Mrs Fogurty….

In this video, I take on the persona of a 3rd grader and reflect on my teacher’s insistence for us to pronounce certain words  in a British accent. Using this persona helps me to keep my narrative simple and adds an element of innocence… I think…

You are welcome to take from it what ever you want. Through this video, I am making a comment about how in many African nations, but particularly Zimbabwe, European culture is esteemed more than indigenous culture.  I am asking myself, why is it that Mrs Fogurty insisted that we pronounce our words the way that she did, yet she probably could not speak a word of Shona or Ndebele?  Why is long straight hair better than short natural hair among black Zimbabweans.

In saying this, I am in no ways attacking white Zimbabweans, European culture or black Zimbabweans. Instead, I am trying to process this for myself and in so doing trying to understand my identity.  In my opinion, the whole system is messed up. Black Zimbabweans do not promote tradition as much as they ought to, thus they fail to challenge the lingering ‘white is superior’ undertone that exists in many aspects of Zim society, but particularly in group A private schools. They don’t promote it because to them it looks ‘backward’..what ever that means.

At the same time, white Zimbabweans don’t try to adopt local culture and see no real value in questioning this superiority complex that stems from colonial mentality. They expect the world to speak to them in English. As they laugh at Shona accents. Why do we join them in belittling ourselves? It’s not that they cannot try to integrate, it’s that they just don’t try. Many white Americans can pronounce my full name well, yet my headmistress ‘struggled’ to pronounce it through out my 6 years of high school.

I hope that the next generation of Zimbabweans will be proud of the positive elements of their traditional heritage and that no body will laugh at 8 year old Fadzai for failing to speak like the Queen.


Just in case you are wondering. This story is true- if I remember correctly. Mrs Fogurty is a white Zimbabwean woman, and despite how she appears in this narrative, she was a really wonderful teacher. She decorated our classroom with an entire population of  glittery fairies! I don’t know if she is still teaching at my primary school. Fadzai and I have remained really good friends and she is doing fine, despite her failure to say haaaair.

8 thoughts on “Mrs Fogurty….

  1. Awesome video; I found it very interesting in that it hits so many different social aspects at the same time. Your anecdote was very careful and sincere. I enjoyed the editing, and the focus on you, as this is your narrative yet you were still a bystander in your anecdote. I did not find any huge technical difficulties with the video. The stark black and white worked very well. The overlapping voices worked well as well. Overall, great job!

  2. 1. Hair is such an interesting topic that disguised each morning and yet is not discussed nearly enough. You have a very creative and playful way of getting into the bigger issues surrounding hair such as race, culture and identity.
    2. I don’t see any errors
    3. I could relate to this. I remember the first conversation I had with someone who was wearing a wig, I was completely shocked at how much maintenance was going into different wigs and the behind that the natural hair that was almost never shown.

  3. I REALLY liked this piece. I think that artistically it was very successful all across the board from visuals to sound. The simplicity of the word hair being repeated in so many different accents and layered in so many different ways was very effective. I also loved the washed out visuals. I don’t think that there were any technical difficulties. I think that many people can relate to this film because everyone has a distinct colloquial ascent. Nice Job!

  4. I think you know how much I enjoy this piece. I feel like it works on multiple different levels, you comment how accents make a difference but it also overlaps on how hair means a lot as well. You can tell a lot about a person based on their accent as well as their hair.
    I don’t see anything distracting, actually I kind of like the washed out part and how you appear small and the space around you is so large because it makes you appear younger.
    I can definitely relate to this because I have very distinct (curly) hair, which comes from my Jewish heritage. I have always been self conscious because society has told us that straight hair is beautiful.

  5. I really liked this piece about the pronunciation of the word hair. I liked how it was told in a story and the people who have trouble with speaking or have a different way of speaking get penalized for being different or having trouble. I found that this piece related to me because I have different ways of saying certain words and I’m Canadian. It flowed very well and was amused while watching it. The only thing I would have changed was the tension points that show when you’re telling your story. There is a big circle in one corner and a line to the right.

  6. i loved how you went not afraid of the camera. you were relaxed and natural. I liked the effects you used with your camera. I liked it because your point is so meaningful in different ways. it makes you think not only about different accents but different cultures.
    I did not notice any technical difficulties.
    I understood how this is relatable to many people. Society is filled with many different people with different backgrounds and ethnicities. I have experienced miscommunication with accents. It can be a very annoying thing when people don’t accept the way you say something and call it wrong.

  7. Great idea AND well executed. I like how took an idea(S) so much greater that hair and boiled it down to that one topic. I also think the filter that you put on the shots of yourself worked well.

    No TDs.

    I could definitely relate to the feeling of being young, being told you weren’t doing something correctly, and getting completely discouraged. And I have definitely had a few of those moments stick with me.

  8. Tanda,

    1. Really well done, Tanda! I think that your intentions were expressed perfectly in the video. The audio components, especially the mixed voices saying “hair”, were critical to the effectiveness of the work. I think the way that the video progressed, as in the order of things you included (voices, story, images of you, the mouth of your teacher) made sense.
    2. No technical issues that I saw!
    3. I can’t really think of anything from my childhood that reminds me of this, but I definitely can imagine how frustrating this must have been. I think you made a subject that I never experienced a relatable one!

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