The Feminist Stokvel's 3rd Hair Soiree - Texture Discrimination: The Problem With 'K*ffir Hare' ... Not!

Above: Just an example of texture discrimination - 'They believed that because our hair is curly and short, its falling hair'
Kaffir Hare - terminology I grew up hearing, might have even been called this or called my own hair this as well as might have even called others this - knowing the meaning and the origins of the term but not truly grasping the implications or history of the phrase and its numerous connotations. 
Kaffir Hare - a phrase loaded thick with so many emotions and that can ignite and call forth so many other responses or reactions. 
Kaffir Hare - rooted in the apartheid era and used to describe a black person's hair. 
Kaffir - a degrading term used in South Africa to call a black person.

The last Saturday of June 2015 brought with it the long awaited Feminist Stokvel Hair Soiree - the third installment from the beloved Feminist Stokvel Team (more like Queens). (Read my previous post with details of the first Soiree HERE). The topic for discussion - Texture Discrimination: The Problem With 'Kaffir Hare'. The Venue was aptly chosen being Constitution Hill (you can read more about Constitution Hill HERE) and sadly it was my first visit to the historical site. I will be returning there.
 From the Left Above a)Some footage from an orientation video we watched before the tour began. b)Some of the lovely ladies c) The tour-guide showing us the areas we were to view 
Above: 'It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails'
Going through the pictures I had taken to include in this post really humbled me all the more. To think of what the many women and men who have gone before us and what they had to endure not just to live but to survive and not just for themselves but to survive for the rest of us, where would we be, where would we even begin without them. We take so much for granted, our hairlines included.

  Above: Images taken from one of the holding cells is Section Four - if you can imagine a cell made to fit x amount of people and yet filled with x+ y + z and then some. There were specific sleeping arrangements that prison gangs enforced with gang leaders having the best of what was available even if it meant taking it from other prisoners.

 The proceedings were to start at 12 noon and we found signs across the venue directing us to the meeting point so no-one would get lost. The plan was to start with a tour of Constitution Hill which included a tour of the various prison sections, essentially the so called 'native's section and isolation cells', Sections Four and Five which were primarily for non-white prisoners and the Women's Prison Ward.
There was a bit of a wait as the few who had arrived on time awaited the arrival of others and also awaited the start of the tour which only began around 12:30 thereabouts. 
It was a rather cold Saturday but all were in high spirits. We were updated that things were running behind schedule but continued on. 

 Above: Images of various in-mates of the prison and the reasons they were held there. As you will notice, many passed through its walls - justifiably so or not it did not matter.
I would highly recommend the tour which is quite educational and a bit solemn and sobering to be honest, especially if you try to imagine being there with those prisoners on a cold day such as it was that day - not just any prisoners - but prisoners imprisoned during the apartheid era. (I have been to the Slave Museum in Liverpool as well as many other museums and historical sites and they all carry with them their own stories to tell and own remembrances to be had.) The tour-guide was fantastic giving as much facts and information and moving at a good pace allowing sufficient viewing time and answering all questions. We were allowed to take photos but no video recording during the tour.

 Above: The prison eating area
I cannot explain the feelings one had just being there, trying to feel what it must have been like as well as reading the various captions and facts pictured every where.


 Above: Some images taken from the Women's Prison (I walked around for abit after the talk). I don't know about you but to not have a proper sanitary pad let alone have to hold it in place with nothing else but shoe strings - yeah - what these women went through and what women still go through in various parts of the would is certainly humbling to say the least.
 Unfortunately the tour was cut short but I think we managed to take in enough making it a rather meaningful afternoon. Why was the tour cut short - well we had to start with the talk which again, aptly took place in the Women's Prison area and as was explained to us, the Feminist Stokvel Team were only advised of double booking and mishaps that had taken place very late the day before and they had tried to mitigate the situation as much as possible deciding to proceed with the meetup rather than cancel it and try to reduce any lost time. They gave their heart felt and I mean heart felt apologies and had worked hard in the back ground to ensure that an awesome Soiree was still had. That is indeed what it was - an awesome and inspiring afternoon - regardless of mishaps or delays etc.And I'm not just saying that.

 As you know how we love to talk - we talked. We also ate yummy hot curry and we drank hot chocolate as we proceeded on. Many shared their backgrounds and experiences and what it meant growing up with kinks and curls and what it meant to be discriminated against - in varying degrees - because of their hair. A point that resonated with me the most was carrying ones head of curls in the work place where one of the ladies spoke about her experience and how she held a top management position in a very corporate environment and rocks her fro regardless. This in itself inspires and motivates other women in the workplace to do the same as they see someone of influence and affluence climbing that corporate ladder no matter how hard it is - especially being a women - being a black woman and still rocking their fro. The key character trait being a person who has high work ethics and always operates with a spirit of excellence therefore what does their hair have to do with it - they give excellent work and therefore rock excellent hair (o: I can attest to this and often talk about this -  I will be doing a mini post that ties in with this one just to give you my personal experiences and views. 

So if you missed out - you certainly missed out and hopefully will be at the next one. 

The Feminist Stokvel team takes things to a whole other level - digressing the other aspects of hair and of us WOMEN and invoking more thought and more togetherness. 

Happy Women's Month (we celebrate ourselves every day of the year)

Listen to Your Hair