Today, we celebrate International Day of the Girl Child and the theme for 2019 is GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable. This got me thinking about what a GirlForce really is. Although I tried to find a short answer to share with you, I failed because the answer to this question is much more than a single statement.
A GirlForce is an army of women fighting for a present reality that is safer, smarter, more equal and better equipped to give future generations a world they deserve. GirlForce is an establishment of girls and women alike, across all corners of the world – who, despite the towering problems placed before them, rise up and pioneer solutions. Today, the GirlForce is stopping child marriages, promoting education, standing up against gender-based violence, demanding action on climate change and standing up for women’s’ rights. This is what it means to be unscripted and unstoppable.
The reality is that we aren’t the first generation of this GirlForce, which got us as Blackboard Africa thinking about the shoulders of sacrifice and struggle that we now stand on. We thought, ‘What better way is there to celebrate the rise of the GirlForce than to honor its lineage and roots?’
Blackboard Africa has decided to honor some of the legends and icons that have opened all the doors and opportunities before us. Our chosen medium of expression for this was fashion.
We collaborated with the incredible artist Masonwabe Ntloko to create illustrations of the women we wish to celebrate this year. We want to remind the GirlForce of the power they possess to change the status quo. We want this GirlForce to be unapologetically loud and proud, and use this time to exclaim our appreciation for the contributions that these women have made in their industries and society at large. We wish to show where we come from in a way that clearly expresses what we are capable of disrupting. We thank these women for their lessons.
Mam’ Winnie “Strike the women, and you strike the rock.” Thank you for teaching us resilience, for living it and making it known to the world that the GirlForce is powerful and ready to do what it takes to ensure our future.
Mam’ Miriam, “I don’t sing politics, I merely sing the truth.’We thank you for teaching us to use our platform to speak our truth no matter who’s watching or listening.
Mam’ Brenda Fassie “I don’t dream of things, I think of things and I plan.” Thank you for teaching us dedication, commitment, and that hard work will always take us higher than we could ever imagine.
Mam’ Ester Mahlangu “I don’t want my culture to die out. I want it to live on and my children to know so that they can teach their children one day.” Thank you for teaching us the necessity of preserving our culture and heritage, as well as being at the forefront of sharing it with the world.
“May our GirlForce grow stronger. May our GirlGang grow wider. May our impact reach further.”