send it on.

somewhere a boy, inside

guts have guts, brave and small

on the ground, looking to lay there.

a boy afresh with gratitude, arms wide on all sides,

present as presence, at the very least.

a love growing, his father?, don’t get starting.

it is what it is. looking for the mess we made,

never should we lessen your glow.

somewhere boys intensify

fear spitting the whole damn way

a channel of water rushing from the ground,

boys, somewhere, smoking at the ground.

pathways laid and set know their use

although here. a way forward never recalling where it came from.


young’n confusin’

tolerance for acceptance,

begging difference, looking through

permission to do for me as we did for you

drinking colour into our smiles

harvesting worlds anew

saying, that’s dope, you’re becoming human

finally. clutching bad feelings with good intention.

this boy Mlondi,

in disrespectful condition

an imagination infant-like

gasping for a life lived

a boy-boy is born.

stars kissing the ground

who cares how we got here, we’re?

-living not dying as they said.

short life expectancy expected

sometimes a boy survives.

some boys don’t change as they could

limiting possibility, for a crave to impress.

who cares how we got here,

grab a homie by the pinky, waltzing him under the lamp in a room filled.

with wonder he extends a kiss, kissing back.

asking what that meant, tell him everything!

dear life lived, before you learnt how to end yourself


by the hallways of terrible walking.

wherever you are now

loved boy,love, boy.


This work extends itself from my Masters Research titled: Touching on the Untouchable: Contesting contemporary Black South African masculinity and cultural identity through performance. I began thinking: In Being a Black man looking closely at the condition of my maleness, I find, at first, that the longer one looks at themselves in the mirror, the face begins to change – blur almost. As a Black man I look to move beyond what Butler (1990) calls the ‘fantasy of coherence’, in order to begin from the root. The root of the production of my maleness, the ground that my maleness rests on, the core of what supported and continues to support its production and the pieces of knowledge that have served as nourishment to its production. As a reflective reckoning with and of self, I search through by stepping tentatively and boldly into my maleness. To search through, I believe, stands as an act of believing in the possibility of being open and of finding an opening. Running through the length of my experiences I understand that the production of my maleness within its heteronormative and patriarchal underpinnings, is nothing but a general misconstruing of self. I continue on continuing on…

Mlondi Headshot


mlondi. is a researcher, director, aspiring writer, performer and co-founder of noise inside. mlondi’s. practice engages with the simultaneously private and public performance of black maleness and cultural belonging, and the slippages between intimacy, desire, playfulness and violence that bedevil the navigation of (heteronormative) relationships among black men. through this, mlondi. is led into his research through a keen engagement with: performance studies, language production, cultural studies, and music.

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