“The worst thing about that kind of prejudice… is that while you feel hurt and angry and all the rest of it, it feeds you self-doubt. You start thinking, perhaps I am not good enough” -NINA SIMONE –

Never  knew why I connected so much with this woman’s voice and songs  so much until now.

We seemingly have nothing in common- she was a trained classical pianist, jazz and soul singer, and a proud African  American  lady ,actively a  part of the  American civil rights movement.

She hung out Martin Luther King! She was born in the 1930’s.


I ,on the other hand was born and grew up in South Africa. I am white. I was born in the early 1980’s when the apartheid regime was crumbling. The civil war moment was Huge.


I watched  the documentary about her life on Netflix  and I identified with this  wild spirit within her.  A spirit demanding justice. She was a  person who had a name but couldn’t truly  own it.

There is a song she sings  – AINT GOT NO -I GOT LIFE (she is simply mesmerizing to watch)


The song ends with her singing

“I am my freedom. I got my freedom.”

That is my connection to her.  For a long time I wasn’t accepted,I may well have been another skin colour.

In fact-  in post apartheid. -early 90’s -I spent most of my teens taking drugs with the coloured or black  and Indian community ( they identify themselves with these terms in South Africa btw ) and increasing less  time with white people.

At various points in Nina’s life she lost her mind.


I nearly became mad.

In fact I am sure I did.

Many times.

I   nearly died -countless times  too.

I was forced out of South Africa because my mother couldn’t stand by and watch me die.

It took 17 years to get  to the person I am today.


I should be dead.  I guess life has bigger plans for me.  It is not for lack of me trying every possible way to kill myself by my hand or another’s..

I have always wanted my freedom to be me in my body  and mind and be comfortable in it.

In my search for Freedom I even became like some feral creature to get it.  I  could say I only imitated what I saw other people do.

Its’s strange how other people are quick to judge. They don’t seem to see that they do the same things to cope.

 Oh,how they just took .





People just took  from me what was useful to them  and discarded me like a used condom. Making sure there was no evidence to be found that linked them with the theft of my own creativity and soul.


People took a lot from Nina – she left the U.S.A. for many years to find her mind and peace.

One of my favourite sayings I always tend to tell people is

“I’m a person with good intentions”

“My actions and heart come from a good place .”

I think I must have picked it up from the lyrics in the song  ‘DON’T LET ME BE MISUNDERSTOOD

“I’m just a soul who’s intentions are good – oh lord please do’t let me be misunderstood”

I’ve often  felt misunderstood.

 I have made one hell of a journey.

So these days if some one misunderstands what I say, I have to pretty much cut them off and be direct and tell them  that they have misunderstood or not heard or misinterpreted what I am saying .


To have soul, you have to be free –

Completely free of your mind and body -you mustn’t covert away any part of you , you must reveal your soul to the entire world.

People will either get you or they won’t but that becomes their problem not mine or yours.

There must be no shame in revealing your soul to the world.

Your story.

Your journey.

Nina  was diagnosed with Bipolar in the 80’s  and I guess she felt displaced.

Bipolar,huh ?

Displaced ?

Now I know that world well.


I felt displaced in so many situations in my life. I did actually do something  Nina did  (at a point in her life)-

I  turned inwards on myself.

I couldn’t win the political game of  “normal” social life.   I never fit in one social group or culture.

I stood out for all to see.


I didn’t fit. Yet, I felt comfortable in more than one place or with one type of people simultaneously.

I didn’t want to have to choose just one set of people to be around. I tried to conform but my soul rebelled

I struggled when I was growing up.

Not being able to fit into one box  came  high levels  of recklessness on my part. I  was probably the first person in my social group who displayed crazy- off her head signs.

It was awful because I was only 13-17 years old.

You could be a certain type of crazy but not my kind of crazy.

People backed up the fuck away…

giphy (3).gif

Never mind that later many of my peers would have had more life experience and with that ,thy had gained a few extra pounds of  experiencing the not so great hand life deals us at times.

There would come a time when many I knew would have  to deal with  whatever  it decides to throw at you. Whenever it chooses to do  so.

 Maybe a few of them went

“Oh,now I get it.”

I took on adult responsibilities from a young age.

I didn’t  fucking want them..

So it then  became a political inquest into my soul…

My soul fled from me – leaped out of my heart, got lost in my head , ran- in search of the nearest exit.

It found that exit in a secret tunnel at the furthest part of my unconscious.   It did a back flip out and  over the balcony of my  mind, landed on it’s feet and made for the ocean.

It went into hiding , to the deepest part of the ocean. A place it knew it could surrender to without protest. It could go with the current and not be examined for doing something as natural as just being its nature and of nature.

giphy (5).gif

I searched to reclaim mine back  for years.

Soul can’t be questioned it must be  felt.

Nina felt stigma,

I felt stigma,

Many feel stigma.

She connected to so many because  she wasn’t afraid to share her humaneness and be her and speak up for ‘her kind’.

She inspires me to carry on  speaking out for people who still suffer inequality with their mental health issues. I will never stop using my voice and writing to break down stigma and prejudice and ignorance.

There are four songs I want to  share that she sang.

 The only way she knew how to help change and shape the world she lived in -was to get political with her music. It killed her singing  career and nearly killed her.

I can’t help but see Nina as such a positive role model for all genders, race, sexuality, age and faiths.

STRANGE FRUIT-   The first greatest protest song. Originally sung by Billie Holliday -another idol of mine


GODDAMN MISSISSIPI –read about the meaning behind the song


This leads me to tell all your Jazz lovers out there that today is Sunday  ( again?)and I kind of accepted to do a challenge.

INTERNATIONAL JAZZ DAY EVENT – from today until the 7th May 2015. If you want to know more about how you can participate stop by Music Teacher Lifestyle for the many ways you can participate.






If you can, I recommend watching the ‘WHAT HAPPENED , NINA? ‘ ‘ DOCUMENTARY ON NETFLIX







25 thoughts on “Freedom

  1. Pingback: IJD Blogging Event Review – Music Teacher Lifestyle
  2. Totally relate. People wonder why I write the way I do. It is simple. I don’t fit in a box and I don’t want to. I write to a broad audience and the small-minded and intolerant just cannot deal… oh well… I’m sensing the same spirit in you. Be strong… and… Bravo!


  3. What a great post – revealing so much of you – speaking your truth! I listened to her so many years ago when a friend of mine played her songs. From what I remember her songs were melancholy with so much emotions.


  4. Daisy…its like this was sent to me from God. I am writing an essay on oppression in the ethnic minority and the prejudices and aversive racism. I am so grateful for you post. Not only does it help me within my tma but mentally you have touched me. I thank you so much


    • Ha ha. had this sense of urgency to write a draft on this post -something I hardly ever do. I think t was your energy trying to get in contact . hah ha”! You must watch the documentary. This should be you last tma now? Aren’t you studying with the OU ?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes I an studying with the ou. I’m writing about eugenics at the moment and the Darwin theory. I also had a conversation about a film called freedom writers. You daisy…are my message from God. X

        Liked by 1 person

      • I had to google that – ha ha- wow! Bit of a controversial topic you are studying. I’ve seen the film. It was such a long time ago . It’s always awesome to help some one any whatever capacity. Good luck with your degree in ?


  5. Daisy, I love the way you draw connections between yourself and Nina Simone. It really says a lot about who you are and I’m glad that life has more in store for you. 🙂


  6. I see you also put the Jazz Award as a widget <3…my heart is filled. And this post…is just awesome and powerful! Thank you for including this on the JazzDay celebration. I didn't have these experiences, I couldn't put this in words at all. I love it! 🙂


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