Creative Work

November 10, 2020

Hold for sixty, none, two and seven:  a recipe for disaster management 

Nosipho Mngomezulu

My thinking during Covid’s uncertainty has produced a series of to-do lists, schedules and instructions which read like a recipe for controlling my breath through “hold” instructions. As many of us try our hand at baking away our uncertainty, I offer yet another addition to our recipes for disaster management. My sonic and textual recipes are a meditation on four quotidian breathing practices between 06:00 and 22:00, during meditative breathwork (30-60-15), running (3-2-3), smoking (1-2-3) and before sleep (4-7-8). This paper will be an experiment on how to articulate the directions for breathing in, through and around the repetitive cycle of trying to make life livable in the uncertainty of the triple crisis of misogynoir, racial capitalism and a global respiratory pandemic. In an attempt to fashion my own practice of somatic abolitionism, I devised these four recipes to soothe my vagus nerve.  I am interested in the pause, as a gesture towards control. I focus on counting, both as a means of measurement and capturing the rhythm of my breath in a 16 hour cycle. In articulating these instructions, I reflect on how to write in the ephemeral and intangible practice of being, interruption, becoming and unbecoming.

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Nosipho Mngomezulu C

About Nosipho Mngomezulu

Nosipho Mngomezulu holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from the university currently known as Rhodes University (2015). She is interested in contemporary youth identification practices in South Africa and Mauritius. Her research is focused on three interrelated areas (1) how young people imagine the postcolonial nation, (2) intimacy and categorical identification and (3) anticolonial ethnographic practice and pedagogies. Alongside her work as an anthropologist and lecturer, Nosipho is a mentor, podcaster and facilitator. In 2020, Nosipho was named one of Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans, she is currently a lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand. In 2019 Nosipho co-founded a podcast network, Off The Record (, a network of independently produced and published South African podcasts. She cohosts two podcasts, The Academic Citizen and Is This Thing On?