By Shameelah Khan
No matter where we found ourselves this year, it was a ghost story.
Death showed up in unimaginable ways.
We began to live in a new world, a world of Covid and it took us into strangeness, emptiness, loneliness, death, suicide, depression, anxiety, extreme poverty and a world of worry began to burden us. We lived through a lockdown. Some continue to find themselves in lockdown, depending on their country. How difficult yet so easy it is to think back to the beginning of this year and recall the first President’s Address, a nation in distress. Panic-buying, toilet paper sagas and cigarettes sold on a (rather fascinating) underground market (I had no idea there were that many random cigarette brands until I did). We had lost jobs in seconds, feared the unknown of the days ahead and heard the silences of a joyless South Africa sweep through our streets.
And then, we learnt to live with the monster and we found new ways to cope. We started living online and we found ourselves having tea dates, attending webinars, wedding ceremonies, lectures, school, musical performances, exercise classes, dance parties and so much more. We learnt to adapt and mold our careers into the new world we were living in. That ghostly-anxiety never quite left us though as privilege became apparent and the hungry died like flies, homes destroyed and people kept wondering when the nightmare would be over. The horrors we witnessed on social media, from men being dragged out of their homes to a wave of extreme increases in GBV and femicide.
Some of us slipped into a coma-like insomnia, where our days became nights and nights felt endless. Others learnt a language, found time to play with their kids and eat at the dinner table. Where many contemplated their own deaths and what it would look like, Self-love was a constant reminder and Netflix changed the course of history I’d say. Madness loomed, lingered and played a game with us. Four walls to get some of us from day to day, a cold-mirror and a touch of anxiety pills. Addiction. Reading. No walking the dogs. No one in the parks. Permits and reasons can get you by. Masks started to become a part of our every day.
We sit now in coffee shops, distancing ourselves but craving so much more. A year gone by. Just like that. Our conversations always end on “I can’t wait for this year to end.” We grew tired, I see it on some of our faces. We no longer want the same things we thought we wanted. Our dreams shifted. Ghosts came in different forms. Maybe unhappiness or maybe critical desires caught up to us. We ate food with a new craving for conversation, we loved each other differently, selectively and appreciated the warmth of those who checked up on us.
This issue includes a special zine by two amazing and inspiring creatives H.K. Moetanalo and H. Lee. Moetanalo wrote an anthology entitled Ghost Stories, which are dreamlike snippets of poetry strung together, telling his story. Lee is creating animation to accompany this Anthology. This special Zine is an ode to the process of Ghost Stories. It is not the anthology but it is a rather a colourful, pastiche and collaborative homage to the aesthetic of process and a “conversation” between Lee and Moetanalo around the bringing to life of the anthology. In many ways, this special Odd Zine, does just that- brings something to life after a very chaotic year.
To read this Odd Special Zine issue Click Here.
Here is to all of our readers. May all of you find your way again as this year comes to an end. May your hearts find ease after loss and love after loneliness.
The Odd Team.
In this issue:
The Chaos of Human Life – Wardah Abbas
Skipping Madrasah – Wardah Abbas
Infidel – Wardah Abbas
Froust Glass – Victor Femi-Lawal
Mother’s body tasted the civil crisis – Edwin Olu Bestman
A time of reckoning – David Kokumo
Colonial Ghosts – Shameelah Khan
Ten Horror Films to Watch This December – Sam Aberdeen
Mixtape: Odd Spirits – Amir Bagheri
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