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Year after year, Women’s Day comes around. Events are showcased, aimed at celebrating the fairer sex as liberated individuals. Despite this, women are still not seen as equal to men in many parts of our society.
There is, however, a platform where women’s challenges are not only highlighted, but addressed, and that takes place at the annual Artscape Women’s Arts Festival.
The festival is geared towards providing a platform for women to be celebrated, and creating an environment for change to take place.
Gender equality and rape are among the social issues to be interrogated via creative expression from tomorrow until Saturday. The theme, Humanity, will underscore this sixth edition of the festival.
Director Marlene le Roux is adamant about transforming and shaking up the system.
“If we look at women’s challenges, it never goes away.
“It’s the machoness of men that needs to change. As a woman, you are put into a box.
“If you look at the horrific corrective rape that is taking place, men rape lesbians and kill them. For example, six years ago, Nkonyana was raped and stoned to death. And it took six years to convict the perpetrators.
“I’m sitting in this beautiful place when just 30 minutes away people are being killed instantly. How can I sit here and feel comfortable about that?
“If you look at our own president, he has so many wives, which I don’t have a problem about, but the fact that he has mistresses on top of that and is producing children by them too, tells another story.
“He’s not walking the talk. How are our young people supposed to respect women if he is not.”
This year, a panel discussion will look at Masculinity and Sexual Diversity.
Here women are allowed to voice their opinions, raise questions and suggestions regarding gender, sex equality and justice.
They can also lobby for renewed commitment to responsible think-ing about feasible action that could lead to sustainable progress in empowering women of all ages and backgrounds.
Various productions, exhibi-tions and workshops will engage women in an interactive and networking forum.
“It’s a place where women can come to feel free and just be human.”
Women attending the festival will be able to seek free medical assistance at the PinkDrive mobile breast check units.
A Legal Wise booth will be present to advise women on issues as fully- fledged advocates will be on hand.
Entertainment can be enjoyed in the form of djembe workshops, ballroom dancing, belly dancing.
“We now need to start with a mindset in our households. The more we make society aware of the simple things we are doing then the simple changes will take place.”
• I Stand Corrected: By award-winning SA choreographer Mamela Nyamza and British theatre producer Mojisola Adebayo.
This physical theatre production is a response to homophobia, trans-phobia, corrective rape and murders of particularly black lesbians across SA.
It weaves physical theatre, dance, music and drama to tell the story of a lesbian who rises up, after being murdered, to seek out her perpetrator.
There are performances on August 8 at 7.30pm, Thursday August 9 at 8.15pm, Friday August 10 and Saturday 11 at 6pm.
• Dance for a Cure gathers top local and international performers to raise funds for an initiative that ensures vaccination for children against a virus that causes cervical cancer, oral cancers and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Dance for a Cure features Jazzart, La Rosa and the Cape Youth Dance Company.
Vocal artists are Sibongile Mngoma (SA), Fem Belling (Australia), Dominque Paccaut (France) and Charlie Dee (UK).
Directed by Martin Schönberg. The musical director is Richard Cock. Performances are on Thursday August 9 and Friday 10 at 7:30pm. Tickets R120.
• Die Vagina Monoloë offers a platform for women (and men) to voice their secret and suppressed fears.
This production about femininity was penned by Eve Ensler.
It has been translated into many languages worldwide, but this is the first time that it is going to be performed in Afrikaans. Performers include Antoinette Louw, Lulu Botha and Simone Alexia Biscombe.
Thursday August 9 at 6pm and Friday August 10 and 11 at 8.15pm. Tickets R90.
• The Eve: A Celebration of the Curve of Humanity, is a jazz concert which promises to celebrate the essence of being human – with a female edge.
It gathers original music, unique arrangements of jazz standards and poetry, while paying homage to the human spirit.
Musical director Lee Gelderbloem and artists Amanda Tiffin and Mtika join artistic director Melanie Scholtz in this production .
This show is on Saturday August 11 at 8.15pm. Tickets R80.
• I Am Woman Leap of Faith television series on SABC3 will be screened at the Artscape Theatre throughout Women’s Arts Week festival.
• Cape Town-based photographer Eric Miller shows an exhibition, The Nevergiveups. It celebrates the lives of a group of extraordinary Khayelitsha grandmothers. This exhibition runs until August 31.