“In the society we’re growing up with we don’t do school dances (we do) in a club with people we like and have a good chat.”
Dance in South Africa at a university. Photo: JAYANDA MARANTU
She goes on to talk about the benefits of her dance, as well as the need for good quality dance material, as well as a need to engage and engage in conversation – “because people come to our dances with new ideas or even as young children they want to try out something new”.
When asked what is the biggest reason for the need for dance in South Africa, she responds, “social engagement. As we live and dance together, we try to live in a better society, a better society where people live together with the other.”
Dance in South Africa. Photo: JAYANDA MARANTU
We also spoke to Ms Szekely about her own experiences of being sexually harassed. She explains, “in SA we have a very open way of seeing sexual harassment. When I was doing this interview, the most common words that were given in response were ‘just tell’, ‘let’s talk’, ‘it’s okay’, ‘nothing bad happened’,”
She continues, “I believe that we should take it on the chin from day one of our lives that sexual harassment is an issue. There is no need to be angry at the people who are sexually harassing us. There are people who do sexually harass people. Our job should be to support and keep other young South Africans safe.”
She concludes, “when I did my PhD I did an internet chat with a friend from university. She was a young girl in college. After the chat, she and I were sexually harassed on a train the other day – by strangers.”
The experience and knowledge shared by Ms Szekely and Ms Marantu about the importance of social dance and the potential of social dance in helping to combat sexual harassment will come as something of a surprise to many.
They say they can no longer believe that their world is full of sexism, sexual abuse and harassment in a country like South Africa.
When asked about their most recent experiences, Ms Szekely said, “when I attended a conference and was chatting to young people from different backgrounds, I was sexually harassed by one of these people.” Ms Marantu added, “at the time I was on my way home after a dance when a man on
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