I have not blogged in such a long time I feel like I might need an introduction (again!). But no, I choose to not introduce myself because my feminist energy is wrecking havok inside me and somehow if I waste another minute she might just get out of my stomach and slap me on the face. My feminist rogue? Mmmmmh, I love her, she understands the power of disobedience.
So, here I am sitting at a conference room for the fourth day in a row surrounded by a group of feminists from across a number of countries in Southern Africa: Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Swaziland. Oh yea, the conspicuous absence of South African participants is rather interesting and exciting for me. One, South Africa needs to back off sometimes because even with feminists we often internalize hegemonic modes of self-assertion that could be translated as selfish, cultic or outright arrogant. I am glad that there are no South African organisations as participants at this school/workshop. It helps to imagine how much a strategy of exclusion could possibly prove beneficial to grassroots feminist movement-building processes. Have I lost you already? Helllloooo my South African feminists! This is me sending you feminist love and solidarity. Ok, as you were! 🙂 🙂 Yes, thank you so much JASS (Just Associates ) for not bringing us in. Oh I fast forwarded there; the second reason I am glad that South Africa is missing from this process is that this opportunity has afforded me honorary South African status! Hey Home Affairs, can you hear me??? I am South African, even if for five days 🙂
Seriously now, I will avoid all the exclamation marks, smiley faces and blah blah blah. I have listened, in the past few days, to stories of HIV and/AIDS-related experiences of sisters from Malawi. Stories that very strongly illustrate the power of (self-)forgiveness, the power of narrative, the power of a collective, the power of…..I am hearing power all over, all around me. I have heard women from Zambia and Zimbabwe mention parts of the female body that many would consider taboo. Vagina, my vagina, a woman’s vagina….uhhhhh this naming is as important as the taking ownership of our bodies. Name it, claim it, re-claim it, own it, use it…Become your vagina, become your body, become a woman, become you. BECAUSE YOU ARE! I hear the voice of Swati young girls who have figured out the KINGDOM and the space that patriarchy allows this small but mighty kingdom to subjugate women. WoW, hell knows I love women. No, I love feminists!
Please don’t ask me how I ended up here…let’s just say that the Feminist Goddess Universe knew I needed this!!! Yet another woman that I love soooo deeply! So my feminist goddess did send JASS to find me and find me Anna et al did 🙂 I know what I am here to do though, well at least according to my contract with JASS not what I have chosen to do beyond that. I am here to document this process and eventually come up with a report (the boring part)…you know why I hate poverty? Never mind.
I have to go peeps but one last thing: it is hard to document and have to restrain yourself from participating in something so cloooose to your personhood. To your politics. I care about climate change but I bet you it would be easier for me to be comfortable with non-participation at a Global Warming Conference! By naming myself a feminist, I share in the vision of all these women. I share in the vision of JASS. I share in the freedom of women from all forms of oppression. I commit to find Patriarchy behind every dark corner it hides in. I commit to unmask and expose patriarchy. Today. Tomorrow. Everyday. I AM A FEMINIST. BODY, MIND AND SOUL.