EVENTS

Centre for Conflict Resolution Dialogue: Violence Against Women

The Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR) would like to invite you to a public dialogue on “Ending Violence Against Women in South Africa: Disruption and Innovation”, to be held at 17:30 on Monday, 23 April 2018, at 6 Spin Street in Cape Town.

The Honourable Delisile Ngwenya, Member of Parliament and Member of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), and Ms Kwezilomso Mbandazayo, Programme Manager of Women’s Rights and Gender Justice at Oxfam South Africa, will be speaking at the meeting. Professor Floretta Boonzaier, of the University of Cape Town (UCT), will be chairing the panel and also addressing the gathering. (Please see the attached notification.)

We do hope that you will be able to join us for this dialogue, which is part of an ongoing series of public meetings hosted by CCR that have become a fixture on Cape Town’s political and social diary.

All are welcome and entry is free, though please RSVP for seating: public-dialogues@ccr.org.za.

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EVENTS, GENDER POLITICS, LAW

Event: Developing Court Models in South Africa

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The Centre for Law and Society (UCT) in partnership with the Rape Survivors’ Justice Campaign takes great pleasure in inviting you to the panel on Developing Relevant Models for Specialised Sexual Offences Courts in South Africa.
The event will be presented under the CLS Hub, which aims to offer supportive spaces for engaged debates around critical socio-legal issues, and regularly hosts events, targeted at students, activists, academics and legal practitioners, that engage with critical issues in law and society.
The panelists will be Lisa Vetten (WITS City Institute), Aisling Heath (Gender Health and Justice Research Unit, UCT) and Karen Hollely (The Child Witness Institute). They will be presenting a summary of findings from their recent research on the sexual offences courts for an audience in which stakeholders from within the criminal justice system will be invited to play an active role when it comes to question time. The audience will also comprise Western Cape based NGO partners and activists as well as students and academics.
The event details are as follows:
Date: 26 April 2018
Time: 5:30 for 6:00 pm
Venue: Kramer Lecture Theatre 2, Level 2, Wilfred and Jules Kramer Law Building
Register for free and RSVP for catering at pbl-cls@uct.ac.za.
BOOKS

Launch Dates for Feminism Is 2018

 

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March 13, 2018: The Book Lounge, Cape Town, Western Cape

March 22, 2018: Exclusive Books, Ballito, KZN

March 27, 2018: Exclusive Books, Rosebank, Gauteng

March 27, 2018: Exclusive Books, Menlyn, Gauteng

April 19, 2018: Exclusive Books, Cavendish, Cape Town, Western Cape

June 2, 2018: The Women’s Library at the Artscape, Cape Town, Western Cape

BOOKS

New collection of South African feminist essays to launch in February 2018

By Jen Thorpe

Exciting news!

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Next month will see the release of a collection of feminist essays and poems by 31 South African feminists. The collection, published by Kwela and edited by Jen Thorpe, includes writing from some of South Africa’s most exciting feminists.

The collection, Feminism Is, explores what feminism is to the contributors and touches on issues as wide-ranging as motherhood, anger, sex, race, inclusions and exclusions, the noisy protests and the quiet struggles.

Contributors include:

  • Pumla Dineo Gqola
  • Danielle Alyssa Bowler
  • Colleen Higgs
  • Ferial Haffajee
  • Haji Mohamed Dawjee
  • Gugu Mhlungu
  • Joy Watson
  • Thembe Mahlaba
  • Aaisha Dadi Patel
  • Anja Venter
  • Bongeka Masango
  • Rebecca Davis
  • Nwabisa Mda
  • B Camminga
  • Nomalanga Mkhize
  • Gabeba Baderoon
  • Helen Moffett
  • Owethu Makhatini
  • Dela Gwala
  • Larissa Klazinga
  • Vuyiseka Dubula
  • Genna Gardini
  • Tlaleng Mofokeng
  • Kathleen Dey
  • Kagure Mugo
  • Jen Thorpe
  • Neoka Naidoo
  • Louise Ferreira
  • Nancy Richards
  • Michelle Hattingh
  • Sarah Koopman

This collection will challenge your thinking and inspire you to action, reaffirming the urgent necessity of feminism in South Africa today. A portion of the proceeds of the book will be donated to the amazing Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust.

The collection will launch on 13 March 2018 at the Book Lounge in Cape Town, with launches to follow in KZN and Gauteng. The book will be available at all good bookstores from 26 February. Contact your favourite store to pre-order!

Get excited!!!

For all publicity and media queries please contact Helené Prinsloo via helene.prinsloo@nb.co.za

 

GENDER POLITICS

What would a world where women weren’t harassed look like?

By Jen Thorpe

This morning I finished reading Jessica Valenti’s Memoir Sex Object. The book is a collection of personal reflections on topics such as street harassment, abortion, drug use, sex, and child raising. Throughout, it explores the way that the world treats women, casting them as objects for men’s comment, pleasure, and enjoyment. It also explores the very powerful physical, psychological, and political effects this categorisation has. I found the book painful and difficult to read, not because of the writing but because of the content. Despite this difficulty, the book is important in that it raises important questions that we need to consider.

Valenti considers what it means for her to be raising a daughter in this world and the qualities that she would like her daughter to have. She wants her daughter to be brave, to still be the girl who wants the best part in the play when she’s older, and most of all she wants her not to have to endure the constant harassment, abuse, and assault that most women are exposed to on a daily basis. She wonders what it might be like if that was not the world that existed, and what women would believe about their own potential if we had the space to live our lives un-objectified.

It’s a powerful question that bears reflecting on in South Africa, where street harassment, domestic violence, sexual violence, abuse, and gender discrimination remain the norm. Sure, we have the laws that say it’s not allowed, and the Constitution says we all have the right to feel and be safe, but for most of us, those are just pieces of paper with good intentions.

Last year I spent three months out of the country on writing residencies. It was an amazing time, not least because I had uninterrupted time to write, and my meals were mostly cooked for me, which feels like #livingthedream. What I loved most about the residencies, that took place in two small towns, was my ability to walk alone, for long periods, on the road or in the wilderness, without being harassed. This simple pleasure, an hour long walk a day where I didn’t feel like I had to be afraid, where nobody said anything to me about how I looked or what I was doing alone, and where I could be in nature and consume the beauty of the natural world, was something that I treasured. It helped me sleep better. It helped me write better. It made me feel more human.

The first week back in South Africa after the first residency, I was sexually harassed by a man while walking down the street to visit some old work friends. When I ignored him, which is my instinctive reaction (sometimes my instinct is to keep walking with my middle finger in the air), he took the liberty of crossing the road in case it was a matter of his lewd suggestions being unheard rather than deliberately ignored. He wanted to make sure that I knew he was there, looking at me. It was only when a kind male stranger walked next to me and told him to go away that he stopped. But even this didn’t make me feel better – he didn’t stop because he realised it was vicious, destructive, or offensive to shout comments at me. He stopped because he believed I belonged to another man. I was still an object to him.

I’m at the age where I think about what it might mean to raise a little girl in this world and to be frank, it terrifies me. I wonder how I will tell her that she has the rights and power to do anything she puts her mind to, but simultaneously explain that she should also probably be hypervigilant when crossing the street at night or when choosing an intimate partner. I don’t know that this double-think double-living is psychologically tenable.

I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where women could go on a walk every day for the sheer pleasure of it, and what women would be capable of doing if they were really free.