“It is not easy to be a black young woman in South Africa,” a friend recently confided to me. When she tells her story I believe her.
The stage is dark and a face lits up, patiently waiting for a time to speak. Soft hip hop beats and the voice of a poet rhymes into our conscience. In a long line of oral tradition Ntsiki Mazwai claims her place as a poet speaking truth to the powers that be. Ntsiki Speaks explores what it means to be a young woman in South Africa today. Fondly she expresses the love that is deep for her mother, and wonders where her father is gone, provokes the #rureference list, receives her initiation into womanhood and discovers her identity in the name given at birth and feels the chemistry between you and me.
“If you told me art was the way to your heart”
Aided by a desk, a costume vest, a flipchart, her own poetry recorded, autumn leaves and clothing that celebrates womanhood Ntsiki speaks for all whose identities have been covered up, silenced, humiliated. She sings, recites and claims her space. Her poetry flows as she speaks from the heart.
This one woman poetry performance is a powerful coming of age story addressing a range of issues in today’s South Africa. Perplexed and once again convinced that is not easy to be a black woman today.
Directed by Sinethemba Mpepo and Ntsiki Mazwi
Photography by CuePix/ Greg Roxburgh – National Arts Festival 2016