BIRTH AND DEATH IN MY LIFE

LETTERS GALLERY

This is a gallery of letters. Letters from viewers to 12 of the participants of Mats Staub’s project, Death And Birth In My Life.  Here, National Arts Festival audiences add their responses and messages to the collection of letters already accumulated from elsewhere. Both audience and participant as well as undetected observer has the opportunity to reflect on the conversations and share with the participants who have spoken

Dear Dominique & Smangele,

My wife gave birth to No2 four months ago. And I know you’re SO right in everything you said. And you’re fantastic and perfect in the way you know it, you’re clear about, and share it.
Thank you.
David

Dear Donna, dear Cath, 

I am writing to you from Hanover, where I have just seen your interview. It touches me deeply and I would like to thank you for your openness, for your warm smiles and your big hearts”. Your talk was so intense and I felt with you. I lost my mum in 2008, she died of cancer as well. I started to cry when I listened and watched your video. I felt close to you. I was also really impressed how you talked about your profession as a nurse. Everybody must feel happy to be nursed by you in hospital and I am sure, that the family members feel comforted as well. Thank you again to get introduced to you and parts of your life. 

A warm greeting from Hanover to Manchester, from me to both of you,
Marlies

Niel & Lali

I would just like to say I found this clip so moving and profound. I have been really struggling lately with an issue of my own making and can only see disaster for my life and have been considering what it would be like if I could make it all go away by just not being here. But your discussion opened my eyes and reminded me of all who love and forgive me including God. I have the strength to take this and if I harm myself it is clear that it would devastate my family and friends. It is no coincidence that I did listen to your conversation today and i’m grateful that it could have a positive effect on me and a devastating decision I was contemplating

thank you.

Dear Hlengiwe, 

I felt like I was with you when you were speaking. I felt your spirit in my body. That was crazy somehow. But a very beautiful experience.
You bring so much life and I’m happy you’re working with youths & children (if I understood it in the right way) because I’m sure it puts a huge effect on them. We can all learn a lot from you. Thank you for your wise words and the love you give.

Love,
TL

Dear Sharon,

Thank you for sharing your story, your thoughts, your feelings, your…!
It was so touching. I cried, but I cried some thankful tears. Thankful for the very positive perspective on life. You’re such a strong woman. A very inspiring human being. I wish you much power & energy for your further way, with your children, family & friends.

Love,
TL

Dear Donna, Dear Cath,

Thank you for sharing your stories and allowing others to share in your tears and laughter. Donna, my heart goes out to all your brothers and sisters, wherever they are. Your story of how your family member assumed you were desensitised to death was very touching and I wish for strength kindness,  and openness of heart. Cath, I pray your mother used those eleven gifted golden years in full spirit and appreciated your truly caring nature.
I wish you both and all those close to you all the very best in life and beyond.

With love,
Peter

Dear Donna & Cath

thank you for what you do and for always doing your best in your job
Listening to your story made me realize that sometimes I get angry about something which is not important while I should be grateful and happy about the wonderful people and life I have.
I truly admire you both and your bravery and how open and honest you’ve been in expressing your feelings.
We’re becoming  moms soon and I really hope I can be open to our boy and inspire him the same way you did with us today.
Thanks so much to share this with us.

Love
Greta ALESSIA

DEAR DOMINIQUE AND SMANGELE,

WHAT POWERFUL AND STRONG WORDS! WE FEEL EMPOWERED TO STAND UP FOR OUR-SELVES AS YOUNG WOMEN (21/20 YEARS)!
KEEP ON OPENLY TALK ABOUT THE TOPICS!
THANK YOU so much.

Best wishes,
Ricarda and EVA

Dear Dominique + Smangele,

Thank you so much! To watch you both listening, with so much care, attention and empathy, was the biggest, most touching thing for me. You seemed to be really connected in a very beautiful way.
You are both so strong! Wow!
Grounded + confident in your own inner wisdom.
I was deeply moved and also felt a sense of rejoicing in the strength of you two, women generally, MOTHERS!, and the sisterhood!

With deep gratitude to you both,
Debbie 

Dear Cath, 

I have heard your story 3 times by now. And everytime it warms my heart. Every time I can process the loss of my father a little bit better and with a bit more understanding.
Lucky must be your patients.
Still this topic of privacy is incredibly powerful to me.
Thank you so so much for your honest and deep sharing!

Dear Sharon & Hlengiwe, 

Thank you for sharing this with us. I was very moved by your stories and by how strong women you are. Sharon, your children – all of them – will always be with you for sure. Having nearly lost one I can slightly imagine your pain and only send you some strength. Both of you are an inspiration!

Thanks,
Tina

Dear Sharon & Hlengiwe,

You are two incredibly strong women!

You gave so much of your intellect, soul and personal engagement in these stories, that I feel honoured of having witnessed your conversation. I as a young woman myself feel inspired & empowered to live my life, fight for women’s rights and give birth to girls that will shape this planet. Thank you so much!

Dear Dominique & Smangele,

Thank you so much for your heartwarming, cheerful and powerful lioness words.
As a woman I felt truly inspired and overwhelmed.

All the best for the both of you,
Flora

Dear Dominique & Smangele

If I am going to have a child one day, I hope I’ll remember the things you two said. And I think I’m going to smile about that and will have your beautiful memories of your births around me.

Thank you for sharing that knowledge.
Mia

If you would like to share your reflections or responses with Sharon, Hlengiwe, Tony, Kaminina, Dominique, Smangele, Niel, Lali, Donna, Cath, Rob or Dave, we invite you to do so by way of a letter.

You can write a letter and send it in to the Festival by emailing letters@nationalartsfestival.co.za.  We will send it to Mats to pass on to its recipient.  

If you consent, we would like to add it to the collection of letters, which has been accumulating over several presentations.  View a selection of letters in the gallery.

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa.

Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Donec quam felis, ultricies nec, pellentesque eu, pretium quis, sem.

Nulla consequat massa quis enim. Donec pede justo, fringilla vel, aliquet nec, vulputate eget, arcu.

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Aliquam lorem ante, dapibus in, viverra quis, feugiat a, tellus. Phasellus viverra nulla ut metus varius laoreet. Quisque rutrum. Aenean imperdiet.

Etiam ultricies nisi vel augue. Curabitur ullamcorper ultricies nisi. Nam eget dui. Etiam rhoncus.

Maecenas tempus, tellus eget condimentum rhoncus, sem quam semper libero, sit amet adipiscing sem neque sed ipsum. Nam quam nunc, blandit vel, luctus pulvinar, hendrerit id, lorem.

Maecenas nec odio et ante tincidunt tempus. Donec vitae sapien ut libero venenatis faucibus. Nullam quis ante. Etiam sit amet orci eget eros faucibus tincidunt. Duis leo. Sed fringilla mauris sit amet nibh. Donec sodales sagittis magna. Sed consequat, leo eget bibendum sodales, augue velit cursus nunc,

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa.

Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Donec quam felis, ultricies nec, pellentesque eu, pretium quis, sem.

Nulla consequat massa quis enim. Donec pede justo, fringilla vel, aliquet nec, vulputate eget, arcu.

In enim justo, rhoncus ut, imperdiet a, venenatis vitae, justo. Nullam dictum felis eu pede mollis pretium. Integer tincidunt. Cras dapibus.

Vivamus elementum semper nisi. Aenean vulputate eleifend tellus. Aenean leo ligula, porttitor eu, consequat vitae, eleifend ac, enim.

Aliquam lorem ante, dapibus in, viverra quis, feugiat a, tellus. Phasellus viverra nulla ut metus varius laoreet. Quisque rutrum. Aenean imperdiet.

Etiam ultricies nisi vel augue. Curabitur ullamcorper ultricies nisi. Nam eget dui. Etiam rhoncus.

Maecenas tempus, tellus eget condimentum rhoncus, sem quam semper libero, sit amet adipiscing sem neque sed ipsum. Nam quam nunc, blandit vel, luctus pulvinar, hendrerit id, lorem.

Maecenas nec odio et ante tincidunt tempus. Donec vitae sapien ut libero venenatis faucibus. Nullam quis ante. Etiam sit amet orci eget eros faucibus tincidunt. Duis leo. Sed fringilla mauris sit amet nibh. Donec sodales sagittis magna. Sed consequat, leo eget bibendum sodales, augue velit cursus nunc,