Black and fat women singing

Patience Bambalele

Patience Bambalele

Poet and writer Napo Masheane is one of the few individuals who are taking theatre to new heights with her creativity.

After producing her powerful comic play My Bum is Genetic, Deal With It, she looks like a woman who has found her niche.

The play, which ran at Wits Theatre, Johannesburg, was narrated in the voice of a young black woman in a new South Africa, who embarks on a journey to discover, understand and own her image of African beauty.

Masheane is back again with a new exciting show, Fat Black Women Sing. The show is scheduled for a season at the Market Theatre in Newtown from February 16.

Fat Black Women Sing is about five women who are preparing, in various ways, to perform in a concert, and they meet backstage.

They have one thing in common: they are obsessed with their weight. Alternately proud and full of self-doubt, they engage in witty and lively exchanges and sing wonderful songs.

The show comes after Jodi Bieber's exhibition at the Goodman Gallery that tackled the same theme - women and their bodies.

Titled Real Beauty, the exhibition showed how a lot of women in South Africa suffer from anorexia.

Bieber showed that in some communities a thin and tall woman might be perceived as being sick, possibly with HIV-Aids, and a full-bodied woman as healthy.

Masheane's show debates the issue in a creative way. The show addresses issues affecting women of all races and cuts through culture and the norm. It dismantles boundaries and tells it like it is. The play is about beauty, pain, appreciation, self-acceptance, healing, self-love and celebration, but mostly it's a song by every fat black woman.

The show says to women that if diet works for you, stick to it, and if not, accept your body as it is.