CULTURE, Uncategorized

Weekly Feminist Round Up – 9 April, 2018

Passing of an icon

  • Winnie Madikizela Mandela, struggle icon, passes away at 81. Read Sisonke Msimang’s piece on reimagining Winnie here
  • Listen to Eusebius McKaiser’s review of the Life and Times of Mama Winnie here
  • Listen to Gugu Mhlungu discuss the impact of patriarchy on Winnie’s chance to be Deputy President here

Podcasts to check out

  • An activist filmmaker tackling patriarchy in Pakistan via the New Yorker here
  • Meg Wolitzer’s ‘The Female Persuasion’ Rides the Feminist Waves via the New Yorker here
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Reni Eddo-Lodge in Discussion at the Southbank Centre here



  • Feminism Is: South Africans Speak Their Truth – Get it at Exclusive Books, The Book Lounge, or online here
  • A list of the top 10 feminist non-fiction books to read this year here
  • 24 amazing new feminist books coming in 2018 here


  • Apply for a Young Feminist Media Fellowship here
  • AWID is looking for a Resource Mobilisation Manager here


  • Haji Mohamed Dawjee launches her book ‘Sorry, Not Sorry’ at the Book Lounge on Monday 9 April. RSVP here and at Love Books in Joburg on 11 April here
  • Feminism Is launches at Cavendish Exclusive Books on the 19th April at 6pm.


  • Make a one-off or regular donation to Rape Crisis here

Send your suggestions for inclusions in this list to 

Tendai Garwe

They are telling lies

Tendai Garwe
Tendai Garwe

By Tendai Garwe

They are telling lies

Who tells these lies?

That women pull each other down,

Size each other up

And are not united?

Who is it?

It’s patriarchy


We celebrate each others’ child birth,

dance around and sing with joy.

Appease the ancestors and force facial similarities with ease.

We name the baby and collectively buy toys.

We have always been united;

They are telling lies


We cry at funerals, cook;

Meal after meal by the fire;

Whether they are genuine tears or smoke induced, it doesn’t matter, we do it together.

We hold each other tight when the pain is unbearable and stay up all night reminiscing the unbelievable.

We have always been united;

They are telling lies.


We face the same struggles;

Understand the sound of different laughter and pain;

Be it inequality and violence;

Lack of democracy and security;

Child birth and silence;

Betrayal and starvation.

We have always been united;

They are telling lies.


You fly, I soar;

You land, I lay;

You nest, I hunt.

There is room in the sky for all the birds.

We are an ecosystem you and I;

You do you and I do me.

You need me as much as I need you.

When I am weak you are strong; your strength propels me to a better us.

We have always been united;

not that we owe them an explanation.


This work was developed during the African Women’s Development Fund and Femrite African Women Creative Non-Fiction Writing Workshop in Uganda, July 2014.

Tam Sutherns

Saving the Rhinos

Tammy Sutherns
Tammy Sutherns

By Tammy Sutherns

We are bombarded with the statistics of rhino poaching on a daily basis. The numbers and the stories are so horrific that for many of us, we have become completely desensitized. Another rhino death, another day.

Which is why when I met up with the lovely South African actress Michelle Bradshaw recently and spent the better half of an hour listening to her passionate plea on behalf of Africa Conservation Trust, I was moved. There are people out there, like Michelle, who still care.

Africa Conservation Trust, a major role player in the quest to stop rhino poaching, led to a 2012 initiative called Skydive for Rhinos. This was the brainchild of Sheelagh Antrobus from Africa Conservation Trust and Michelle became an ambassador for the cause. This forms part of Project Rhino KZN, a collaboration of 14 other leading conservation agencies, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and private game reserves. Together they raise funds in a transparent way to put an end to rhino poaching.

“I find it a travesty that a creature that has roamed the earth for 150 million years, that is an umbrella species, that protects so many species, that plays a role in the environment and the ecosystem, and is so magnificent is becoming extinct,” Michelle said to me. “They are wild and how dare human avarice destroy a beast of this nature.”

In an often apathetic society, to hear such a concerned and emotional outcry is not only refreshing, it’s needed.

Michelle’s plea is simple. The team has opened an SMS line where every SMS sent costs R10 and R6 goes straight to Africa Conservation Trust for the rhinos. The funds go towards specialist training, aerial surveillance, the training and education of the community and specialised resources.

What she reminds us all is that to be a part of this planet, one must respect and care for every single species that it is made up of. The rhinos need our help and all it takes is an SMS.

When the war against rhino poaching is won, will you have played a role?

SMS ‘Rhino’ to 38008.

Liza van Soelen

Show support to rape survivors every month – it’s easy

Liza van Soelen
Liza van Soelen

By Liza van Soelen

Sitting in South Korea I reached for my phone to check the South African news and, with the rest of the country, I was stunned and sickened by the violent and brutal gang rape of Anene Booysen. But this is not the first time the media has been stunned by the extent of violence done against the women in South Africa. What about the mentally disabled girl who was gang raped and whose rapists filmed the attack? Or the girl who was raped and had her eye gouged out? What about the nameless and unreported women who are attacked every day in South Africa? We are stunned again by the news of Reeva Steenkamp.

Their stories pile up in a stack of brutality that leaves us tired not simply by the act itself but by the seemingly apathetic society who fails to respond, as Jen Thorpe pointed out in Never Tired Enough to Stop where she astutely summarized all the aspects that we are tired of.

I’ll be moving back to South Africa soon and felt that it was time that I took the action I preached to so many and found an organization that worked to help stop violence against women so I could volunteer or make a donation.

The first organization provided by the Google search engine was Rape Crisis in South Africa whose website I see you can link to via FeministSA. Further on the Google search results there was an article from some months back indicating that the funding for Rape Crisis had diminished to a point where it was running solely on volunteers until February 2013. As I was thinking of contacting Rape Crisis to hear if their lack of funding was still a reality, I came across an article this morning on the Mail and Guardian website SA: Rape Crisis, but no funds to fight which confirms that the organization is still struggling with funds.

It seems strange to me that in a country where at each new atrocity the media, the politicians and general public is outraged, that an organization designed to help the women who we are outraged for, should be financially struggling. On clicking on the Rape Crisis webpage I found that on their donations page they have an option to donate R100 a month to help support their organization. The goal is to have 1000 hearts sponsored. As of my count today, only 163 have been sponsored. A 2007 population statistic indicates 3,497,097 live in Cape Town. And only 163 people are prepared to maintain regular support of this organization.

It has just been Valentine’s Day, the day the greeting card industry asks us to show our love. Some of these greeting cards cost close to the R100 that could help a rape survivor heal.

I’d like to ask you to show your love too. I’d like you to show your love for the women who share your country with you. On this note, I encourage you to contact the organization in your city or community that helps women who have experienced violence or works to end violence and ask how you can help them. Give them your time or your money and give them your voice by encouraging your friends to help them too. Not simply for a day while the news broadcasters remind you of it, but on a regular basis to sustain and grow the fight to end violence against women. 


Letter to my Unborn Son

Nobantu Shabangu
Nobantu Shabangu

By Nobantu Shabangu

I have waited so long for you.
You were a seed I kept safe until it was right to plant.
You were a beautiful seabed I knew existed under a tumultuous sea.
I have waited for you for so long.
I decided to take a dive, see the seabed and plant the seed
And here you are,
Ten toes, ten fingers, two eyes and one nose.
A perfect embodiment of perfection.
You are my prince and that is all you need to know
but here are a few side notes:
You do not need to stand on another man’s neck to be tall
You do not need beat a woman to be tough
Your big hands will not pick up a brick or a gun
Your deep voice will not hurl insults or profanities
Your beautiful thick lips will not smoke
Your penis will not be misused or become a weapon
You will learn to listen and speak later
You will  learn that forgiveness is not a sign of weakness
You will learn to get down on your knees and pray when life seems too hard.
You can be anything that you want to be and I mean that;
remember there is no exception to your brilliance.
I will always love you and the ones you love, be they male of female.
It is okay to experience fear- men have hearts too.
You will learn to truly and deeply love yourself.
Love yourself, spend time with yourself and only then can you love another person.
Look after your body, I nourished it well when you were in me and now it is your turn.
In the world stuck in the ways of conforming dare to stand alone and deviate.
I will never undermine your intelligence or self-worth,  I will not equate either to your career path.
Love is all you need to get by in this life- love and Christ.
I brought you into this world to make a change, to exercise the God in you- do so.
There is nothing I will not give you, I promisethat if it is in my might and power it will be yours.
But remember always that even though you’re my prince, I am you’re queen and I know best.
Love and respect me till my death because I have loved you since the moment of inception.
And one last thing remember men are not born, they are made and I will help you become the best man you can be along the way.

I love you always,
your feminist mother
P.S I hope you become a feminist too.