Ephasini Lamabhudango: Reimagining the Ndebele Woman in Modern Day Johannesburg

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A young Ndebele woman, in modern day Johannesburg, reveals her “envisioned dream world” — an enactment of her dream outside of the post-colonial construction of the Ndebele female identity.

Ephasini Lamabhudango (meaning “your dream world” in Xhosa) is a short film about the celebration and reimagining of the Ndebele woman.

The film centers on a courageous woman’s representation of the female body in the so-called modern world, and it’s emphatic need to liberate and reclaim itself. It depicts, both in image and words, a refusal to undergo everyday restrictions and pressure that displaces it from its traditional ways. It calls attention to the emancipation of the body, to brake free from modern day environments designed to control and seize the female body.

Bold and beautifully dressed in traditional dress, actress Tsholofelo Maseko is seen in the film taking her message to the streets, and even the front seat of a taxi, in Johannesburg. She dares viewers to re-imagine her chosen and natural way of existence. Her poised words declare, as the ‘subject owner’, the right to own, honor, and love one’s own body as much as make certain it’s rightful need to be true to itself and live as it wishes.

“How I’m dressed is the most beautiful. It’s like ultimate beauty. But in the modern world how I’m dressed is nudity. It’s sex; it’s not respect. It’s shame. It’s disgusting”, the Ndebele woman says, questioning the modern world’s gaze and its failure to imagine.

Beyond nudity, it appears at the heart of the film is a woman’s actualization of her dream —self-declaration against conventional control.