The Leyden girls are bright, articulate and full of energy. The pace of the GirlZtalk workshop has moved much faster than in the northern Venda community, as if the closer one gets to the buzz of the city of Johannesburg, the faster people live their lives.
Once again Nikki Florence, the workshop facilitator, has got the girls into action, playing games, creating a space in which the girls feel safe and confident to speak. But as she says – these girls need no prompting, but their chatter is misleading, we sense that they prefer to keep the discussion superficial not wanting to expose deep emotions.
Once again teenage pregnancy and rape are prominent topics, surprisingly many of the girls feel that witchcraft is an issue that affects young women, alongside prostitution, sugar-daddies and sexuality.
We were surprised only one girl out of a group on 85 mentioned HIV. In the short time we have been here, we have already met a number of people who are HIV+, and yet the stigma of the disease keeps the girls silent on the topic.
After a(nother) lunch of pap, chicken and gravy, we finished early for the day, it was time to give our SEED girls a break and begin tomorrow with new energy.
Together with the Altamar crew we finished the day watching the sunset. We found a small “kopie” to climb, with views that stretched as far as the eye could see, just wild bushveld. We breathed in the splendour of Africa, the stillness, the sounds of the distant village carried by the breeze…“Men being absent, Africa is good” William Plomer