Where do we begin to unearth and amplify these voices that have been suppressed for so long?
Our theme for August will enable the women of South Africa to see what we see in them, by removing the filter of distraction and interruption to see themselves clearly and differently.
This project is about being seen and about being heard, loud and clear. Giving women the opportunity to reflect on who they are: their thoughts, their ideas, their words, and potential actions. The women of SA have their own stories to tell: Some are bold and loud; others are soft and quiet. All have the power to affect change.
For #WomensMonth, we want to amplify these stories. We’ve collaborated with 3 South African visual artists to help us share these experiences, allowing us an intimate glimpse into their worlds so you too can #HearHerVoice.
The first series of stories we’re sharing have been captured by visual artist Alet Pretorius, an award-winning creative who says that her work, ‘Broadens my view of the world. Being a photojournalist, you are put in unfamiliar situations. Recording such events gives you a better understanding of other people, cultures, and events.’
Alet has given us a glimpse into the lives of 5 fascinating women, let’s hear their voices:
Anna Chauke is a woman responsible for changing your environment, one plastic item at a time with a smile on her face. Anna collects waste material for recycling. She not only likes her job but is also proud of it. In the face of adversity and hardship, she thought beyond shame and limits. She doubled what she used to earn as a domestic worker. Women like Anna walk miles in shoes we cannot imagine; they give us hope and courage to follow our vision no matter our circumstances. She is reclaiming more than waste.
“I like my job. The best thing about this job is that I get exposed to many different people. This is also not just me collecting recycling. I had a vision.”
Cow Mash is an artist whose work is pulled and lifted from the life of her spirit animal itself. She is a deeply insightful and spiritual woman, defining herself as she offers commentary through her creations. She is every woman. Through the lens of women artists like Cow Mash, we are reminded that we are like water and most impactful when we know who we are. We are renewed.
“I am a product of rejection creating my own self-accepting realms, beings, and beliefs. I wouldn’t describe myself as simply determined. It's very hard to agree to a single-word description of self. I am so many things.”
Lyza Mmelais proof that women can and will play the role their heart desires. Through her brave professional choice, she inspires young girls in and around rural areas to follow their dreams too. To more boundless women, we salute. Courageous women like her are the shining beacons of hope and motivation in our societies. We are because they are.
“Every morning when I am looking in the mirror and putting on my uniform, I feel very excited. What I love is when we go out on a call, and someone is protected or saved because of me. That is a good feeling.”
Dan Bakkes is an incredible singer and songwriter who is dedicated to her craft. Her story is one of relentless optimism and a drive at excellence in her discipline. In her own corner, the thing she loves and enjoys the most reflects hers and our story through art. Thanks to women like Dan, we are reminded that softness can be impactful and, in our own corners doing the things we love and enjoy the most, we can build careers and reflect her and our stories through art.
“I think finding your voice is important but it’s something we do constantly, we drift and set and it’s just the ebb and flow of life and finding our identity within that context and time.”
TinyikoMakwakwa’sartistry mirrors a South African woman of old who, for decades, worked in the textile industry out of need, reframing the narrative, emphasising the need for self-definition and affirmation, and creating afresh from what is handed down. The value of artists like Tinyiko in our country is priceless. She feels nostalgic towards the older generation and needful to women now. Her embrace of vulnerability is a powerful and necessary nod to every woman.
“We are at such a critical time where women are challenging the status quo, by breaking down old walls and replacing them with new ideas, defining ourselves as we see ourselves is so important, and allowing for that to manifest itself in many different forms is wonderful to both be a part of and to witness."
These stories portray the varied female experience. Whether it is the roles women play, the struggles and joys, choices and feelings, the very aspects that make them different makes them one.. Thank you for sharing the raw and colourful reflections of these amazing women.