Duration: 27 mins
Director: Lovinsa Kavuma
Main characters: Bathini Dambuza, Buhle Msibi, Kebarileng Sebetoane, Mary Louw and Zanele Muholi
The title itself is disturbing, it sends a sharp, shivering pain through our spinal cords. It’s a lesbian’s worst nightmare. Being raped in our communities never seems to make send; in fact I just don’t understand what drives a person to violate another person’s privacy, private emotions and private space.
Lovinsa Kavuma has brought this adrenaline-filled, heart wrenching and painful story, based in the townships of our country, documenting the lives of South African black lesbians.
She gives them the platform, the chance to speak out and share their horrific stories. The documentary runs for 27 minutes, 27 minutes of brutal honesty, pure emotions of lesbians who have become victims of corrective rape. I saw all sorts of faces, backgrounds, different homes, but one common factor that put them in one box, corrective rape.
I am amazed at how the director kept the cast at ease, comfortable to go through scene after scene through their terrible ordeals; I felt their pain, their burden that they carry. The documentary’s dramatic tone, true nature of the film, was exceptional. I felt the sadness shatter my heart as one of the characters explained how she was first raped by her own father. Thereafter followed by two rape incidents, the struggle with her mother for acceptance and the deep history involved with her abusive father. She has been through so much, only halfway her life, and has already endured the worst crime against women.
In one of the opening scenes, a man in the back ground who clearly does not understand the lifestyles of homosexual people who adheres to what the community feeds them, and hides behind culture. I think our families and friends should embrace them for who they are, not for what they are labeled as, and culture should not be the base of hate crimes, for everyone is equal in the universe and above.
It’s a touching story, certainly not for the soft-hearted. I must say I had to develop a tough skin, stay objective while watching the documentary as a black lesbian. However, I disliked the one sided aspect of the story, it lacked objectiveness; you see tackling issues. We need to know both sides of the story, why it happens, why they do it and how the survivors feel about it. We often don’t admit to this, but most homophobic attacks are due to people who don’t understand the lifestyle, they are not familiar with it. We cannot blame an individual for not understanding certain lifestyles, and being uncomfortable in unfamiliar environments.
It is only fair that we hear the side of the community as well. I would have loved for the story to document the lighter side of lesbians. Document their careers and supporting families.
Show the audience that despite people’s sexualities, at the end of the day, it does not define them.
Overall, the documentary was well expressed, a few minor shortcomings, but well written, and well directed. It is what I call a screen shot of what black lesbians go through everyday, it’s a struggle, and it goes on.
Peace and love
Zandile’s previous writing
2013 Feb. 14: Hello, my name is Zandile, and I am in love with a woman