Daughter of a Mafia King

Lindiwe Mayisela

I am a daughter of a mafia.
A daughter of drug riddled legacy, whose wealth is laced with lines of white powder.
With borders crossed from Nigeria, to Italy to South Africa, my predecessors built an empire that now resembles my shattered integrity.

The kind of shattering that leaves lives cracked up, all in the pursuit of wealth?
Well, my wealth comes at the expense of others and I now take on the heredity reigns, with the sole purpose to move our agenda deeper into the veins of our people. I am left proud to continue building the legacy as my father did from my father’s father and his father’s father, yet ashamed of the deterioration I cause from your children and your children’s children.

Daughter of A Mafia King is a series depicting the conflicting journey a daughter of a Nigerain Mafia has to face as the successor a drug riddled inheritance as she takes on the reigns of what her ancestors have built to further the empire of a cocain business. She finds herself conflicted in this journey as she now assumes the role of a beneficiary to world that interrogates her conscious. She is simply put, “Yarin Ya Shugaban Mafia” which translates to “Daughter of a Mafia King” from the Nigerian language of Hausa.

In the 1980s Nigerian men had decided to explore and move over to other countries as means to generate other streams of income. Italy, was one of the territories to be explored and it is there where they learnt the workings of the Mafia. Thus, impressed with the Mafia’s means of trade, this new developed Nigerian Mafia looked towards South Africa as pastures to begin a lucrative empire in selling cocain. Here they settled and had sons and daughters, expanding this into a family business. With this generational succession, one was taught pride and honour to take on the reigns, in which most case was a son. In the instance where it was a daughter, the honour was deeper as this was not usually the case. We look at a daughter who is well aware of the history of what it took to build their family business. And she is left conflicted with family pride, yet disgust in knowing the physical and emotional depletion that cocain causes individuals and their families.

 

 

Her conflict is depicted in the dark colours of clothing, juxtaposed by lines, which oddly enough is the contrary to her not so simply linear life. We see that the lines are also a signifier of the white lines that drug addicts engage with. There is also a constant theme of black and white to demonstrate this war within herself. This is seen with monochrome pieces of dark clothing with lines of white. It beckons one to question which side of morality is she on.

Images with sharks encircling her illustrate the kind of threat she is to an honesty society, yet by looking at her on face value, one would never suspect danger to be so closely embracing her as she looks as an affluent, well put together and fresh individual.
Later we see her in a more bare state, as she knows that if she were to be naked in transparency, a sense of shame would accompany her bareness. Standing in her truth would offer no protection and bring about a kind of shameful nakedness.

Images of bright coloured fish serve as a reminder of her childhood. An innocence, once encircling her with dreams of a colourful future. Bright is the naivety that follows a child, for their idea of the world is optimistic. It is this conflict that she is fighting with internally, yet at the crux of it all, this is her legacy of being a Daughter of a Mafia.

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Jojo Abot – A Ghanaian artist based in South Africa.