The concept of Ubuntu dictates that umuntu ngumutu ngabantu. Motho ke motho ka batho. This concept subscribes to the processualism of ubuntu. In the African…
Napo Masheane one of South Africa’s a multi-award winning poet, playwright and one of the leading matriarch theatre-makers in South Africa recently premiered virtually a thought-provoking choreopoem play called ‘My Vagina Was Not Buried With Him’, at the Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA) alongside other internationally renowned artists/ performers from Canada, Jamaica, Sudan and the United Kingdom.
My Vagina Was Not Buried With Him is a heart-rending choreopoem-play that explores the self-mutilating circus of trauma which has painted a lot of sister-friends as poster faces of femicide in South Africa. Three out of many of these young women made it into media headlines sparking a huge hashtag movement: #AmINext #MeToo #NotJustAHashtag #MenAreTrash… and they were: Karabo, who was declared missing only to be found burnt alive by her boyfriend. Nene, who was raped and bludgeoned by a man who had earlier served her at the local post office, and the eight-months pregnant Tshego, who was stabbed to death by her boyfriend’s best friend and found hanged on a tree.
This choreopoem told through the story Nthate’s, a Mosotho makoti (bride), who holds a microscope over fears that many young girls and women live under. With this finds herself conflicted and in a state of utter desolation as she struggles to cope with the dire expectations imposed on her as a Mosotho woman and even the perils she’s forced to live with even after the death of her husband. The barriers and lines between life and death are then blurred as they bridge between the spirit world and the real world. The three sister-friends evoked by Nthate’s tears at the graveside; claw their ways out of their own graves to rescue and silence Nthate cry. Through tears, laughter, resistance, beauty and humour, the four sister-friends set a course for a life changing journey and embark on road-trip, which will go against traditional and cultural norms as well as exultantly ensuring them to search, find and reclaim their vaginas back.
Masheane also best known for her provocative and humorous plays such as; My Bum is Genetic Deal With It, The Fat Black Women Sing, and KHWEZI…Say My Name, which is a stage adaptation of Redi Thlabi’s book KHWEZI… The Remarkable Story of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo… explains why this choreo-poem play like many of her plays pulls at the heartstrings of the plight that many South African women are facing, if they will be next.
‘My Vagina Was Not Buried With Him’ explores gender-based violence and femicide in a manner that peels off layers of trauma from our experiences. Yet theatrically it is hand woven as choreo-poem, interlaced and fabricated by these four voices; infused in strong narratives and physical theatre, while it prides its self in poetic-accapella-vocal sounds held by a collective force that affirms that all of us (women) are made of trauma, bounded by wounds, and our scars are the only way we know how to exist and survive or even will be remembered.
‘My Vagina Was Not Burried With Him’ is not only a necessary piece of theatre because of its relevance but is also a significant reminder that the arts have an important role to play in society. And I am honored to be using my voice as a storyteller to contribute to the ongoing conversation and fight against GBV and other injustices suffered by women and young girls in South Africa and Africa as a whole.
Masheane, who is the Managing Director of Village Gossip Productions, a collaborative, multi-disciplinary production and theatre company, is artistically collaborating and co-producing, ‘My Vagina Was Not Buried With Him, with Clive Mathibe from 2nd Round, as the director of the choreopoem. Mathibe, in his own right is a prolific theatre maker, television and live & interactive media writer/director and creative producer, who has been involved in the arts industry for over a decade. He recently just directed a successfully sold out play at the Market Theatre, ‘Father Come Home: Tate Etla Gae’, an adaptation of Es’kia Mphahlele’s book with the same name.
Masheane, an internationally recognised trailblazer who became the first black woman to write, produce and direct a play called: A New Song, at the Market Theatre’s main stage (John Kani theatre), presently sits as the advisory board member, under performing arts, at Stockholm University Of The Arts (Sweden) and currently a guest lecture at SP Escola de Teadro (Brazil) where she teaches African Theatre History.
‘My Vagina Was Not Buried With Him’ will have its opening night on the 19th of March at the Joburg Theatre and will then move to open at the Soweto Theatre on the 24nd of March.
Soweto Sunrise News