When it’s second nature to tally the passengers in a taxi before you get in…
When you automatically look inside to determine the ratio of women to men…
When you check if the ladies at your stop are going to take the same taxi
And you see them making the same calculations you’re making about their safety…
When you work out all the passenger stops along the way hoping yours won’t be the last…
When you berate yourself for being paranoid after the driver tilts the rear view to leer at you, not just glance…
Was he looking at you, you fret,
Or inspecting the old sticker above your head?
When he turns to ‘pretend negotiate’ your sale with the driver in the next lane
and you ask yourself why the fuck you even have to feel this disdain
And wonder if they ever wonder whether their daughters are subjected to such shame…
You realise the burden of your African royalty is:
To them you’re just another taxi queen.
In August I attended POWA‘s Cape Town workshop as part of the Women’s Writing Project. It was an unexpected experience – I went in thinking it would be an informal, structured writing course where I would have no choice but to share personal stories with strangers. Not that I was opposed to sharing – I simply was not prepared for the precious connections I made there with the talented sisters who attended.
The dialogue was stimulating, emotional, sometimes controversial, and always inspiring. We unpacked ourselves; we re-arranged beliefs; we discarded some myths and stereotypes that are irrelevant to our existence. We left at the end of the second day feeling like we had begun something that needed to continue
Yesterday, I met with some of the women again for a few hours. Over sweet treats and personal tales we worked on writing we wished to submit for the 2013 project – the value of feedback from fellow artists is indispensable. POWA provided a cool resource: The Wayward Woman’s Guide to Writing. In it I found this precious gem by Alice Walker:
Be nobody’s darling;
Be an outcast.
Take the contradictions
Of your life
And wrap around
You like a shawl,
To parry stones
To keep you warm.
Watch the people succumb
With ample cheer;
Let them look askance at you
And you askance reply.
Be an outcast;
Be pleased to walk alone
Or line the crowded
With other impetuous
Make a merry gathering
On the bank
Where thousands perished
For brave hurt words
But be nobody’s darling;
Be an outcast.
Qualified to live
Among your dead.
Don’t you just love when Art plays it’s part: unpredictable like the weather and perfectly-timed for each season.
So excited for this!
Gender Equity Unit will be representing UWC, at the UCT-hosted ‘Fresh from Fest’, with its latest Edu-Drama production:
‘Words 4 Women’
This production plays with a variety of stereotypes and the effect is a celebration of women and their bodies. The young student cast uses words and actions to bring powerful and celebratory meaning to words that are often use to demean and oppress women. Through their performance they call on new interpretations of the words in the different languages.
They play, they provoke and they take the audience on a journey of self-reflection. This is one of those productions that make you want more.
Cast: Andisiwe Mpu, Ayabonga Pasiya, Bianca van Rooi, Kolosa Qomoyi, Oneza Nofemela, Sixolile Kula, Ziyanda Daniels
Directed: Wahseema Roberts
Producer: Mary Hames
22-24 July │ 20:30
R25 Students; R50 Public
Arena Theatre, 37 Orange Street, Gardens, Cape Town
For bookings: 0214807129 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For block-bookings: 0219592812 or email@example.com