Outreach Foundation's My silence is talkative

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Outreach Foundation Hillbrow Theatre Project at the National Arts Festival
My Silence is Talkative
– Created in collaboration with the young cast
by Gcebile Dlamini

The production was first created in 2016 under the Inner City High Schools’ Drama Festival from the theme ‘20 years of democracy’. Just like the youth of 1976, a group of female youth voiced the issues they faced in their society at that time. The aim was to look beyond the theme by tackling what young people could perhaps fight for, today. This encouraged investigations into the possibilities and contradictions faced by women. About the wars inside their bodies, and what could be used to transform and rehabilitate them. About what could help start conversations about theories and practices within society, e.g. religion, culture, rape, and stigmatisation, to name but a few.  Through partnering with ASSA (Albinism Society of South Africa), we believe our journey towards the struggle to highlight Albinism and women’s issues will begin, and the voices of Albinos heard.

Albinism occurs in all racial and ethnic groups throughout Africa, and indeed the world, yet it has not been given the attention it deserves. A large number of people live in fear daily as a result of Albino hunters who perceive Albinos to have magical powers and will stop at nothing to ‘capture’one. In some cultures, they are believed to cure diseases. Thus they are sometimes seen as a blessing. Even when not hunted, Albinos face discrimination and abuse in their respective communities. This discrimination affects their self-esteem, and they often succumb to abuse and become victims of human trafficking.

The play highlights the choices we make and the battles and challenges the youth deal with by revealing the many forces that control and block self-esteem in females. The slow dance and silent rhythm of the journeys become the advocacy that shows the contradictions of being a female living in an unprotected world. The embodiments show that society is always fabricating a specific form of obedience on the female body from a young age. The repetition of myths shows us how we cope with different forms of submission to our perceived authority figures. The play is filled with stories, hence the use of newspapers as costumes. The red sticks show the red tapes in our communities that are instilled by figures who should be protecting us. The sticks also represent the spears and knives used to cut these body parts with the red blood spilled and given to Sangomas for various rituals.

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