For The People

Van En Sit, a woman’s pursuit for freedom

A tremendous rise in Gender Based Violence has been seen in South Africa for the past decade, could society be facing a world where women and children are not free to walk the streets and play without fear of any kind of danger?

Kim Maruping kicked off Women’s Month by touching on a plague that has infested South Africa through her play titled, “Van En Sit”, which largely focuses on the happenings in her city, Kimberley. The artist is advocating for women through a story of gender based violence which she wrote, directed and performed at the Sol-Plaatje University on the 31st of July 2019.

This is a topic that she has been speaking about, promoting and narrating since 2010. The play has also made its way to the Grahamstown National Arts Festival, Performing Arts Centre of Free State in Bloemfontein as well as the Arts, Culture and Sports Foundation centre in Mafikeng.

Maruping narrates a touching story about a young woman from Kimberley called Kebogile. The name can be translated as “I am deeply hurt”. The young character is raped and abused from an early age after a night out with friends as a result of her parents refusing to open for her in the early hours of the morning. Her life turns into a turmoil as she continuously finds herself in compromising situations where people take advantage of her and when her family turn their backs on her. She ends up finding solace in a man who is a taxi driver. Being unemployed with nowhere to go, Kebogile endures physical and emotional abuse in the relationship but like most women in such situations, she stays hoping things will change. The story depicts the deep underlying psychological stages that take place in the mind of the abused victim, and how they feel that pain or abuse is a part of their life. Eventually she suffers a psychotic mental breakdown and retaliates against her abusive boyfriend by stabbing him to death.

“I took the decision to dramatize this play at the University because people are ashamed to talk about issues of abuse and rape and keep things to themselves which often results in depression or mental breakdowns, like the character Kebogile when she retaliated and killed her abusive boyfriend. “My aim is to spark a debate among students and people in general about issues of abuse, rape molestation, depression and other crimes in society,” remarked Kim.

The performer hopes to bring positive change through the performing arts by narrating a women’s story that everyone can relate to as these are issues that women are confronted with on a daily basis in society. She says that she aims to encourage people to speak about their hurt and to get help because keeping quiet can only cause more harm to one’s mind and soul.

“I want people to think about their role in these kinds of cases, I feel that some families do not give enough support and love to their relatives. My story depicts how family members also play a role in compelling young girls to fend for themselves, thus making them vulnerable to situations of abuse, violence and crime. I am saying that charity begins from home, in order for people to accept themselves for who they are they need to feel loved especially by those close to them,” she adds.

The event attracted a large group of spectators, which was not surprising as her play received huge attention on social media. The thought-provoking and powerful performance that took less than an hour, shook up some intense emotions in the audience. “I was really moved by the performance, the actor chose to speak about a lot of issues which are our reality, things that people are uncomfortable talking about, especially victims of crimes such as rape and abuse. The “Van En Sit” play is a truly powerful and inspirational story, which says that as women we need to uplift, empower and protect one another,” commented a spectator, Jenice Rethabile Steenkamp.

Kim is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Anthropology, Sociology, Heritage Studies and Archaeology at Sol-Plaatje University. She is a registered tour guide and has won several awards including the Lilizela Awards for tourist guiding.

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