Shukura is a strong woman who is living in Namibia, Africa. What she dreams of is simple, to have the freedom to medicine that Americans have. As she recounts watching each one of her siblings and both parents die of diseases or circumstances that in America are seemingly simple situations we see the essence of who she is. She is a fighter, a daughter, a sister and a leader. She is passionate about her survival but shares her view of the “American dream” in her eyes with a joy that makes us realize how appreciative we should be of the simple things in life like medicine and clean water. This piece leaves you wondering how many people are living like this? Shukura asks the question of changing shoes with us, wondering how many of us would switch places with her, no one. She does not feel sorry for her situation, she is a fighter. She shares her story with us as if we are a part of her family, she laughs, she sings and she prays for change.
DI/ Female- To Be Free
- (Scene opens with Shukura. She is a Namibia, African woman. The language she is speaking is Afrikaans. She is strong in presentation but has a softness about her that makes her story one that we listen to and genuinely care about. She sees us, is happy that there is someone here to talk to and we see a spirit in her that is beautiful. She sings. The following song gives her great joy.) Om ‘n Amerikaanse en vry te wees. In ‘n land waar ek kan lewe vry om te lewe. Amerika is pragtig. Al is dit net my voete my kan dra of my arms kan vieg, sou ek die wolke verdeeld oor my land en vry te wees in die Amerikaanse lug. (Translation: To be an American and be free. To live in a land where I can live free. America is beautiful. If only my feet could carry me or my arms could fly, I would split the clouds over my land and be free in the American sky.) That is the song that my mother use to sing to me and my brothers and sisters when we would go out working in the fields. In my country if you don’t work, you don’t eat. It doesn’t have so much to do with having the money for food as much as sometimes in this land there is just no food to be had. So when we were children and we would work, we would sing and sing and laugh because it was one of the few times that my brothers and sisters and my mother and I were all together. (Beat) As a family. My name is Shukura. In Africa we name our children very specifically. We put much thought into the names of our children. My name means, “I am grateful.” My mother told me it was because my her and my father both knew when I was born that I was going to make them proud and be a wonderful daughter. (Laughs) I always thought that was funny, they knew I would make them proud before I took a breath. They were grateful for all of the things that I would do in my life. I hope that I did not disappoint them.