The Born Frees: Writing with the Girls of Gugulethu

The Born Frees: Writing with the Girls of Gugulethu

by Kimberly Burge


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A creative writing group unites and inspires girls of the first South African generation “born free.”

Born into post-apartheid South Africa, the young women of the townships around Cape Town still face daunting challenges. Their families and communities have been ravaged by poverty, violence, sexual abuse, and AIDS. Yet, as Kimberly Burge discovered when she set up a writing group in the township of Gugulethu, the spirit of these girls outshines their circumstances.

Girls such as irrepressible Annasuena, whose late mother was one of South Africa’s most celebrated singers; bubbly Sharon, already career-bound; and shy Ntombi, determined to finish high school and pursue further studies, find reassurance and courage in writing. Together they also find temporary escape from the travails of their lives, anxieties beyond boyfriends and futures: for some of them, worries that include HIV medication regimens, conflicts with indifferent guardians, struggles with depression. Driven by a desire to claim their own voices and define themselves, their writing in the group Amazw’Entombi, “Voices of the Girls,” provides a lodestar for what freedom might mean.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393239164
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 08/03/2015
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Kimberly Burge is a journalist based in Washington, DC.

Table of Contents

Dramatis Personae xi

Prologue: In My Own Being 1

Part 1 Voices of the Girls

1 Our Pride 11

2 OVCs 27

3 Disclosure 40

4 Amazw' Entombi 61

Part 2 You Strike a Woman, You Strike a Rock

5 A Force to Be Reckoned With 83

6 Paradise Road 109

7 You Can Wear Your Gucci or Your Prada, But I Don't Have to Feel Insecure Just Because I'm Wearing My Mr. Price 129

8 Do You Even Ask Yourself Who Is She? 152

9 All These Thoughts in My Head and Heart 177

10 Be You to the Full 202

11 And Guess What? I'm Still Alive 230

12 Make the Choice to Live and Not Just Exist 231

Part 3 Ubuntu in Abundance: Gugulethu, Two Years Later

13 As Old or As Young As Democracy 233

14 Still Trying to Find My Way Through 300

Epilogue: Youth Day 324

Acknowledgments 333

Selected Bibliography 343

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