The Strong Black Woman Burden …

It has been calling me; it has been calling out to me

In many different ways it has been calling me

It called and called out when Feminsta Jones wrote:

“I want black women to be valued for more than our ability to suffer, endure pain and love black
men without reciprocation”

It called.

And it called again when Tshepiso Gower wrote:

“The narrative of all-conquering, all-enduring stone cold warrior of a black woman is unnecessary.
When do we get to be delicate and with whom…?”

It called further.

But then Olivia sat in Scandal’s fictional Oval office, and in that moment of glorified self-sacrifice,
self-assassination, pleaded: “Sit there and watch me choose you”; poured a whiskey and washed
away her being, obliterated her reputation; then it began screaming, and there, I absolutely had to

There are two options available to a black woman, two options of being:

A black woman can either be ‘a strong black woman’ or ‘a gold-digging hoe’. That is the sum total of
what you are allowed to be. Anything else, anything in-between is inconsequential, anything else is
in fact non-existent. You are only allowed those two, and even those two have nothing to do with
you. They are about men, predominately black men. They are about how much you can do for a
man, how much you can support him, how much you can further his dream to the total exclusion
and abandonment of your own, how much you can tolerate and forgive and love, while receiving
very little to nothing in return. They are about how much of yourself you are willing to let die.
Or of course, how much you are not willing or how little you are willing behind option ‘gold-digging

I don’t want to be a gold-digging hoe. It seems like a lot of gardening and manual labour is not my

I do not want to be the hoe but I also do not want the death and burden of being a strong black

I do not want to be strong, I want to be unburdened.

I do not want to always have to be in pain, to be hurt and then be expected to endure, because I can

I do not want thick skin. I want to shed my already over-developed thick skin.

I want to be fluffy and soft, I want feathers sliding off my delicate un-scaled skin

I do not want to die to die

But I do want to be loved. I want to be appreciated. I want to be loved and appreciated for being
passionate and delirious and crazy and mad and intelligent and opinionated and beautiful – although
not so beautiful on most Thursdays. I want to be adored. I want to be nurtured. I want to be cared
for. I want to be weak and have weakness and argue and disagree and still be adored.

I want to be unburned. And that is the only call which I want to answer.

Writer: Nomfundo Shezi