has taken me over twenty years of getting depressed to realize that, for me, depression is a process of disintegration and reconstruction. My jigsaw scatters across the floor and the, eventually, I build myself anew. –


A Jihad for Love by Mohamed El Bachiri,

35050701.jpg– By writing about love, I come closer to your shining face. –

– Just consider me a dead man.
A dead man giving a lesson in life. –

– I’m a Muslim, first of all by birth, then by conviction.

I inherited Islam. –

– Life no longer tastes the same to me, but the setting sun is still glorious. –

His TedX Talk, English translation in the comments

Review for the Sunday Times: http://bit.ly/2xal8Io

Reflecting Rogue: Inside the Mind of a Feminist by Pumla Dineo Gqola

36027344– I write because it is the only way to fully be me. –

– The very act of rape is only conceivable as “artistic” when it is doubly mythologised: in the insistence that it be read exclusively as metaphor and in its distancing of the rapist into non-human form. –

– Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela [:] “[w]hat kind of uhuru is it if the exercise of the right to stand up means that we are exposing ourselves to potential abuse?” –

– To be a literary woman is to wade through the supposedly well-meaning cautionary words – be careful, do not dream too ambitiously, there are not enough readers, there isn’t enough time, the work is thankless – words laced with less well-intentional doubt and sometimes sabotage. –

– To be an African feminist writing, rioting woman on the continent is to be engaged in constant self-defence against erasure of an African feminist tradition, to begin anew, to be invited to refer to first / second / third waves which obscure and deny the long presences of African feminist movements and imagination. –

– She cautioned against praising [her husband] for being a good father for doing what is taken for granted when mothers do it. She was not questioning how good a father he was. She was reminding all of us that we normalise good, full-time parenting by treating it as normal. –


Born on a Tuesday by Elnathan John

27214023.jpg– I have learned to tell lies to escape bad memories that come from telling my stories. –

– I hate it when a dictionary defines one word with another word I do not know. –

– Sometimes you do something and it is only after that you think of the why. Sometimes there is no why. –

– When our women and children can’t read and write, is this supposed to help them take over Nigeria? –

– ‘Were you wondering what the moral of the story was?’ he asks, turning around.
‘Yes, Sheikh,’ I reply.
‘There is no moral. I just felt like telling you a story.’ –


Last Night by Tiah Marie Beautement

moon-and-dragon-108761_64010th of September is Suicide Awareness Day. To honour the day, FunDza has published my story Last Night.

Story summary: Meet Hope. She’s got a nice life – two loving and hard working parents, a nice house, private school, and never misses a meal. But her mind has turned on her. She’s named the monster of depression Tar Beast. And to battle it, she created a dragon – her dearest friend and protector.

Chapter 1

“I was going to tell you a story from long ago. It was a tale with werewolves and magic, elves and goblins, and things that whisper in the breeze,” I said.

“That sounds nice,” said the dragon. My imaginary friend was curled up in the corner of my perfect and beautiful bedroom, with her paws drawn under her chin, watching in the dim light.

I wanted to get out of bed, ask her if I could climb on her back, go for a ride, have her take me far from here. She had wings. Massive ones, that, when spread out, would dwarf my house. I could have held on to one of the many black and shiny horns that that ran from the top of her head and down her mighty back.

But all I said was, “It is a nice story.”

“I believe you,” she said. “And as soon as you want to tell it, I’m here to listen.”

I tried to nod, but couldn’t. Not that there was any point. Wasn’t much point to anything, these days. I was too tired for any of it. Even sleep. Two years ago, I would have laughed at anyone who told me that a person could be too tired to sleep. But now I understood: a person really could be so exhausted from existing, that all there was to do at night was wait for morning.

Morning is for washing, breakfast, shiny teeth, and tidy hair.
Morning is for packing homework, tennis kit, and piano books.
Morning is for shoulders back, posture straight, and smiling.

Because everything was good. Great. Wonderful. “I’ve given you everything I never had,” as my mother always said.

“Be grateful,” as my father always said.

“You are ungrateful,” Tar Beast hissed from my bed. “So ungrateful.”

I stiffened, as my imagination shifted and my evil mental-nemesis, Tar Beast, took over. The sheets turned to sticky muck, sucking me deeper into the bedframe. I wildly casted about for my dragon, but she was fading into the floor, to dwell where my good stories now lived.

I used to be a great storyteller. The best.

“Hope is a little liar,” my mother always said.

“Hope has an overactive imagination,” my father always said.

“Worthless,” Tar Beast hissed from my bed. “Wasting your time, always wasting your time, when you could be using it for something practical.”

Tar Beast sent up a long thick tentacle, dripping with muck, and wrapped it around my ribs, pulling me closer to its lair. My breath came out in short sharp gasps – faster than if I were doing tennis drills. Flames licked my lungs, as another tentacle closed over my mouth, the suction cups fastening to my flesh.

Help, I wanted to shout. But I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t groan. Air – snuff, snuff, snuff – made it through my nose, but it wasn’t enough. My heart picked up the pace–

“Relax,” Tar Beast purred. “Let go, just let it all go. You didn’t want to grow up to be a doctor, anyway.”

True, but the words remained inside me. Trapped by that thick, slimy, tentacle, sucking my face, robbing me of my voice. So ‘True’ was left to sink into my soul, sending out its inky poison, reminding me of all the ways I had failed.

“They didn’t spend all that money for you to throw it all away,” Tar Beast sang, dragging me further into the muck. “They deserve a daughter who appreciates the things they provide, a child who gives one hundred-and-ten-percent.”

True, I thought. I hadn’t even tried to speak this time. No point. Because I knew there was no way I’d live through the night. It hurt too much.

Click HERE to read Chapter 2

The Seagull (Vera Stanhope #8) by Ann Cleeves

35963210.jpg– Sometimes it felt as if her whole life had been spent in the half-light; in her dreams, she was moonlit, neon-lit or she floated through the first gleam of dawn. Night was still the time when she felt most awake. –

– Vera was restless. She couldn’t sit still and she’d never seen the point of walking around outsidejust for the sake of it; she watched the hikers with their boots and walking poles who strode past her cottage and thought they must be mad. –

– Seagull? What’s a seagull? There are herring gulls, black-headed gulls, common gulls. But there’s no such species as a seagull. –

– It seemed a sort of magic: all this information from a heap of bones. –

– I do like a sense of humour in a villain. –