3rd African Feminist Forum: Bella’s ‘story’ from the writing workshop

One of the skills based workshops which took place yesterday was on ‘Writing, writing, writing’ and one of the exercises that participants took part in was a ‘5 minute free non stop writing process’. As part of the learning process a number of volunteers offered to share their stories and we were all blown away. What beauty. How articulate. So thought provoking! And all this was done in 5 minutes? Clearly women should write more. Clearly we should dedicate at least 5 minutes a day to practising the art of writing. Clearly writing is an act of resistance.

Below is a story by Bella from Zimbabwe:

She was unexpected. Arrived home in the middle of the afternoon having finished a bitterly exhausting shift on the gold mine. One short phrase clamoured in her head: The Riches of the Earth. There was nothing wealthy about her life. She felt poorer than the dirt she sieved through her fingers every day in search of nuggets.

She waited for the bucket to fill. The municipal water was in a bad mood again. Only a weak trickle licked the lips of the tap and dropped, with fatigue, into the hungry plastic of the cheap battered blue bucket. There was enough for her to wash away the layer of ash that covered her skin, turning it from a rich chocolate, to some colour she could never name.

She thought about the supper she wanted to prepare for her children. Worked out how to turn the dull, green leaves into a tasty relish flavoured with the zing of Ginger and garlic.

Something drew her mind away from the recipe. A cloud in her home.

Pushing back the kitchen door, she was pleased at the blob of Vaseline she was able to spare to oil the once squeaky hinges into silence.

And there he was. Buttocks exposed, trouser waist resting around the back of his knees. On top of her girl.

Bella speaking at 'The Great Debate' during the 3rd AFF


  1. Nana Darkoa says:

    This story blows me away. Its well written, extremely evocative and the ending just leaves you in shock…what is probably more shocking is that this ‘story’ is recognised as not really a ‘story’. I see it as a true incident, an incident that happened yesterday, that happened last month, that happened several years ago….

  2. Kathambi says:

    I can attest that this was actually written in 5 minutes!! It was a great workshop.

  3. Kathambi says:

    There is so much talent. African feminists need to write more.

  4. BAAKE SPECIOZA, Uganda says:

    that is real and also very touching BELLA. thanks for inspiring us with your art of writing. you can make it to even greater heights and be a perfect writer. i realy wanted to go on and read up to the end.

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