‘Before funny things started’ | A World Cup monologue by Tapuwa Moore

Editor’s note

Tapuwa Moore

I met Tapuwa Moore in Jun 09 when she coached Chosen Few Lesbian Soccer Club, the team affiliated with the Forum for the Empowerment of Women in Johannesburg. As she prowled a Rustenburg touchline in jean jacket, instantly I recognized a managerial presence far transcending Fabio Capello. She spoke, words of honey flowed. She diagrammed a soccer-based theory of communication on the back of her clipboard; footballers, she theorizes, are part of a communications network, the perfect analogy for a side of gay women learning to trust each other and to share past trauma. She is brilliant, I think. I look at my small video camera. Like the crestfallen BBC World Service reporter I met at the 2003 Women’s World Cup who had conducted postgame interviews with the microphone plugged into the “Line In” jack, I had forgotten to press the record button. This has happened to me many times. The most brilliant incantations about soccer defy a digital age.

Moore told me about her performance poetry, about her improvisations relating football to gay sex. In another monologue that begins “I will not drag anger along in this journey of my life,” she narrates her experience of multiple sexual assaults, of “having lost myself because of a penis-bodied person.” Football and basketball—Moore plays both—are not trivial in rebuilding the self within a homophobic society. Partly due to the releases of sport and creation, she no longer replays how the first rapist “removed by navy blue Barcelona shorts. … I made a decision not to look for myself outside of me. … I stopped remembering, I see it as a disruptive unnecessary need.”

She is an actress, comic, gender activist and poet who raps in South Africa’s indigenous languages as well as Afrikaans and English. She is teaching herself Spanish. In May 2010 she appeared in a South African production of The Vagina Monologues, performing “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy.”

She is emblematic of the paradox in FIFA’s stewardship of the World Cup that in claiming to show us the world’s best, we sometimes miss the world’s good. Moore (tapuwamoore@yahoo.com) seeks sponsorship in order to stage this monologue both in and outside South Africa. She reminds readers that the text is not meant to be read, but said aloud.

by Tapuwa Moore | Soweto, South Africa

Before funny things started I was not embroiled in World Cup fever. I was yet to own a yellow Bafana Bafana shirt. In my possession I only had a “Les Bleus” shirt, a gift from a French professor, Rémy Bazenguissa, University of Lille. Actually I thought even if “that thing” (the South Africa shirt) was on sale or free I did not have any aspirations to own it. Why should I? I was convinced the national team would choke at crunch time. And to many of my friends I don’t need to say I told you so. But I’m saying it anyway, “I told you so.” I guess I must have been the only pessimist non-patriotic female in South Africa. The Mbombela speed train, Gautrain, had yet to move. But the marketing train was moving.

Page 1 of 4 | Next page