“Three Women (Break the Silence)” is a collaboration between playwright/performer Omotayo Jolaosho, and Vernice Miller, who is directing the project. We plan to present a 40-minute solo performance, based on fieldwork with South African women activists, followed by discussion with the audience.
"Three Women (Break the Silence)" is a solo performance ethnography project based on fieldwork and interviews with South African activists. Between 2009 and 2010, Omotayo Jolaosho conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Johannesburg, South Africa, investigating how the freedom songs that galvanized collective struggles against apartheid remain crucial for post-apartheid mobilizations. In addition to academic articles and a book project, she developed a solo performance script based on this research that examines women's distinct experiences of vulnerability and community within activist collectives. The script and resulting performance examines themes including romantic entanglements, physical wellbeing, humanizing support, and what it means to find one's voice amidst gendered repression. "Three Women" is a collaboration between the playwright/performer Omotayo Jolaosho, and Vernice Miller, who is directing the project. We plan to present a 40-minute performance followed by a discussion with the audience, guided by concerns including: • The role of performance in producing knowledge about women's lives; • How the epistemological potential of performance extends beyond research encounters in the field; • Performative writing and performance ethnography as dissemination methods that re-configure and transcend fieldwork experiences; and • The collaborative process of staging South African women's voices by two women of different African descent. The project links most strongly with the sub-theme on "different modalities and experiences of fieldwork," and also contributes to the sub-theme on "health and well-being."