A young woman sits down to drown out the township noise to string some words together. She wants to tell the story of a Pan-African feminist; her story. How against all odds she graduated from university. But unlike most graduates, she didn’t have the money to get her degree at graduation. So now she is writing a book to raise money to fetch her symbol of hard work.
Thobeka Sinxo (25) grew-up in Motherwell, Eastern Cape were violence occurs on a daily basis. With the township bustling outside, it was difficult for her to study. She was regularly teased as being a goody-two-shoes when refusing to go with the other girls to the tavern. With no friends growing up, her studies became her main focus. Her hard work had paid off. “When I got into Wits it was like a miracle! An achievement.”
She received a partial government scholarship to pay for her accommodation in Johannesburg and the Post-Merit Award paid her fees.
With the finances sorted, she went off to the city of gold to study Applied Drama and Theatre. After years of hard work she ticked all the boxes and completed her honours degree last year.
Now, Thobeka is back in Motherwell. Unemployed and without the certificate to back her qualification. Wits doesn’t post the certificates and she doesn’t have the money to courier it down south, never mind to afford a bus ticket to fetch it herself.
Instead of blaming the world for her situation Thobeka sprang into action and compiled a book with eight short stories and 13 poems she documented in her diary since she was nine years old. She is now selling the book to retrieve her honours certificate and transcripts from Wits University.
This partly fictionalised book called Ezintakeni (A Literary Rite of Passage) embodies the image of strong Pan-African women with feminist ideals.
Last year Thobeka went to the rite of passage traditional ceremony for Xhosa girls and researched the idea of the rite of passage in modern times. “I realised that certain values have been lost in this modern day and females don’t maintain agency over their own bodies and take harassment,” she said.
In her short stories and poems she confronts the “lack of moral values” Xhosa girls are faced with and tries to promote the independence of women, including her own. “Writing this book I got to move into another part of myself, the part wanting to be independent.”
Thobeka finished the 50 page book last week and put it in an E-book format to sell each copy for R50.00. With each copy she sells her dream of her certificate in hand becomes more of a reality.
*To place an order for Ezintakeni email email@example.com before the end of August.
Published: Wits Vuvuzela on 7 August 2015.