My Heroine

I had seen Frida Kahlo on t-shirts, cushions and handbags, but never really knew who she was. “Perhaps she was just a famous painter,” I thought. Till now.

The same Retha Ingenbleek who introduced me to SPAR and ushered me in as a brand ambassador, briefed me on a speaking engagement SPAR wanted for an audience of several hundred young scholar athletes at a University Sports South Africa (USSA) netball camp. I was the keynote speaker for the opening night, and I learned later that the girls (average age 16-19) had less exposure to Frida Kahlo than I had. They hadn’t even seen the t-shirts with the self-portraits of the famous Mexican artist adorning her unibrow and mustache!

I tried to break down this perplexed, charming, witty and sorrow-filled woman into four areas for discussion: activism, authenticity, love and pain. These four themes intersected often throughout Frida’s life and comprised who she was. I wanted the girls to (Be) Active: their voice is not enough, their hands and feet should be used to plant and to march; (Be) Authentic: no matter what others may say; Love: although you’ll get hurt; (Embrace) Pain: listen to the uncomfortable messages meant for you.

I never expected one woman, one talk, one opportunity to change my life so quickly and with such authority. Maybe it’s because of the gravity of the times we live in and the urgency of the call for change. Just like for Frida. Gracias por su vida autenticamente colorida. Thank you for your authentic colorful life.