New Era (Windhoek)

15 March 2013

Namibia: Still I Rise? Maya Angelou

opinion

With International Woman's Day being celebrated this month, Artlife's review one of the most celebrated black and female poets, Maya Angelou.

Still I Rise is an impeccable piece of work that celebrates the identity of women and an ideal embodiment of the courage and grace that allows women like Angelou to bounce back from the trials and tribulations women are often faced with.

Though drafted most exclusively in confrontation of political oppression, Maya's poem easily reflects her own life as a teenaged mother who amidst the struggles of raising her son, Guy, and keeping down a job managed to rise and transformed herself into becoming a proud and respectable woman.

"Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops.

Weakened by my soulful cries."

Angelou enquires with a coolness that almost take you by surprise but reassures the oppressor that even though 'you may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, (that) still, like air, I'll rise."

Angelou's poem echoes that despite being dragged across the floor of discrimination, hauled over the bend of domestic violence and slaughtered by one of a string of perverts, I as a woman will not have my spirit killed and will just as death is certain, will I rise.

And as a woman who knows pain, had been acquainted with disappointment I also proclaim that 'although from a past that is rooted in pain and amidst this frequent slaying of women, women shall eventually become courageous enough to leave behind the 'nights of terror and fear' and be able to rise to a fuller bosom and be reclaim their lives from the rib.

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