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Vagina Monologues in town: the personal and political space of the Vagina was explored again in Windhoek through Eve Ensler's groundbreaking play--Vagina Monologues.

The November production was performed by Sampa Kangwa-Wilkie and Frieda Karipi, the Zambian and Namibian duo who lit up the Namibian theatre scene in the year 2000 when they performed Woza Albert, a play by Zambian playwright Augustine Lungu.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Vagina Monologues was last shown in Namibia in July 2005, where it drew packed audiences to the Katutura Community Arts Centre and the Theatre School in the centre of Windhoek. It was staged by a Zimbabwean cast, who inspired the two local actresses to take it on as their contribution to the 16 Days of No Violence Against Women.

Sampa and Frieda decided to show the play in Namibia before taking it to Zambia, where it will be an early Christmas present to the unsuspecting Zambian audience. In 2006 it may travel to other audiences in Southern Africa.

"There is a power to be found for women in the Vagina Monologues," said Sampa. "When I saw it in July, it was so gripping, so fresh, it made me want to return to the stage after a break of five years.

"As you grow as an actress, you realise it's about touching lives. You are presented with an audience that you can try to influence and change. After doing a powerful script such as Woza Albert, I needed a significant follow-up and this is it," she said. "This time around, we have infused some local flavour in the play," she added.

Reactions from the audience were both thoughtful and enthusiastic.

"It was great. It's a topic never discussed. People do not discuss the vagina ... We as women realised that those were our experiences as we sat there, that we'd gone through it one way or another. (Faith)

"I thought it was a very high standard performance, and a good mixture of humour and insight. I think it was kind of sensitizing for men. The issues that it raised are those that men do not address enough." (Graham)

"It broke the silence and taboos around that powerful place called 'down there'. In our indigenous languages we don't even have any words for the vagina that don't sound rude.

"It exposed the pain of giving birth, and of sexual violation ... through rape ... through genital mutilation ... but also revealed the creative power of the vagina, the life force of women's sexual pleasure and the giving of life." (Elsa)

"The sounds ... the moans ... the Oshiwambo moan ... it was interesting and it was the truth!" (Joan)

Excerpt from the play:
He stayed looking for almost an hour as if he were studying a map,
observing the moon, staring into my eyes, but it was my vagina. In the
light I watched him looking at me and he was so genuinely excited, so
peaceful and euphoric, I began to get wet and turned on. I began to see
myself the way he saw me. I began to feel beautiful and delicious-like
a great painting, or a waterfall. Bob wasn't afraid. He wasn't grossed
out. I began to swell, began to feel proud. Began to love my vagina. And
Bob lost himself there, and I was there with him, in my vagina, and we
were gone.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:GENDER VIOLENCE
Author:Mwondela, Chilombo
Publication:Sister Namibia
Article Type:Theater review
Date:Dec 1, 2005
Words:529
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