“Say No, Black Woman”: The Giant is Falling and the erasure of Black women in South Africa

Monday, 12 February, 2018 - 15:00

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Black women in South Africa are challenging power in various ways. We Black women are engaged in activist-intellectual projects to build a more humane society through our time, voices (written, signed, made verbal), labour, physical presence, ideas and political strategies to build branches/chapters to movements. To engage The Giant is Falling is to engage with the negation of Black women in South Africa, their history and acts of resistance. One of the things the fi lm shows well, ironi- cally, is how fractured South African society still is by highlighting the cracks in the myth of the South African ‘ rainbow nation ’ , as well as the promoted narrative of a “ miracle nation ” 1 of our democracy. Yet this is not enough to save the fi lm. Effec- tively, The Giant Must Fall reaf fi rmed the fl awed perspective that politics and political analysis is the sphere of men.As scholars and activists have af fi rmed (Mangcu, 2011), memory and archive - whether through cinematic or written texts - is political. Memorialising the past two decades of South African political discourse while excluding Black women is not neutral. In order for us to create a just society, those that have institutional and fi nancial power to support progressive storytelling should question their role in supporting storytellers that proudly assert that: “ I wouldn’ t describe myself as an expert or … . committed to inter-sectional analysis ”, as Desai did in the radio interview I cited earlier (McKaiser, 2016). I hope that through paying attention and listening deeply to the voices of Black women Desai and other filmmakers seeking to tell stories of a nation will be more vigilant, because silence and erasure of Black women’ s political agency will be resisted.

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