by Ratanang Mogotsi, V-Girl (South Africa)
When the V-Girls enter the Constitution Hill, on February 14, we were stunned to see no one dancing. We heard the sounds of drums and shakers but saw no movement from the crowd, maybe one or two people were dancing, the rest were so focused on getting the timing right and the beat going and in unison. “Why aren’t people dancing?” I asked my fellow V-Girls. “Don’t you worry that’s all about to change” replied Karabo as she moved closer to the stage. I, with my two left feet stayed behind dancing to my own beat.
As the afternoon progressed and more YOUNG people came, the drumming got louder, faster and crazier and the sounds of the women ululating created a sound of defiance and of just letting go. The circle got bigger and people, young and old, male and female danced, toi-toi’d and moved to their own feeling and beat. “Yah, see now people are rising” I said this as I moved closer to the circle, I put my bag down, shook the shyness off and I let my body just BE. My two left feet vibrated with the sounds of the drums and that felt damn good!
The evening activities were more laid back, involving speeches, talks and poetry from different organisations fighting the injustices women face in our society. Men and boys joined in enthusiastically and with heart and passion. It was heart warming to see women and men coming together fighting for a cause which has been fought for so many years by women alone.
Once all the talking was done, the V-Girls invaded the stage yet again. This time around with Karabo’s “I am not what you fear” monologue, this got me all teary-eyed, it always does. Mantala, one of our new V-Girls did a poem titled “emotional-creature” it’s a combination of a poem and rap song and the crowd started reciting with her, the words “I am an emotional creature, so invisible you cannot even see my picture”. I performed “Rising” a new monologue by mama-Eve, someone called me powerful after I performed, I thought the monologue was powerful not me. I took some time out to really think about what power I had. Mmmmmmh, let’s see how we construct this “power” without being too DEEP. Well… I danced, I let go of my shyness, I got my two left feet to co-operate with me and I managed to get a crowd moving to their own beat and that’s what makes me powerful. Sigh, well is this good enough?
Everyone who danced on that night was powerful in their own way but what is important is not the amount of power I had, it’s the amount of power that we all created together along with our own powers in ending the violence that surrounds us and is escalating every second. With one common voice we rise in the spirit of ubuntu (togetherness) to say No MORE, NO MORE, Ke fedetse ( I am done) ONE heart, ONE love and ONE voice, let us continue to shake our bodies freely. I have risen and will continue to rise, this is only the beginning.