I don’t like to call myself a disruptor, but because of the body, gender, and country I was born in, there is no other plan for me. In Botswana, the word woman is synonymous with glass, pillar, and resilience. I have spent time questioning if our forefathers likened women to strength as an invitation to boys and men to break us, test us, and try us, to see if truly we are made of glass.
Mmangwana o tshwara thipa ko bogaleng is a declaration that our flesh does not bruise, cut or bend.
Ntlo ntlo se thubege motsetsi o mo teng is a song we sang as young girls.
We poured water over soil and kneaded mud into huts pillared by our feet.
Pleading with home not to break for the sake of the nursing mother and her infant.
We were taught to be homemakers before we could learn to write our own names.
We were taught to stay put in homes nearing collapse clinging only to the echoes of our great grandmothers’ prayers
I dream in Donna Haraway, cyborg style. Only in my perfect world, my perfect woman has taser guns for hands, a tear gas cylinder instead of a neck, springs on her feet, and facial recognition software for eyes. I want her to own her peace, to care for her mental health, just as much as she does her flesh and tech-power. I want her to twist her waist as she walks and not whimper at the shadows of men who walk behind her.
We women are still searching for words that give us permission to exist within ourselves in peace. Just one mirror to tell us the bumps on our skin are roadmaps of a ceasefire. We have been told to obey the flame, to surrender our dreams to autopilot, but in our sleep we are not just bones carrying pieces of earth between hollow spaces and flesh. Our shadows are not the darkness in us. We run to those we flee from because trouble never wears the same outfit twice. We are lace-like threads, fragile; sitting one on top of another praying we don’t break each other lined up, choir style, singing the same song but everyone watching has ear muffs on.
We are not second class citizens. We will no longer live life in an eternal state of apology for being women. We are tired of fighting for spaces, safety, and solace. If disruptor is the new synonym for defiance, then we take it, we own it, and we do with it as we please to protect this endangered species named Woman.
*Mosadi – Woman
Galase – Glass