Artscape’s 7th Women/ Humanity Arts Festival was launched to the media on 17 July with a programme of eloquent and dynamic speakers and talented vocal artists. The theme for this year’s festival Against all Odds highlights the challenges faced by women and people with disabilities or different abilities – and their celebration of life. Judging from the foretaste we had at the media launch, the festival should be one of the highlights on Cape Town’s art calendar.

Participants and performers taking part in Artscape’s 7th Women’s Art Festival

Participants and performers taking part in Artscape’s 7th Women’s Art Festival

The appreciative audience were entertained by the powerful and beautiful voices of singer Ivan Sieglaar who opened Barbara Striesand’s show in South Africa wheelchair-bound  Zanne Stapelberg. Both Zanne and Ivan will be performing in the BAHI Healing Concert which takes place on the 4 August.

 

Guest speakers included Lureka Steenkamp, founder of the Borrowed Angels Healing Initiative (BAHI), a support group for parents and families of still-born babies, and Sonja Smith, an activist challenging the law denying the right of bereaved parents of stillborn or miscarried babies to give their babies a proper burial. Stillborn babies born before 26 weeks are consigned to the incinerator along with all other medical waste matter.

 

Chaeli Mycroft  of the Chaeli Campaign, an “ability activist”, spoke eloquently and with great humour about the challenges of having cerebral palsy and of being a first year student at “a university which happens to be on a mountain”. “Inaccessibility is an opportunity for people to learn. The able bodied students I call upon to help me up all the stairs get to know just how heavy this wheelchair is…!” In the Wings, a play produced by the Chaeli Campaign, takes place on the 8 and 9 August.

 

Marlene le Roux with Zanne Stapelberg and Chaeli Mycroft. Photo provided by Artscape

Marlene le Roux with Zanne Stapelberg and Chaeli Mycroft. Photo provided by Artscape

Chaeli enjoys Latin American dancing with an able-bodied partner. The Chaeli Campaign Dancers will feature with local stars Nianell and Vicky Sampson at the final concert on the 10 August.

 

Drag artist Roxy le Roux and Director Abduraghmaan Adams introduced the play Nancy which raises ‘themes such as friendship, homophobia, hate crimes and HIV/Aids”. Says Roxy: “The play is full of fabulosity humour but also deals with very serious matters….I have a voice and I am going to use it to spread the message of inclusivity and a better humanity.”

 

Seen at the media launch of  Artscape’s 7th Women/ Humanity Arts Festival Poet Dejavu-Tafari gave an astounding and brilliant performance of one of her poems. She uses her poetry and voice to speak to the youth of South Africa, encouraging them to live full and principled lives.

 

The festival includes a panel discussion, activities, workshops and exhibitions as well free health screenings. Click here for the full programme.

http://scenicsouth.co.za//event/the-7th-artscape-women-humanity-arts-festival-4-10-aug-2013/

 

Summing up the themes of the Festival, Ivan Siegelaar concluded an emotive and powerful programme with a poem by Aya Chebbe

 

I am a Woman empowered by my words

 

I am the martyr,
the mother of the martyr,
the sister of the martyr,
the daughter of the martyr…
I am the injured of the revolution…the protester…the jailed…the detained…
the tortured…the exiled… the kidnapped…the raped…
I am the veiled, the non-veiled…
it’s according to my deep conviction…
I am white, light skinned, dark-skinned…
anyway, I am a beautiful soul…
I am young by spirit, old by experience…
I am the pregnant…the wife…the single mother… the widow…
I am living with HIV…
I am living with one hand…one leg…one kidney… but,
I study… I work… I travel…

Yet I am NOT the victim… I am the leader…
I clean up the streets of my nation …
I raise up the past, present and future generations…
I speak out for my son at school,
for my client in court,
for my art at theater,
for my mom at hospital,
for my mind on paper…

I live in the city, in the town, in the countryside, in the suburb, in the mountains, on the borders, …
I am Africa, Asia, America, Europe, Australia and every corner where there is life and sound…
I boost the economy… I advance the technology…

Do I deserve to be equal to you? YES I do because I AM a Woman empowered by my words
I raise my voice for human rights, for justice, for social change..
and I use digital technology to empower myself..
I use connections to unite..
I use platforms to debate..
I use my words to shape the reality..
I perform…
I lead..

My achievements are not to be waived…
My dreams are not for giving up…
My body is not for sale…
My mind is not for manipulation…
My place is not for abdication…
My job is not for quitting…
My views are not for granted…
My rights are not to be violated…

Why? because I AM a woman empowered by my words

http://worldpulse.com/node/68986

 

Viv von der Heyden