a sensory workshop into what it is like to live with blindness: with youth, old age and the visually impaired

A workshop with an intergenerational theatre group based in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, a collaboration between youth from Outreach Foundation, members of Tswelopele Frail Care Centre and the Johannesburg Society for the Blind. The aim was for the cast to deconstruct and reflect on their show ‘In My Mother’s Womb’, a play that offered an intimate look into what it is like to live with blindness. I devised for this 12 interactive approaches that utilised space, symbols, experimenting with formation, role-play, mapping and the use of different senses.

  • 1. Names (Symbols)
  • 2. Mould (Sense of touch)
  • 3. Language of your heart (Language)
  • 4.  Words in the womb (in Darkness)
  • 5. Intersectionality + Themes (Space)
  • 6. Favourite quote (Deconstruct = to reach values)
  • 7. Memory / Revisit the journey (Act)
  • 8. Feelings (Embodiment = Fluid / independent response)
  • 9. Learning (Moving in / out of line = Collective direction)
  • 10. Challenges (Open up the circle)
  • 11. Transformation (Collective Symbols)
  • 12. Sharing (Sweets! / Meanings)

I remember the memory where the kids teach me how to dance, I’m blind, sometimes they touch my legs, move your legs like this, you see. The things they show me that you know the kids, they grow up they care about the people with visually impaired, they want me to do same thing with them.

Yes there was something I tried when we were doing the show, I went home, closed my eyes, and was like, “today, I’m going to be blind,” to see what kindness is. I went to the kitchen, I took a bottle of drink, opened the fridge, I saw the difference that when you see you do things in a different way and when you don’t see you do things a different way, that’s what I have learnt and respect towards them.

So these two dialogues they almost mean one and the same thing to me, it just takes me back to the rural areas where you find gravel roads, the rondevels, which are painted in beautiful colours and obviously they collect firewood from the rivers, yeah all this things.

Yes, the soul has healed me and it has helped me, because as I got my illness because of the poison that was in my mother’s womb, I was not ready to talk about it to other people, but as I have came here for the acting, whereby I have started to be prepared to talk to whosoever who is asking me about it so at least I’ve found the closure, because it was only me and my family members who knew about it, no one else who knows about it, except my family members and me, so now I can answer any questions.

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