YHO! EISH…THOSE WERE THE WORDS THAT CAME FROM THE LIVE TEAM AFTER THE CHALLENGE OF GETTING A TATTOO WAS PRESENTED. PEOPLE QUESTIONED THEMSELVES: IS IT NOT PAINFUL? I’LL HAVE TO THINK ABOUT IT…
After all long hours, we decided to go for Mawande, one of the quietest guys in the team. Although he’s a quiet guy, he likes sharing jokes. He is a writer as well as a photographer, and grabs each and every opportunity that comes his way. And believe me, he would never let you down. But when it comes to needles…he might let you down. He was scared of needles while he was still in primary school in the Eastern Cape. In rural areas kids are taken to clinics to get vaccinations, and that’s when Mawande’s fear of needles began.
This was the first time for Mawande to consider getting a tattoo, and he was a bit confused on what kind of tattoo he wanted. Thinking about the challenge, he already looked like someone who lost his dog.
On the way to the tattoo studio to face his worst enemy (needles) I could easily see that he was scared. He complained about not feeling his legs. We decided to keep him as freaked as possible by asking him some questions about why he wanted a tattoo and what he expected to happen. “I think I’m going to feel some pain, but not sure how much,” he said.
We arrived at the studio, “SINS OF STYLE”. Two girls were under the needle. Mawande’s fear and sweat couldn’t stop dripping, especially when he saw those two girls walking out of the studio with their tattoos — now it was his turn. He was so scared he didn’t want to remove his t-shirt from his arm. Meanwhile, the sounds of needles buzzed inside.
The studio was not as big as we expected. Looking at unfamiliar tattoos pictured on the walls, I felt like I had entered a forest or was in a scary movie. Suddenly we realized that this was no child’s play. We asked Tyler B. Murphy, the studio’s owner and the tattoo artist, how he deals with people who are afraid of needles but want a tattoo. “I don’t babysit,” he replied.
“When you are getting a tattoo, it’s like writing exams — you have to relax, eat well, be yourself and make good decisions,” Tyler added. He also advised that people choose tattoos with a strong meaning for them so they won’t regret it when they are old.
After our chat, it was another fifteen minutes while Tyler was designing Mawande’s tattoo before needle and ink penetrated his skin.
Once the challenge started, Mawande couldn’t stop talking. “It’s so painful. How far is he? It must be this DLAMINI that is killing me, maybe if i should have written MIYA – that has four letters. Jah, I can feel it, that DLAMINI is killing me. I smell a braaied beef guys.”
Rolling on the chair while Tyler inked his tattoo, Mawande could hardly open his eyes. The tattoo he chose is a “claddagh” (pronounced claw-da). It’s an Irish symbol usually including two hands, a heart and a crown, respectively representing friendship, loyalty and love. From my point of view, the tattoo wasn’t clear because of the ink all over Mawande’s arm.
“This DLAMINI, ZITHA, LANGA, FAKUDE, NGXIM’NOBOYA THAYENA,” Mawande said, praising his clan name (these are parts of his clan name, extended the way a praise singer would name them when praising his people.)
A few minutes after Mawande had finished praising his clan name he told us something funny. “This DLAMINI is going to cost me – I wont be able to date a girl who’s clan name is DLAMINI, because we will be kind of related.” At least he still had a sense of humour.
AFTER THE CHALLENGE WE ASKED MAWANDE ABOUT THE CHALLENGE EXPERIENCE: WHAT CHANGED? WOULD HE DO IT AGAIN? THIS IS WHAT HE HAD TO SAY:
“It was tough, painful, although I was kind of strong. Nothing has changed. I think I have a fear of needles. I will never ever do it again unless I can have pills that will make me sleep so that I won’t feel pain.”