Song as a Register for Black Feminist Theatre-Making Aesthetic
Keywords:Black Feminist Theatre Aesthetic, Black Aesthetics, Songs and Silence, Song and Struggle
This article looks at the play, Dipina tsa Monyanyako, which was made with a group of domestic workers in South Africa. The article explores how song is used as a strategy to locate ways of creating and making in South Africa. Song therefore registers a historical way of imagining and how marginalised groups; women have written themselves into history.
The production is a creative conversation where song is used to express care and anger in everyday life. Current approaches to knowledge production are inadequate in capturing song, poetics, and interpreting the forms of performances black women engage. The article makes a case for song as a form of black feminist theatre-making aesthetic. Using Dipina tsa Monyanyako, I argue that songs, silence, sighs have important methodological implications for arts-based processes and research.
In post-apartheid South Africa, performances are characterized by constant aesthetic reinvention. From precolonial expressions of life to protest theatre, performance aesthetics have been a way of revealing everyday life and struggles. For black women, theatre becomes the meeting place of the expression of their lives and a space of reflection and analysis of those lives, even though, historically, the presence of black women in theatre has been minimal. The creation of Dipina tsa Monyanyako allowed for the emergence of women as empowered subjects, and song became a portal for collective transformation.
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