Sparks Are Still Flying - More Feedback and Inspiration From the V-Day Africa Summit!
Stories from attendees of the V-Africa Summit continue to come in! As the 48 activists and social entrepreneurs return to their countries and their work, we continue to get inspiring poems and essays about their experience at the three-day event.
Here are pieces inspired by the Summit from Karabo Tshikube and Ratanang Mogotsi from South Africa, and Rutendo Chigudu from Her Zimbabwe.
More Voices from the Summit:
Listen by Karabo Tshikube, V-Girls South Africa
You heard my Voice and you silenced it
I searched for freedom
and you defined it
I demanded equality and your ignorant mind declined it
Now I live my life in captivity
My Vagina has become a horrific reality
Schools teach us that being free is a fantasy
I walk in your footsteps fading away from my destiny
This shall not proceed
NOW YOU LISTEN TO ME
Gone are the days where you spit in my face//the finish line is near I will conquer this Race//I will speak my mind on a worldwide stage//i will not marry just because you think I'm the ripe age//will shout Vagina and not be disgraced//im a woman a design of perfection//don't need your fists to pose as correction//when you look at me you will discover power in my reflection//i shall weep tears of joy and not of sorrow//when I say NO today it still means NO tomorrow//you have clipped my wings with your words now look at me fly like a sparrow//oh no we not fighting this time we are a mass you know" ONE BILLION RISING
To My Vagina Warriors by Ratanang Mogotsi, V-Girls South Africa
"If you can speak freely about something, you can protect it" - Dr. Denis Mukwege of the DRC
This will live with me forever because we said "VAGINA" close to a billion times at the summit. In our rooms, in the toilets, during lunch, super, breakfast and even when we greeted each other. "Vagina Warrior's" Isatou Touray would say this every time she spoke and the rest of the would follow. In the beginning many feared to say the word, even in their languages, but as the summit progressed we learnt to say Vagina in almost all the african languages all in the name of protecting women and girls in Africa.
#UntilTheViolenceStops by Rutendo Chigudu, Her Zimbabwe
One of the hardest things I have ever done is to sit at my laptop and try and set my feelings and thoughts in ink.... this may be odd to comprehend given that I speak my mind and write it as well. Well, it is true... I want to write about my time in Kenya, the stories that seem like extracts from a Japanese horror movie, the love and support I felt shared, the amazing women who are fighting on the ground... day in day out...the resistance they face and the decisions they have made that have changed not only their lives but that of countless of other women. I relate with their frustrations, fears, hopes, dreams.... the harsh realities.... I have never cried so much in my life... I have never felt so much rage, so much pain, so much helplessness and so much anguish yet... have never felt so much love, hope, joy, I have never been so encouraged, so motivated, so inspired... I was able to admit my fears, speak out my mind and my feelings about the situations that torment me, some that I have had to give up on, some that I admitted, for the first time, to have depleted my energy, others that have i dread but I know that I have to face.... i have never felt my own vulnerability in such a manner, in a very safe environment.