Today we’re featuring work from the Gird Writing Camp 2016. This Creative Non-fiction piece was written by Portia Opare, who attended the Creative Non-fiction workshop with Prof. Esi Sutherland-Addy and Mr. Kobby Graham.
On Thursday some women of the University of Ghana reported getting harassed by residents of the Commonwealth Hall. The Commonwealth Hall held its homecoming ceremony at the forecourt of the hall. The ceremony was massively attended by the old boys of the Hall, most of who were now politicians, business men and respectable professionals. During the ceremony, the passage through the forecourt of the Hall was blocked to women. Current members of the Hall stood at vantage points and directed women through an alternative entrance. Some women who entered through the blocked forecourt, which lacked a sign to show that there was a blockade, were heckled by some students of the Hall.
CREATIVE NON-FICTION PIECE
The Akan name for vagina is a hard thing to say. If I could say it out loud, I’d do it. That’s what the boys called me.
Boys younger than me; boys who could have been my brothers.
That’s the name they screamed at me when the tips of my feet touched the paved forecourt of the Commonwealth Hall. I had been reduced to a body part; all of me- my ambitions, my fears, my dreams, my hopes; my mind. I was a body part; a part unworthy of honour from the way they spat out the name. And my crime? I had trampled on their manly shrine, entered their holy ground with all of my femininity.
Normally, I’d pause and question; I’d be curious enough to want to question what gave them the authority to block off a piece of this communal earth with the virtual barricade of jeers and vulgarity. But that Thursday evening I had little energy left in me to be incensed. I wasn’t intimidated by them or their cat-calls. I blamed our society for their actions. Why blame those boys? They were only victims of a system that insisted on drawing sharp divisions between superior and inferior, between man and woman. I was especially not surprised that the dignified alumnus looked on as filthy name after filthy name was thrown at me. They were big men, these politicians, lawyers, educators; yet they needed the balm of my shame to stroke their manhood.
So I ignored them, and kept on walking. Call me names, reduces me to whatever suits you. I will just keep on walking, and keep on moving.
About: Portia Dede Opare is a part time student and a full time thinker of all things sane and insane. Sometimes she puts some of her thoughts on paper. When she writes, she makes sense of the world.