Deconstruction of social constructs begins with asking the question ‘Why?’
It is deemed as an act of disrespect to ask why things are the way they are and advocating for change often turns smiles upside down. During apartheid, the mere audacity to ask ‘why?’ and fighting for change constituted treason but Dr Beverly Ditsie did it anyway.
In this bonus conversation of The Sit Down With Olwe2lesh, Dr Beverly Ditsie did not deprive us of any ounce of truth and wisdom. In true custodian, organiser and activist fashion they took their time lovingly and thoughtfully responding to questions affording us the time to digest powerful yet painful truths.
Dr Ditsie believes in disrupting systems of power to reshape and redefine leadership that affects people on the ground – particularly ‘the feminine.’ Olwethu and Dr Ditsie spent time breaking down why it is ‘the feminine’ that are the most vulnerable to violence from systems of power.
The feminine refers to children, women, and queer people. Anything that is not masculine, or masculine enough according to patriarchal constructs, is seen as weak, and susceptible to abuse. ‘’I like how power works,’’ says Dr Ditsie. They went on to share that any terminology that isn’t associated with masculinity is imparted with negativity because it is seen as a threat to patriarchy. For example, the word ‘’woke,’’ and ‘’Lesbian.’’
Dr Ditsie also spoke about the historic speech they gave in Beijing at the United Nations’ fourth World Conference on Women — highlighting the fact that the speech was a collaborative effort with their friends and associates who needed representation as well.
Some of our big takeaways from this conversation is the importance and power of letting go of fear and that queer visibility, amongst other ways, will be fully realised through disruption of power.
In celebration of their 50th birthday, Dr Ditsie is launching their foundation. We hope that their ‘must watch’ documentary film, ‘’Lesbians Free Everyone’’ will be easily accessible to everyone soon — we can all stand to learn from those who have paved the way and given their lives in the fight for visibility.