Sunday, January 31, 2016

Militancy, Magic and Melanin!

I have spent this weekend in awe of black women! It started with my hair dresser who somehow always does right by my hair! Then I discovered an American based reality show called #BlackLove which follows 5 black women on their quest for love in New York. All the women are accomplished in their own rights- professional and educated, as well as extremely attractive but they can't seem to land 'the one'. It got me wondering about the challenges black, educated women in their 30's have in finding a man in Johannesburg. Hmmmm...

However today was all about my South Africa black girls, because local is lekker.

Today was the tomorrow Sarafina proclaimed.
And boy were the girls ready 'ziright zigirls' is an understatement! The fashion was on fleek, the song and dance got everyone in the same frame of mind and there a resounding, unspoken air of resilience as we all shared a scared moment in the Womens Jail. Unlike our predecessors we have the privilege of political freedom, its the other unwritten laws that we are jointly revolting against.

True to form I was late, very late. The poster said the event started at 12pm..I arrived at 5pm. I was betting on my melanin because I knew the event did not start at 12pm and would not end at 6pm. I was too late for the speeches, but just in time for the festivities and to connect with other girls who are black like me.This is not an endorsement for Herman Mashaba.

I walked around asking women what the big lesson and take away was for them, at first I was trying to catch up on the speeches I missed, but as I spoke to more girls it was to capture what brought them out of their homes in 30 degree weather in all black ensembles. I spoke to Noni who came structured her trip from Rhodes to coincide with the event, to Chloe who has come from Durban to find the fleeting fortunes of Johannesburg. I also met Raina who is also from Tongaat, like Chloe and it was pure magic to watch them form a bond which will hopefully turn into a friendship.

 "The energy in this environment feels like we are not going to fight because there is no difference in us.." Chloe

I hustled my way onto the stage and met the very sweet natured Maneo who was one of the organisers and fanned out with my fellow melaninaire Panashe Chigumadzi. I admire these women for coming together to bring pieces of the missing middle together for us to build the safe space we shared today. The presence of women of different age groups was a pleasant surprise- clearly 'kugug'othandayo', you are as young as you feel. 

A lot of the girls I spoke to said they could not hear what was being said as the sound was not entirely great, but they stayed and lingered a little longer because of the atmosphere. I could also see the way the girls became bold and fiery when I asked them their opinion on the day, it made me very happy to see this. We need to create more opportunities for black girls to give their opinion on things that matter to them.

 I believe women need them to be unapologetic, confident, and rebel through self hood. 

See you in 3 months...

Update, the footage I took at at the gathering was shared on the international news platform Newzulu, click here to view! Also upvote it after you look at it!

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