The Foxy Five web series premiered June 19, 2016. Jabu Newman, the show’s creator, enlisted a cast of womxn of color to act out the story. The cast includes Qiniso Van Damme, Qondiswa James, Duduza Mchunu, Tatenda Wekwatenzi, and Nala Xaba.
The show has since garnered media attention across the country. In fact, it came to my attention by way of a former colleague at LiveMag. I have watched avidly ever since, even participating in one of their fundraisers. The Foxy Five forced its viewers to engage with parts of our struggle movements that were not always so pleasant.
Searching for safety
To sum up the series in one word, the term “safety” comes to mind. The overarching theme of seeking a safer existence for womxn is clear from the first episode. The characters band together, marching at UCT, then later rendezvous at their headquarters to discuss their agenda. The topic of “safe space” comes up almost immediately. The term intends to describe a place devoid of discrimination, harassment, emotional or physical abuse. In such a place individuals are meant to feel confident in their ability to be there and feel safe.
The Foxy Five took to the streets to display their outrage over catcalling and sexual harassment. As is a common story for womxn, “the streets aren’t safe.” The band of womxn took to refining the types of people allowed into their home space. These are just a few examples of the safety seeking throughout the first season.
An unsafe body
Prolly Plebs and Womxn We had the most challenging time seeking safety, in my opinion. Both struggled with finding safety in their skin and minds. For Prolly Plebs, played by Qiniso Van Damme, the question of identity became too great when the audience was introduced to her sister. Prolly spent most of episode five battling with the details of her bloodline: her complexion, accent, hair, and gender identity. The issue of what one identifies as can drive anyone to seemingly irrational behavior when on the path to self discovery.
Womxn We’s issue was the lack of safety in her mind, caused by her battle with anxiety. Throughout the series, we watched her battle with trying to complete her studies and balance herself as she adjusted to her medication. Some of the self confidence that we saw in other characters, Womxn We, played by Nala Xaba, never seemed to have herself fully collected, though her intellectualism made it seem otherwise.
The importance of going back home
This year I moved back home. It’s no secret that 2016 was a rocky year. I found a therapist in Claremont. Though I haven’t been as regular as I should about going, it gives me hope that I’ll get to where I’m supposed to by confronting my mental health in the first place.
Unity Bond, played by Duduza Mchunu, leads the struggle song “Siyaya” in a car with the rest of The Foxy Five. I remember my first time watching the final scene and heaving. “Kubi, kubi, kubi…siyaya…noba besidubula…siyaya…besibopha siyaya…besishiya…siyaya…” they sang. As the song played, I understood. Sometimes, you’ve got to go back home to understand where next you need to go.
Images sourced from The Foxy Five Facebook Page. Learn and unlearn with The Foxy Five. Watch episode one below.