How wonderful it is that nobody needs wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.
A couple of years ago I had to go to the Department of Home Affairs to replace my lost ID. Standing in line in front of me was a 30 year old woman, accompanied by her mother who was about 70 years old. A couple of minutes later, an official came by to give us forms to fill out so that the process would be quicker and not create a backlog when we got to the front. Each of us took out our pens and starting filling out the forms. Halfway through filling out mine, I overheard the 30 year old say to her mother “Mama, what is G-A-N-D-A-“. I didn’t quite pay attention as I figured it wasn’t a conversation that concerned me much. Well, not until I heard her again, this time her voice a little more agitated “Mama, how the hell am I supposed to know what is G-A-N-D-A”. It was at this point that I realised that hr frustration came from something on the form, which I had clearly missed. After going through my form twice it hit me that what she was referring to was the word GENDER. A 30 year old in this country does not know the word gender. Worse off, she cannot identify whether she is male or female as per the check-box options presented to her.
My heart broke in more ways than one that day, as I was rudely confronted by the reality and state of education in this country. It is an experience I can never allow myself to forget. An experience I can never allow myself to become familiar with. An experience that fueled my love and passion for reading.
“Do what you can, where you are, with what you have got”
And so it is that amongst other things the idea of Melanin Warriors Book Club was created.
A safe space for black women from different walks of life.
A reminder for us and the world, that Africa is a live. Africa reads. Africa is on the rise. On the move
It was birthed as a Book Club with the hope that it will grow into a movement
A reading movement
A sisterhood movement
An incubator for authentic connection
A form of mother earth whose arms are stretched out wide to reach and equip more of her daughters with the power of literature.
From the heart of a girl whose room is clustered with books more than anything else
To our first meeting in a coffee shop in the hub of Johannesburg
To more corners of the city
And her daughters
We are. Melanin Warriors Book Club.