V-GIRLS RISING, SOUTH AFRICA
by Gina Shmukler, Regional Coordinator
Staging The Vagina Monologues to raise awareness for ONE BILLION RISING was an incredible experience. All good things- the show was sold-out, the audience rose to their feet at the end joining forces with the cast raising their fingers in the air- but for me, I was reminded of the potent power of theatre. We had many young students in the audience who have never seen the play and that they went on to organize risings in their schools and universities was testament to a play that was written in the 90’s but resonates equally, if not more powerfully, today. I look forward to a time when The Vagina Monologues is a ‘history’ play because women are in their power, men respect women, women respect men and rape has ended!
I watched the core group of V-Girls South Africa grow into leaders through the course of One Billion Rising. We have a leadership crisis in South Africa. These young women are an inspiration to me. The way they handle themselves, the media, their efforts and challenges, the way they care for each other and support each other gives me hope for a better South Africa. They are, indeed, our future leaders!
The most reserved of the V-Girl’s, Ratanang Mogotsi, took the lead in organizing V-Girls SA events. A young woman of integrity, grace, passion, fire and generosity emerged. She continues to lead!
As a result of The Vagina Monologues, V-Girl, Actor and Activist Karabo Tshikube, was invited to perform ‘I AM NOT WHAT YOU FEAR’ at the assembly of a conservative Jewish Day School. The assembly was on rape awareness. 850 students attended. The headmaster contextualized the monologue uttering the words vagina and penis to the packed school hall. His final words to the young learners were with regards to the power of language. He concluded by saying: ‘‘dick is a weapon!”