• Sphe Mbuso

Lens On Local: Measure of a Woman

A film inspired by Caster Semenya, showing at Molo Mollo on 15 August 2019.

Directed by the award-winning Sara Blecher, known for Ayanda (2015), Otelo Burning (2011) and Bay of Plenty (2007), Measure of a Woman is a powerful SAFTA-nominated short film about the challenges sportswomen encounter when they outperform in any category – a prejudice that is increased when the athlete is a black woman.

At the 2018 World Rowing Championships, an unknown South African wins the women single scull event, smashing through the field making all the others look like amateurs. It’s a great victory for her and South Africa, but it also opens the floodgates of worldwide scrutiny. Doping charges flood in, as they always are in such cases, but so too are allegations that the 19-year-old isn’t even a woman.

At this point, the influence Caster Semenya’s story has had on the writers is telling. As a lesbian woman, Ntombi (played by queer actress Mandisa Nduna) and has to face the challenges of what society deems a woman should look like. Should she become another person, to go along with what the public calls a woman?

While framed from the perspective of female athletes, this story is one that addresses the challenges that women of all races and careers face on a daily basis, suffering gender discrimination when they do not fit the outdated and restrictive mould of what they are told they should be.

Measure of a Woman forms part of Half the Sky, an analogy feature film which gathered independent short films by five female directors from China, Russia, India, Brazil, and South Africa, on the subject of “Contemporary Female Sentiments and the Society” from feminine visual perspectives.

Measure of a Woman will be showing at Superbly Selected Spectacular Shorts on 15 August along with other specially-curated short films that celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and call for the acceleration of gender parity.

Tickets for Superbly Selected Spectacular Short are now available. Click here to buy tickets.

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