Still Barred: Reflections on a play and panel on Black woman’s trauma and mental health


Media Diversified

by Guilaine Kinouani 

Each episode of depression I have experienced, I have experienced because of the struggles I have faced in my life as a Black woman’.

Those were the words spoken by a fellow panellist who went on to share her personal testimony of distress, as part of the discussion which followed the reading of Still Barred. Still Barred is a play which its author Damilola K. Fashola describes as ‘an exploration of four female prisoners’ psyches playing puppet to the punitive overpower of reality’. Like the play, the panel discussion focused on mental health and on the often invisible trauma of Black women in a context of intersectional violence. The events of the play occur, we are told, on the imaginary Steel Barred Island and focus on four characters: Elii, the dreamer; Mon, the marker; Jo, the writer; and Yaz, the washer.

Through intense and dialogical exchanges…

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