Lebo Mashile's production inspired by Saartjie Bartman debuts on Thursday

A production by poet Lebo Mashile, _Venus vs Modernity, _debuts on Thursday and will run until 28 September at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg.

Looking into the life of Saartjie “Sara” Baartman, the piece fuses spoken word, poetry, dialogue, and music across genres to recreate her life through two characters, Saartjie and Venus.

Mashile says Saartjie Bartman is one of the ultimate references for the representation of black women across the world and describes her as an "archangel".

She spoke to Azania Mosaka to share more on the production and what inspired it.

It is a historical story but it is also a very modern story with contemporary references. I am really proud of it.

Lebo Mashile, poet

I first encountered her story 20 years ago, as a young person, a student trying to make sense of my own experiences as a black woman... and it was around the time her remains were returned to South Africa. Since then she stayed with me but I think she became a more poignant reference.

Lebo Mashile, poet

My weight, my body, my butt, my size, all of it has been subject to debate, ridicule and online conversations... Saartjie gave me a political framework for understanding why this is happening to me in this particular way.

Lebo Mashile, poet

Click on the link below to hear more...


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