Thoughts. Ramblings. Heavy-hipped. Mango-obsessed.

Black History: So Much Things to Say...

I ran a workshop over 'Black History Month' with a group of women - I'd been invited by Inspired Word, a women's collective.

I guess some people assume that you go in as a workshop leader to inspire a group, but in all truth, it really is the other way round for me - I have gained strength, insight and inspiration from many groups. There's a particular workshop experience I will share in a later post about a girl whose wisdom & insight has never quite left me.

I have to say that it felt great to be amongst women - strong women. I've always loved creating/talking/being with/amongst women. We all wrote pieces inspired by Lauryn Hill's version of Bob Marley's song So Much Things To Say. We also talked about the personal significance of the whole commemoration of the passing of the abolition of the slave trade act. It meant different things to each woman. One felt that it was an opportunity for her to really acknowledge the pain her ancestors went through but to also acknowledge their strength, while another felt the commemoration was a sham. I, on the other hand, felt a mixture of anger and boredom at the whole thing - instead of the usual month, in 2007 we have a whole year in which we are reminded we were slaves. It's never really sat well with me.

I took the opportunity to roll us back - to take the focus away from slavery and to write about a time before that. We were never slaves even when we were deemed as such. A rose by any other name...

When they wrote, such truth came out. Such truth about who these women were, are, have always been.

If any of this speaks to you, I'd urge you to try this exercise yourself: imagine who you were before slavery. Write about it. Or paint it. Sing it. Or dance it. Smile over it. Build a shrine over it. And think about what is stopping you from being that person in the here and now. What part of who you were back then can you transfer, transform and embed into who you are now.

When I did the exercise, I wrote this:

I stood solid          big mampy feet       unshaved armpits
looking out over....

      farm   sunset

play      children   sisters

green / connected to the earth

   men & women ruled together   (actually, they didn't rule, they presided)

short orange dusty hair

a runner.

                   South African.
We lived
not survived.

                   Cheeky smile

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