Brave girls, women unite in cul­tural ex­change

Cape Times - - METRO - TRACI HURL­ING, ISIS AMUSA, IN­DIA BAIRD AND LENA PERENCHIO

EIGHT years ago, three 10-year-old girls from Ma­nen­berg founded Brave, a non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion ded­i­cated to in­spir­ing, em­pow­er­ing and in­vest­ing in girl lead­ers.

Orig­i­nally it func­tioned to cre­ate safe spa­ces for girls, but as they grew older and the ob­sta­cles they faced as young women ex­panded, Brave has evolved and adapted to meet their wider range of needs.

To­day, through travel, ed­u­ca­tion and ad­ven­ture, Brave cre­ates op­por­tu­ni­ties for girls and young women and ex­poses them to world­wide is­sues fac­ing girls, re­in­forc­ing the im­por­tance of sis­ter­hood and lead­er­ship and build­ing a net­work of girls and women glob­ally.

Brave’s most re­cent ad­ven­ture con­sisted of a two-way road-trip ex­change, tak­ing Amer­i­can girls to South Africa and South African girls to the US. The aim was to en­cour­age po­lit­i­cal par­tic­i­pa­tion by girls by shar­ing their sim­i­lar his­tor­i­cal strug­gles of civil rights abuses, so­cial in­jus­tices and racial in­equal­ity in South Africa’s apartheid strug­gle and the US civil rights move­ment. The trip was spon­sored by the US Con­sulate in Cape Town. From Septem­ber 28 up to this month, 18 girls from South Africa and the US em­barked on the last leg of the trip ex­change – the Amer­i­can South.

We trav­elled from the site of the first stu­dent sit-in in Nashville, Ten­nessee, to Mont­gomery, Selma, and Gee’s Bend, Alabama, end­ing in Ox­ford, Mis­sis­sippi. This is where the racial in­te­gra­tion of the Uni­ver­sity of Mis­sis­sippi in 1962 led to the death of the only jour­nal­ist killed in the civil rights move­ment and where African Amer­i­can stu­dents still strug­gle with the legacy of racism.

All these lo­ca­tions played a piv­otal role in the civil rights move­ment and the so­cial in­jus­tices and racial in­fe­ri­or­ity that ran ram­pant through the Amer­i­can South, be­gin­ning with the slave trade, through Jim Crow laws and con­tin­u­ing to­day through mass in­car­cer­a­tion.

These in­jus­tices were re­in­forced by the ex­hi­bi­tion at the Legacy Mu­seum: From Enslave­ment to Mass In­car­cer­a­tion in Mont­gomery, Alabama, that walked the girls through the per­vad­ing reper­cus­sions of slav­ery, lynch­ing and racial seg­re­ga­tion to present-day is­sues of racial in­equal­ity and eco­nomic in­jus­tice that is specif­i­cally vis­i­ble in the Amer­i­can crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem.

This in­sti­tu­tion­alised racism as a re­sult of his­tory ap­plies to present-day South Africa as well.

ROSHNIA LODHIA.

BRAVE girls from South Africa and the US speak out about vi­o­lence against girls and women with Tis­cha Wil­son on the steps of the Nashville court­house. |

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