Whenever I meet women survivors or defenders of women’s rights, I am uplifted and inspired to engage – I cannot let them down. It will be our numbers and our voices as women that will change the world.
I believe that theatre has the ability to touch people, to arouse empathy as well as to effect social and personal change. While legislation and policy change are important civic instruments, perhaps theatre is more powerful, better at engendering and cultivating a living, breathing culture of human rights.
Through my work, I have come to understand how violence is integral to the experience of women and girls in conflict areas, whether as refugees or internally displaced persons. It is a very difficult area in which to work as often there is so much shame and stigma that those who have been affected do not want to talk about it. So I tend to work at a community rather than individual level – talking in generalities about what “we” might do in preventative efforts rather than focusing on responding to discrete cases.
I believe my sufferings have empowered me to develop the strongest soul. Because of that, I am determined to live my life for others whose lives are seared with scars. I am grateful to God for having a second chance in life and I will live every day like it’s my last. It’s so important for me to speak on behalf of children, refugees and women because I know and feel their pain in my heart.
After fifteen years spent as a media witness to conflict-affected peoples, my peacebuilding work has allowed me, in a small way, to be more effective in supporting some sort of a journey towards breaking cycles of violence. And yet why do I continue to see exactly the same conflict issues, no matter which continent? The patterns are so predictable. What is unpredictable is the ability of the human spirit to choose dignity over humiliation; the victim to become a survivor; the powerless to acknowledge their strength. This is a rite of passage to cherish because one chain in the long cycle of violence dissolves forever. There can be no more ‘dark nights of the soul’ when Truth becomes Beauty. Amandla Awethu!