Let’s think together about this question ‘senzenina?’ (what have we done?). I recall the same question under apartheid — now it has re-emerged in the context of gender based violence. But it’s unfair for women to go as far as asking themselves this question while we know they’ve not done anything. Perhaps similar to how we were [are] victimized under apartheid to a point where we felt we had done something wrong to be terribly dehumanized by the colonial system.
Of course I can’t eloquently put all my thoughts here in a way that expresses meaningfully my feelings as I write. But I do get ‘senzenina?’ as a meditation in both contexts that I highlighted earlier. I am not against this notion but posing a rethinking or an alternate frame.
Long story short;
Some two months ago we presented ‘Meditation of the Uprising’ within which we explored a musical piece I call ‘Senzenina!’ (with an exclamation mark).
In the context of this piece ‘senzenina’ is not a question but a plea. Equally, it is not about women but men. If you look at the word the first part is ‘senze’ means ‘make/recreate us’ and the second part ‘nina’ refers to the makers and carriers. In this sense we as men need to be recreated, there is a part of us that has died for us to cause so much violence. Thus we need to go back to our essence, the womb of a mother.
The lyrics of the chant are ‘safa saphela, senzi’nina senzenina’
Here is a video of the ritual at the Untitled Basement in Johannesburg on June the 16th 2020