I was once a queen with responsibilities that pushed me into the depths of finding myself. Then I stumbled upon you Brenda. When I stumbled upon you I was in awe of your magic. I would close my eyes and imagine dancing on a black floor, with a single light, a yellow light, dimmed on the floor. Being a woman of colour is to be a divine creation by God, in his light he made us so natural that when we stand on black land, it calls us home. When I listen to you I feel at home. You are home.
It’s with great honor and respect that we meet each other again.
I admire the way you stood with confidence, the way your bold stare could pierce through thin walls. In time of struggle and oppression you captured the narratives and atmosphere of Mama Africa. Capturing history through your music, is deeply embedded in my developing life. Your words take me to special places and enables me to see everything so differently.
But, you left us behind at such a young age of 39. How I wish you were still here to see us African women flourish. Even, though you are now an angel I want to let you know that we have all faced disappointment, heartbreak and emptiness. I can hear your passion through the art you created. The art that’s evidently my inspiration and balance in life.
Deeply embed in my skin are the untold stories of my ancestors, the same blood of my ancestors run deeply through my veins. Just for the blood to rush rapidly to my eyes as I stare at myself in the mirror. With stillness, there’s a balance of explosion. I admire your fearless attribute in life. Here, I ‘am beginning to dip my toes into all that’s fearful.
As I stand in the shadows of your foot-steps.
This body of work is an on-going self-discovery and exploration of being a third-culture woman in New Zealand. I asked myself how can I utilise my craft of dance to explore all that my mind and body has to ask? The answer was Brenda Fassie.
Brenda was an iconic African woman who captured our hearts is a huge inspiration in my work. I believe we are all filled with archives, some are active and others are dormant. While I begin to explore my archives, it’s evidently highlighted that there’s different elements, that creates my dancing body.
The written component is an open letter to Brenda that touches on how similar but different we are. The served as a stimulus for my movement and were the back-bone of my project.
The video component was filmed on location in Māori Bay to highlight the difference of living in New Zealand with lush bushes and beautiful beaches. The video explores ‘me’ and my body, how my body moves on a black sand in the wind. I wanted to highlight the difference in terms of location to Africa and how naturally different archives would come alive.
Overall, the project explores different layers of myself, my African genealogy and how living in New Zealand has shaped me. With a huge influence of Fassie, I continue to explore what it means to be African.