Stories of Girls’ Resistance
Revenia, South Africa


“…And I’m standing there. My sister hides behind my back and I was so scared that day. I thought, “Today I’m going to die. But if I’m going to die today, you are going to look right into my face and you’re going to shoot me. That’s how I’m going to die. You’re not going to shoot me in the back. And I stood there. I looked at that man – he’s looking at me – I looked him straight into the face. I stand there and he’s pointing this gun, this thing at me. This rifle. Not a gun, it’s an automatic weapon on top, pointing at me. And I’m standing. He kept it on me for a little while and I’m standing still. Not making a move. Looking at him. My sister is hiding here behind my back. He can see her hiding behind my back. And then he turned it away and then they passed. I was so scared that day. When I went back home, my knees were shaking. ”

Revenia’s Artifact

I have had this painting since 1994 and it was done by a local artist in the community where I originate from. Now why this one, there is a particular message in this painting – especially the eyes of the mother, the father and the child. The eyes are very expressive. And when I look at the painting, what I see: I see uncertainty and I see fear but what I also see is a unit – a family unit. They are sort of united and what was interesting for me is the fact that the woman is the one on top. If you look at it, the woman is holding the father and the child. And for me, that maybe was the artist’s way of acknowledging the strength of women. Or I think this is maybe from his own life because I know he has a wife and children. We used to go visit them a lot. But for me that was some acknowledgement of the role of the woman in the family. And I’ve moved around a lot now and wherever I go, this painting goes with me. It’s in my bedroom. It’s on my bedroom wall and for me it’s like a reminder of where I’m coming from. It’s my link to where I’m coming from, no matter where I go. So that is why this painting is important. I think maybe other people will say it’s an ugly painting but for me, it says a lot. There’s a very deep message in the painting for me. So that’s why I chose this particular artefact.