For black girls only.
Don't allow yourself to be made derivative. This is a very strong message that came across at "for black girls only" event at the Constitution hill on Sunday. Calling this an event almost makes me cringe, a movement is more appropriate.
Constitution hill is a precinct just off Hillbrow in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. This was a fort which was later used as a prison. Given the history and heritage behind these buildings, I can think of no space more appropriate for a group of black girls, women and mothers to reclaim their freedom. If you want to learn more about the history of this site (& you should) see list of resources at the end.
Feminists, womanists, humanists.....all of us black, all of us ready to reclaim or more appropriately redefine our place in the world.
"For black girls only" is a space created to give black girls an opportunity to share, teach and learn about issues that are at the heart of existing as a black girl while navigating through a world set up to favour the white man. Its important for us to talk not just about the colour of our skin, the kink or curl in our hair and the wideness & beauty of our hips but also about how we relate to ownership and succeeding in a world where we are constantly being asked to apologise...
For some, these issues do not seem real because no one will explicitly say; I see you as a lesser being because you are a black girl. They will, however, point to your character and highlight how the flaws (which are your own fault) justify them treating you differently.
When a black girl gets passed up for a promotion because she does not have the corporate look.....When a black model does not make it into a magazine because she does not fit the profile of "aspirational"....When a black girl is passed up for opportunities because she is angry and too aggressive.....When a black girl is taught (through words and actions) that the only way she can matter is by being as artificial as possible.....as far removed from her natural beauty as possible...This is the world we live in. The best time for the tide to turn was 20, 50, a hundred years ago....but the second best time is today.
Black girl, unzip yourself. Leave behind the ill-fitting, inhibiting shell that they created for you. Free your mind and soul from dogma and charge forward. You cannot hide, you cannot sit by the sidelines, you cannot continue waiting.
I loved being in a space full of beautiful black girls showcasing their talent and what they are made of. Sharing their stories and journeys with other black girls and creating this sense of inclusion. A sense that 'you belong', you always have and always will.
I met amazing entrepreneurs, poets, writers, students, professionals....all saying 'Hey, we are here & we matter. We've been here!'
This was an uplifting and fun experience that created a space for conversations and questions. One I was insanely happy to be part of but one that I hope my kids, and my kids' kids and my kids' kids' kids' will not have to be part of.
Learn more about Constitution Hill: