Napo Masheane. Picture: Dope Encounters
Napo Masheane. Picture: Dope Encounters

Napo Masheane tackles GBV in latest play ‘My Vagina was not buried with Him’

By Kedibone Modise Time of article published Mar 17, 2021

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Napo Masheane shines a spotlight on the surge of gender-based violence and femicide in South Africa in “My Vagina Was Not Buried With Him”.

The theatre practitioner and poet is chuffed about her thought-provoking stage production, which recently premiered, albeit virtually, at the Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA) alongside other internationally renowned productions from Canada, Jamaica, Sudan and the United Kingdom.

Written and performed by Masheane,My Vagina Was Not Buried With Me” is directed by Clive Mathibe, whose career in the arts industry spans over a decade.

The tear-jerking production explores the ongoing plight of women abuse and femicide in the country.

No stranger to provocative offerings with “My Bum is Genetic Deal With It”, “The Fat Black Women Sing“ and "Khwezi … Say My Name” to her credit, Masheane says women have mastered the art of building friendships and sisterhoods on the foundation of trauma.

“We become sister-friends with each other because we have similarly wounds and scars.

“This is the premise of my obsession with black women stories. When I hear, see or read about their lives, I find parts of myself in their narratives,” she revealed.

She added: “With this, my poems and plays always conversed about difficult subjects from a feminine voice, and with South Africa being declared ‘the kingdom of femicide’, there was no room small enough to stop me from penning down this choreoplay as a stand against gender-based violence beyond the #hashtag.”

Napo Masheane. Picture: Dope Encounters

Masheane says the production is inspired by true-life events.

“The play is inspired by one of my childhood friend’s story which is embodied in a character called, Nthate, who finds herself conflicted and in a state of utter desolation as she struggles to cope with the dire expectations imposed on her as a Mosotho woman and even the perils she’s forced to live with even after the death of her husband.

“It seems Nthate’s in-laws somehow believe that her husband is buried with her vagina.

“The barriers and lines between life and death are then blurred as they bridge between the spirit world and the real world.”

Napo Masheane. Picture: Dope Encounters

Masheane says Nthate’s tears also revoke the spirit of three out of many young women who made it into media headlines, sparking a huge hashtag movement: #AmINext #MeToo #NotJustAHashtag #MenAreTrash.

“And they were Karabo (Mokoena), who was declared missing only to be found burnt alive by her boyfriend. Nene (Uyinene Mrwetyana), who was raped and bludgeoned by a man who had earlier served her at the local post office, and the eight-months pregnant Tshego (Tshegofatso Pule), who was stabbed to death by her boyfriend’s best friend and found hanged on a tree."

She added: “Theatrically, it is handwoven as choreopoem, interlaced and fabricated by these four voices, infused in strong narratives and physical theatre, while it prides its self in poetic-Accapella-vocal sounds held by a collective force that affirms that all of us (women) are made of trauma, bounded by wounds, and our scars.”

This never to be missed production sees Masheane make her stage comeback following a 10-year hiatus as an actress.

During this period, she’s been behind the scenes working her magic in many productions.

“People are not only going to hear my words but see me breathe life into them. But beyond this, I am not alone on stage. I am surrounded by 1000 stories of other women carried by their bra’s.”

Napo Masheane. Picture: Dope Encounters

“My Vagina Was Not Buried With Him” debuts at the Joburg Theatre on Friday, March 19 and runs till Sunday, March 21.

The show will then make its way to the Soweto Theatre from Wednesday, March 24, until Friday, March 26.

Tickets are available at Webtickets for R100.

For more information visit Joburg Theatre.

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