[BLACK GIRL LIVE]
“No! This is the lowest charge in one of the highest profile cases. Like what are folks supposed to tell their daughters”.
“The Truth That they love our labour and not our lives So, we have to love ourselves fiercely”
This is a screenshot of a conversation taken from Activist Brittany Packnett-Cunningham’s Instagram account. This conversation was in response to the verdict given in Louisville on the death of Breonna Taylor, a Black medical worker who was shot and killed by police officers in March during a botched raid on her apartment.
Reading the screenshot, I started to think about the ways most women’s names and lives are made hypervisible through tragedy. The statement brought to the surface the precarity of black women’s lives and black queer lives in South Africa; how the acts of rape and murders committed against women are not only heinous, but gruesome violence’s that go unpunished and always condemned with a tweet from the presidency twitter account saying “we condemn the acts of violence against women and children”. We live in a country where the minister of police is more passionate and vigilant about alcohol offenses than domestic violence, and the second violence’s women experience when they report cases at the police station. On 7 September 2020, a woman was shot dead inside Mthatha police station by her husband while opening a domestic violence case against him. We are constantly bombarded by these exhibitions of violence against women, but ironically not nearly as much as we should be, considering that statistically “Every 3 hours, a woman is murdered in South Africa”, and while an every-3-hour public notice might be impactful in highlighting the severity of this crisis, it will not serve the mental state of the lives most impacted by that statistic. Now, more than ever, it has become imperative that we cultivate methods, systems and expressions that insist on Black Queer Women being seen in expressions of love, joy, inspiration, creativity, life – living – alive.
Beyond the aesthetic of it, we must insist on mechanisms being put in place to ensure that black queer women are not only treated and viewed as experiences we take from or exploit, but their – our lives are a humanity that is valuable just by virtue of us being here. That our humanity is not only valuable when it is adjacent to something or someone else, or in service of an agenda.
And whilst we navigate and negotiate living with a health and femicide pandemic, we have to find and produce lifelines for ourselves and each other that will ensure that we not only survive both, but thrive and breathe while doing so, and not become hypervisible, loved and supported when we are at the centre of a tragedy or dead.
“They love our labour and not our lives
So we have to love ourselves fiercely”
And insist on Black Girl’s Lives.
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BLACK GIRL LIVE FELLOWSHIP
Manyano Media is proud to launch the [BLACK GIRL LIVE] fellowship. The fellowship is designed to provide poets and theatre makers with resources and a space to create new work under the mentorship of Koleka Putuma, with the support of Manyano Media.
The fellows and mentor will spend the next two months developing new work which will be staged in Cape Town later this year.
Manyano Media is thrilled to produce and present new works in collaboration with 2021 Fellows, Tshwane-based Poet, Storyteller, and Writer, Hope Netshivhambe and Durban-based Performer, Poet and Writer Ayanda Nxumalo.
Meet The Fellows
Hope Netshivhambe is an international storyteller and Voiceover Artist born in Venda, Limpopo. She attended Vaal university of technology, receiving a diploma in Marketing in 2015 and a certificate in Radio and TV presenting at Oakfields college in 2017. She has shared her work in 8/9 South African provinces. Hope has been featured widely on radio and television. She is the Co-writer and performer of the short film #WeAreDyingHere,recently nominated for best short narrative at this year’s Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) in Los Angeles, CA. Netshivhambe is one of the “2021 Black Girl Live fellows” under the mentorship of Koleka Putuma.
Netshivhambe’s work has been published on digital platforms such as Poetry Portion, Odd magazine, Poetic egalitarianism anthology, Not a single story arts exhibition tabloid newspaper and the Avbob poetry competition website. Netshivhambe was a grand finalist in the 2016/2017 Tshwane Speak Out Loud youth competition slam and in 2019 she braved to participate again and took 3rd place in the same competition. Netshivhambe is one of the speakers for ‘Leadership2020 I was born to speak’ program, a DJ Sbu initiative. She believes strongly in the power of words and is convinced that the world as we know it revolves around words. Hope lives by her self-coined mantra, “Do what you came for; which speaks of purpose."
Ayanda Nxumalo is a multidisciplinary artist who graduated from Durban University of Technology. She is an Actor Singer, Dancer, Poet, Writer who started performing from a young age at church in Nativity plays. She has been mentored and coached by Debbie Lutge, Jerry Pooe, Menzi Mkhwane and many more. She has taught singing to high school students, facilitated in dance, performed in numerous festivals including the Jomba Dance Festival, Community Arts Festival and the National Arts Festival. She is the author of the anthology Drum Beats (2019). Ayanda is the recipient of the Best Singer Award at DUT 2019, Best Actress Award at the Insimu Theatre Festival 2019. She has acted alongside Menzi Mkhwane in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and Hamlet. She sang on the Vula Vala soundtrack, a television series by Mandla Ngcongwane.