On The Project: Lineo Tsikoane

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Originally posted on: https://love961.wordpress.com/2017/02/14/on-the-project-lineo-tsikoane/

This past Saturday my life changed again. I feel like it changes all the time, but well, why would it not? Everything else changes. At some point not so many days ago the sun used to set at 7:30pm, now not anymore. The sun now sets earlier, and it seems it misses our 4:30 rise more and more, so mortal me never stood a chance at not changing. More so, when thing such as the women of The Project happen to you.

On Saturday the 4th February I buckled up my sons and drove out of town to the gem called Morija. Coincidentally, this is where we can claim is the first place civilisation as its now perceived was first introduced to Basotho. A place where vast knowledge and critical information was not only shared but remains stored about Lesotho. This also happens to be my oldest son and I’s secret love place where we used to go when we escape the buzz of Maseru along with its demands. Our happy place where we could bond over our love for books and my son’s love and knowledge of dinosaurs. I digress. What I really wanted to talk about is how twenty or more women and one transgender individual of Lesotho and those that love Lesotho set apart an afternoon to just pour out. I have waited a while to formulate my thoughts as everyday my attempts to pen this would often be overshadowed by feelings of overjoy and utter agony and it became too much to really finish this. After a lot of thinking, meditating and a bit of yoga, I have the words that are almost good enough to express that day.

The platform was intended to create a forum of interaction between the women, mostly mid-twenties and thirties and one maybe fifty, of what it means to be a woman, feminism, LGBTI issues, women and politics in Lesotho and inheritance and succession laws as regards to women in Lesotho. All this was to be done with a bit of tea, and a whole lot of pizza from the local place. (If you haven’t been to The Hub, I am sure you are the only person by now). The conversations were loving, kind, sometimes loud but never without affection. There was even a sanitary pad on the table… I am still not sure if it was part of the décor, but it just made the vagina topics easy and a whole lot more relaxed as we all knew there is no shame or fear in acceptance. The topics ranged wide and as deep as each speaker wanted. From exploring the labels of being a feminist, denouncing by some, proclaiming by others and just observation and constant giggles and warm smiles from others. Looking back, I realise we may never fully appreciate the Impact that afternoon and evening had in its totality because truly it was greater than all of us. Between moments of when I was not talking or breaking down patriarchy, I was looking at the faces of the younger women. The ones the age of my sister and less. And then it hit me. They have what we never had! They are not just smart and bright, they are born into a changing and better Lesotho! I know this statement might be shot down by others but I will tell you why I say so.

A 20-year-old me was still trying to fit in and buy Levi’s jeans and ensure that my manpower money affords me clothes that someone that had been a recipient for almost five years had and the same amenities. These girls were in this room in their vintage shirts that I am sure they ransacked from their mother’s closets and “kist”, heads wrapped in turbans that would require all my my data’s worth of YouTube, were rocking their natural hair and had all kinds of ink and piercings that I was only bold enough to have at twenty-seven and long out of my mother’s gazing eyes. These girls talked about bodily autonomy and integrity like it was a description of a road downtown the streets of Maseru and I realise I had to wait until I was tired of violations that I only took charge. These girls were clad in beads, African print and even wore animal skin headbands and were vegetarian during the week just to teach the body refrain. These girls had all kinds of locks on their heads full with knowledge that I regretted my son was outside because today was not open to men. You will realise that these women decided, that this place, at this time is only going to be for those in vaginal bodies, and guess what? We did not want to leave! By the time we put a stop on the amazing conversations that I deliberately avoided to include in this piece for the sanctity of that moment it was dark outside. The sun still sets at around 7:10 pm and worse it was a rainy day. So not even the rain could huff and puff us away. When an announcement that we must ensure that we all ride together back to Maseru I almost cried again, the love in this place was enough to heal any illness granted doctors gave us a chance!

When I walked outside to the car with my sons I gulped a huge lump of tears that God decided not to give through me another woman that would have joined these amazing minds. I realised that even if this be our last meeting with the women of the project, something supernatural happened in that tiny but bright mud painted beautiful house. I hugged my son and pat the older to find out what they did while they waited for mama. I was a little worried that even my young Sanakara can tell that mama has changed. I went in as Lineo that was going to share knowledge on feminism and what it means for a Mosotho woman. I came out wide-eyed eager not to miss any opportunity to learn, un-learn or even re-learn what it means to be a MOSOTHO woman who openly identifies as feminist. I could not even hide it. I had changed. And I loved it. I still do.

Love and light.
Lineo Tsikoane

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