Brumilda van Rensburg from Binnelanders is a bona fide woman with a good head on her shoulders. She will be playing an interesting role in a new film The Leading Lady.
How do you relate to your character in The Leading Lady?
Magdaleen adores her family and she loves to spoil them. She enjoys entertaining and there is always a koeksister at hand. She is a strong Christian principled Afrikaans woman and is very proud of her heritage. She is a leader in her town Brandfort and she has a set of screwdrivers, and a black lace bra.
How does the character portray South African women in the 21st century?
She has compassion, her best friend is Sarah her housekeeper. The drought brought about difficult times on the farm but she is a survivor. The struggle for respect, freedom and dignity that brought women to Pretoria half a century ago; women continue, as they must, to mobilise, to gain strength in their networks, and to fight for equality and against injustice. The song Wathint’abafazi wathint’imbokotho meaning you have struck a rock, you have struck a woman that is Magdaleen for you. Don’t treat her any differently than you would the queen.
How does the film in general portray women, and do you support what is depicted?
For whatever reason, if a woman is doing a job, everyone thinks it must be easy. They still don’t take us seriously. The Leading Lady wants Africa to prove a point and that she can act to avoid nepotism and she succeeds. The women in the film are still standing tall. They are still strong and they are still fighting.
Do you think SA has reached the gender equality that numerous feminists fought for?
The enemy is an old system that unites women across colour and class lines, the system of patriarchy. And the impact of this system plays itself out most profoundly in the lives of the women in the trenches of South African rural and urban areas that face the day-to-day struggles of poverty, HIV/Aids, crime and insecurity and sexual violence against themselves and their children. SA’s top female business leaders –women are still treated differently back in the boardroom. Although women are more than 50 per cent of the world’s population, they perform two thirds of the world’s work, receive one-tenth of the world’s income, and own one-hundredth of the world’s property.
What more do you think South African women should work toward?
We have to reclaim our identity, the diva in us as and internalise new mythologies of strength and power as to enable ourselves once again to visibly demonstrate our strength and unity. I believe “our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.” (A Course in Miracles). We have to understand again that “We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. As we let our light shine; we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence will automatically liberate others.” (Marianne Williamson)
What is the best gift you have given your mother for women’s month?
My mom was the same shoe size as me so what can say. I loved seeing her tip-toeing in them and the smile on her face.
Any advice for young women who are aspiring entrepreneurs?
Owning an acting school and an acting agency, I see a lot of potential young actresses. Be patient to play the ‘Leading Lady’. Meantime work at your craft and perfect your technique. Be creative and create your own work, pay your dues, invest in furthering your studies, do not sit and wait. The world does not owe you anything but you will be rewarded with excellence when your time comes, provided that by then you are brilliant and a shining light to work with.