Lebo Mashile: ‘When their policing doesn’t work, they call you a problematic b**ch’

Poet Lebo Mashile
Poet Lebo Mashile
Image: Instagram/Lebo Mashile

It’s sometimes hard being an outspoken person, especially in the entertainment industry, poet Lebo Mashile says.  

The poet, who has been vocal about misogyny, racism and inequality in the workplace to name a few, shared the pros and cons of being strongly opinionated.

Taking to Twitter, Lebo wrote, “When you care about justice, they call you angry. When you tell the truth, they call you bitter. When their policing doesn’t work, they call you a problematic b**ch. When you write your own story, they ignore it, until they can’t. Then they pretend they loved you all along.”

Lebo followed her tweet with another one claiming the reasons that at times people bring awareness to certain issues is to “dismantle hierarchies and systemic oppressions” to make sure their voices are being heard.

“If your woo woo is not about dismantling hierarchies and systemic oppressions, then miss me with it please. All lives matter woo woo is invested in erasure. All of us chose this specific time to incarnate to do this work. It is spiritual and political. Your chakras ain’t better.

As vocal as many may perceive her, in December, Lebo spoke out about finding her voice after being body-shamed.

This was after the award-winning poet launched a theatre production based on the life of SA icon Saartjie Baartman called Venus vs Modernity, drawing from her own experience of being body-shamed.

Venus vs Modernity explored the links between Saartjie’s experiences on tour in Europe with the modern-day struggles of body issues, gender-based violence and sexuality.

Lebo conceptualised the production nearly 10 years ago when she found herself in an ongoing war against body-shaming.

In 2010 the poet was attacked publicly for her weight after columnist Eric Miyeni claimed that she had gained weight since they had first met and ­expressed concern for her health. She responded by slamming the writer and labelling it a ruse.