The tenth and final episode of the Feminism Under Corona chapter follows a conversation with poet, playwright and theatre director Koleka Putuma. Author of the poetry book Collective Amnesia (2017) and the play No Easter Sunday for Queers (2017), she is founder and director of Manyano Media, a multidisciplinary project that produces and supports the work and stories of black queer artists and queer life.
The conversation between Koleka Putuma, in Cape Town, and Sonia Fernández Pan, in Berlin, took place at the end of January 2021. They talked a lot about poetry, as a practice, as part of Koleka Putuma’s early biography and as a working context. The pandemic appeared also from the social impact and political power that language holds. As we know, the very nature of a virus includes as part of its evolutionary process continuous transformations over time. The fact that these new mutations appear in specific regions of this planet should not add national labels to them. They produce ideological implications and spread accumulated prejudices. And yet the media and many governments insist on referring territorially to processes that are beyond national identities. Structural violence against womxn and femicides are a pandemic long before the one produced by Covid-19. At the present time, not only do these two pandemics coexist structurally, but the current situation generally intensifies violence against women. Every Three Hours (2019) is a poem by Koleka Putuma that refers to the murder rate of womxn in South Africa and the insufficient state and social support to end this pervasive violence. In a world that depicts so many forms of violence in graphs and statistics, poetry and words are able to speak of what numbers do not count and do not tell.