#4: Zaylia Vivienne
Gender activist, writer and multidisciplinary artist, Zaylia Vivienne, checks in to tell us about an activist’s library, visiting Bo-Kaap & District Six, petting a cat daily, and more.
Zaylia Vivienne is an artist, writer, freelance photographer and a gender activist from Cape Town. With a unique ability of merging her artistic sensibilities with her gender activism work, she has become a widely known for martyring and championing femme youth empowerment.
We welcome her to The FRM Newsletter to share what she’s been into recently!
The first time I saw Starry Night by Vincent was at the age of 6 in an art book that I had received from my dad. It was then when I fell for his unique way of making art. He once said, “If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” He unknowingly pushes me to pick up my brush and paint, even if I’m the only one that understands my art.
🐈⬛🐈 Pet a cat, daily.
Cats are an important part of our society. I grew up being surrounded by them. Dogs too, who I also love dearly, but cats have a special place in my heart.
Docs are a staple piece in my closet. When in doubt, I wear them; which is most of the time. They go well with almost all of my outfits. Straight out the box, they do hurt a bit (I use Star Wars plasters to ease the pain) but with time and wear they become your best friend.
‘I Write What I Like’ by Steve Biko is my chosen fighter when it gets to understanding the anti-apartheid struggle through the eyes of a headstrong activist on the frontlines. Another great author would be Professor Pumla Dineo Gqola. She’s behind some of the most informative books that touch on GBV in South Africa such as ‘Female Fear Factory’ and ‘Rape: A South African Nightmare’.
Documentaries, books and movies about ancient Egypt are amongst some of my favourite things to occupy my mind and expand my knowledge with. I’ve always been fascinated by their rituals, myths and the mysterious pharaoh Tutankhamen and one of the most spoken about queens, Nefertiti. They’re peculiar but brilliant and behind some methods that we still put into practice today.
📚 Invest in notebooks.
I am a sucker for notebooks. I’ve got various notebooks for an array of things, but I mostly use them to write poetry or whatever’s on my mind. I keep them in most of my bags because anything can trigger inspo; mostly nature and people in my case.
🏔 Go out into nature and breathe.
Nature is the best gift that we could’ve ever received. It heals, centres one and provides an escape. In Cape Town we’re lucky enough to have the beach, the mountain and various forests surrounding most of us. It is however important to respect nature, it’s animals and avoid littering 💚
🏘🌈 Visiting Bo-Kaap & District Six
For as long as I remember, I’ve never not visited either one of the two or both Bo-Kaap & D6 when I go into town. My grandad has quite a lot of roots in District Six having gone to a school there, while I’ve always just been drawn to the rich presence of culture, togetherness and beauty found in Bo-Kaap. The creativity of the residents of the then D6 and of Bo-Kaap is unmatched.
Visiting a museum is a must, especially museums like the District Six museum, Bo-Kaap museum and the National Gallery which houses brilliant pieces by South African artists (support local, always). I’m all about pushing knowledge on South African history and learning more about my culture, my people and where we stem from, so every bit of information helps.
📸🤳🏽 Sharp Shooter
The best way to preserve something you’d like to last forever is to photograph it. That way you freeze time and are able to experience that moment as many times as you’d like, be it seeing something cool you saw while on the run, photographing your favourite people or just taking a photo of what’s special to you. You don’t need a pricey camera for this. It’s not about the medium that was used to create the image, but more so the way it makes you feel.