When we hear the word feminist - what goes through our minds? Trouble makers? Politics and Women's Rights? Too female females? Boring? Exciting conversation? For us By us? an area I can relate to? A time to have my say?
This excerpt from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi's WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS resonated with me well:
''Gender is not an easy conversation to have. It makes people uncomfortable, sometimes even irritable. Both men and women are resistant to talk about gender, or are quick to dismiss the problems of gender. Because thinking of changing the status quo is always uncomfortable.
Some people ask: "Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?" Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general - but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women. That the problem was not about being human, but specifically about being a female human. For centuries, the world divided human beings into two groups and then proceeded to exclude and oppress one group. It is only fair that the solution to the problem acknowledge that.''
I won't even try to unpack this passage in any way but say - It is what it is and it is so. Why should I quieten the voice within me and the female that I am? Why should I not be who I am? Why should I shy away from my full expression of self for the sake of what others think or feel? When I hear the word feminist, why should I be apprehensive or uncertain or uncomfortable? Why should you?
Thursday 19 March at the Bean Republic on Corlette Drive Melrose brought with it an evening filled with love, joy, understanding, education, inspiration, motivation and expectation of the more that is to come. 8 women met, spoke, thought amongst themselves and then acted and implemented the Feminist Stokvel - Hair Soiree. I was going to explain what stokvel means but I keep digressing into long explanations - South Africans will relate and I think that it why it was chosen in particular for this network of women. It won't just be a collection of funds although there will be eventually a subscription of sorts but it is a collection and sharing of thoughts, ideas, information, care, love and education.
The Eight or maybe I should come up a with more classy name for the 8 founders as they are indeed forerunners and world changers and they include: Kavuli-Nyali Binase, Wisaal Anderson, Danielle Bowler, Millisuthando Bongela, Panashe Chigumadzi, Lebo Mashile, Lebogang 'Nova'Masango,and Pontsho Pilane. (Each name contains links to more info on each individual).
Preach!Lebo Mashile did a great job of chairing the proceedings of the evening. The ladies explained what the event was about which in summary is a platform for us women to be inspired, educated and reinvented if I can use that word, not just by them but by each other, a platform by us and for us with the Hair Soiree being one of many events to come. The platform has discussions etc. having hair as the basis but not exclusive or just about hair. As we all know hair has many dimensions to its being and the fact that this hair in particular is on the heads of women explands the dimensions even more (: As diverse and unique as we are, us women, it will be a non-judgemental - free - space to not only share who we individually but also BE WHO WE ARE. (Danielle gave us some info on what is to come captured in the video below)
Wisaal and Kavuli gave much insight into shampoo and conditioner and many useful tips on hair care and even more hair care knowledge was obtained from members of the audience. Questions were answered, comments were made, the atmosphere was just one of love and sharing and we didn't want the evening to end.
Just a side note - and I have said this in the past - it is great when we all come and listen to understand rather than listen to reply...
This was just pure togetherness and we left wanting more and are certainly looking forward to more. The next meet-up is scheduled for Thursday 23 April. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details or to book your seat.You can also follow @feministstokvel on Twitter and Instagram and they have a facebook page The Feminist Stokvel .
Listen to your hair - listen to your voice - listen to you.