Feminism Is events at the Open Book Festival 2018


This year’s Open Book Festival in Cape Town has, as usual, an amazing line up of writers and public intellectuals coming together to talk about literature, politics, and many other things. The festival takes place from 5 – 9 September in Cape Town.

This year the Open Book Festival team has given amazing support to Feminism Is, and has five events scheduled around the book, as well as many others with a feminist focus.

5 September
20.00 – 21.00 Feminism Is: Pumla Gqola, Dela Gwala and Thembekile Mahlaba explore their journeys to feminism and answer FAQs in the company of Sara-Jayne King Fugard Studio


6 September
16.00 – 17.30 Feminism Is: Listening Room: We invite all persons of trans experience and/or those who identify as women/womxn to share personal experiences that shape their feminist identities in a safe and respectful space. Please keep contributions to a maximum of 5 minutes to allow as many voices to be heard as possible. Hosted by Joy Watson with contributions from Janine Adams, Kit Beukes, Michelle Hattingh and Ming-Cheau Lin and Tshepiso Mashinini. Fugard Studio


7 September
14.00 – 15.00 Feminism Is: Body Politics: Anna Dahlqvist, Melanie Judge and Tlaleng Mofokeng speak to Joy Watson about taking control in the context of patriarchy Fugard Theatre


7 September
18.00 – 19.00 Feminism Is: Talking Feminism: B Camminga, Helen Moffett and Tlaleng Mofokeng explore divisions and how they can stand in the way of feminist conversations in the company of Yaliwe Clarke Fugard Theatre


9 September
12.00 – 13.00 Feminism Is: Reflections: Jen Thorpe wraps up the series of ‘Feminism Is’ events and asks Pumla Gqola, Haji Mohamed Dawjee and Nwabisa Mda to share their thoughts on SA feminism today Fugard Theatre


Check out the full programme here for more details on other amazing feminist events.


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

By Jen Thorpe

Exciting news!


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



BUWA! Call for articles

Deadline:  Jul 15th, 2014

OSISA is calling for articles to be considered for its 2014 Issue of BUWA!: A Journal on African Women’s Experiences. The theme is “Women and Economic Injustice.” We will consider articles in line with the briefs below. If interested in submitting an article for consideration by our editorial team, please write and indicate your expression of interest to and copy tsitsim@osisa.organd indicate what piece you are interested in submitting. Once received, we will share the style guide and other relevant details. We will consider:

  • Analytical referenced pieces of 3000 words especially from women
  • Personal stories and experiences from women (no word limit although these need to be comprehensive enough to tell the story)
  • Photo-essays and comic submissions
  • Case studies on relevant initiatives to showcase responses to the issues across the region and the continent
  • Relevant policy analysis, critique and modelling
  • Literature and book reviews

Detailed BRIEFS

Why Economic Justice?

This will be the overarching article (analytical piece of about 3000 words) which will make a case for the need for feminist economic analysis and highlight the cost of leaving women out of the economic development matrices. The article should include a comprehensive review of literature of feminist discourse on economic justice with specific reference to Africa. The piece should also analyse the relationship between capitalism and patriarchy and highlight the ways that these systems have colluded to perpetrate women’s economic subjugation in colonial and in post-colonial Africa.

Women’s participation in key economic sectors:

Articles in this section will critically examine models of women’s participation in sectors that are key to Africa’s economic development, that include (but are not limited to):

  • Agriculture
  • Mining
  • Cross border and/or informal trading
  • Banking and Finance
  • Textile industries

We are looking for articles that will:

  • Tell the stories of women’s struggles to carve out space for themselves in sectors historically dominated by men. These stories will highlight the ways in which gender influences the nature and extent of women’s economic participation.
  • Analyse strategies and specific initiatives that are meant to promote women’s participation in specific economic sectors. How effective are these strategies in supporting women’s participation? What factors contribute to the success and failure of these initiatives?
  • Critically examine multi-dimensional implications of women’s participation in informal economies
  • Explore the laws, regulations and cultural norms that contribute to economic injustice. For example, laws governing land ownership and inheritance.

Gendered Development:

Articles in this section interrogate the gendered nature of development initiatives. Articles in this section will focus on ideas such as: 2

  • How does the strategy of micro-lending, popularized by the Grameen Bank Model, measure up when analysed from a feminist lens?
  • Can money solve the problem of gender inequality? What else needs to be in place?
  • Explain and critique the notion of ‘feminization of poverty’ in the context of Africa
  • An economic analysis of food security and climate change as it relates to the lives of women and girls in Africa
  • A feminist critique of liberal approaches such as affirmative action on the basis race and/or gender (such as the BEE model in South Africa, or quota systems) and implications for women’s economic participation
  • The cost of corruption on the lives of women; e.g. when funds for health and education are misappropriated by state officials
  • Critique of gender budgeting models and frameworks. Where has it worked? Does it still hold value in the Post-2015 economic context?
  • Prospects for women’s socio economic justice (a review of the current provisions in the Post MDG framework for improvement of women’s economic justice)
  • BRICS – any prospects for a reprieve for women? The new economic bloc on the block! Is there any hope for women’s economic justice in its current architecture?

Economy of Sex

We are often told ‘sex sells’ and indeed, there is thriving economy built around sex. The focus of this section is on the sex industry which includes sex work and pornography. Using feminist lenses, articles in this section will explore gender injustice in the context of economics of sex. Topics may include:

  • Rights and Rescue debate: Are women who work as sex workers victims of exploitation or liberated women exercising their right to choose to use their bodies as an economic resource? We would love to hear stories from the perspective of women who are currently working as sex workers, or have done so in the past.
  • Contribution of sex work to state economy that governments are reluctant to cost. Instead, governments in Africa tend to criminalize sex work. This piece would do an economic analysis of supply and demand, costs and benefits of sex work to national budgets.

Domestic and Care Work

The work that women do taking care of others is largely undervalued. There is a lack of acknowledgement of the role played by care-givers even when governments cut budget in the health sector banking on the care work provided by women. A case in point, the model of home based care has been heavily promoted across the region without much consideration for how care-givers are supported. Topics to be covered in this section will include:

  • A feminist costing of the time, labour and emotional contribution women are making in caring for the sick in the home and the effects this has on their own personal health and development is critical.
  • Feminist analysis of the politics of paid domestic workers
  • Gender differences between male and female caregivers

Migration, Economic Justice and Women

International migration has seen professionals and non-professionals leaving their countries to seek work in other countries. There are important economic implications to this trend. Examples of topics covered in this section:

  • The economic, social and emotional cost that is borne by migrants and/or those who stay behind
  • The gendered experience of migration for professionals and/or non-professionals
  • Gender politics of remittances sent by migrants to their countries of origin

Justiciability of socio-economic rights

There is debate whether socio-economic rights can be claimed and protected through the courts and justice systems, given the fact that there isn’t a clear calibration of what is for instance, adequate housing, or quality education. Many have therefore argued that these rights are best left out of Bills of Rights. In southern Africa, many countries do have these rights enshrined in their constitutions, but experience shows that they are the least promoted, protected and acknowledged. Articles in this section will explore:

  • To what extent can women in Africa, particularly southern Africa, demand and access socio-economic justice through the courts? What are the major hurdles they are likely to face, and what hope is there in seeking socio-economic rights of women through the current legal frameworks? (Are there any interesting case studies?
  • What traction has the emergence of socio-economic justice movements (eg environmental justice movements, climate justice movements; extractives movements made towards justiciability of these rights form women?
  • Current and recent illustrative case studies and cases in litigation (Case studies)

The Struggle for Economic Justice in Africa

Labour movements have had significant impact in changing the plight of workers and promoting economic justice. This section explores the nature and extent of women’s involvement in organized efforts pushing for economic justice. Some examples of topics in this section are:

  • Labour movements continue to be ‘macho’ spaces. What explains this? Are women systematically marginalized in labour movements? What is the power dynamic at play in these spaces?
  • How have women movements in Africa responded to economic justice concerns? Detailed case studies of specific initiatives will be highly considered in this section.
  • What are the challenges and prospects for women’s movements in this arena? What internal and external (environmental) factors that influence effectiveness of women’s movements in promoting economic justice?

Feminist Writing on Economic Justice in Africa

  • Book reviews of good current literature)
  • Reviews of scholarly articles

First seen on the OSISA website, here 


Call For Submission: A Q-zine & OurSpaceIsLove Special Issue

Q-zine is the first pan-African, bilingual art and culture LGBTQI magazine.  In the next edition Q-zine collaborates with OurSpaceIsLove for a special issue exploring the politics and practice of love as a revolutionary force.

OurSpaceIsLove ( is an online community platform created by two African feminist friends in order to quench poetic, revolutionary and questioning thirsts. As African women and as feminists, we look to an understanding of love that recognizes the intentional act of embracing people who may be different from us but share the fact of being human. When we say ‘love’ we are talking about a concept beyond romance. We are talking about the feeling emanating from our hearts that seeks to instigate liberation in all that we do – individually and collectively. We are talking about love that inspires the desire to create spaces of peace for people harassed by discrimination and violence. We are talking about a love that motivates us to give, share, risk and speak up in the name of our collective happiness.

Recognizing love as revolutionary and as the guiding principle of our feminist practice and the principle upon which we build our communities, we are interested in exploring what it means for Africans to be connected both in the spirit and practice of ‘revolutionary love.’ We are interested in hearing reflections by Africans scattered across the continent and diaspora who share this ‘revolutionary love’ with and for each other and for the struggle for social transformation.

In this Q-zine special issue, we invite Africans on the continent and in the diaspora to submit opinions, essays, reviews, literature, fashion, art, poems, short stories and audio-visual contributions that explore the theme of ‘Love as Revolutionary Practice.’ As stimulation, submissions could explore:

  • How a politics of love inspires your activism or art as Queer Africans / on your work on LGBTI and human rights for all
  • How varied understandings of love shape your relationships, politics and practice
  • Stories of African queer love, from history, the present and your imaginations
  • Expressions of revolutionary love in building community and working for social justice


Amina Doherty is a young Nigerian feminist and activist living in Kingston, Jamaica.  A ‘curious creative mind’ and ‘restless nomad soul’, Amina brings to her activism a passion for music, art, and poetry.

Jessica Horn is a feminist writer, poet and women’s rights activist with roots in Uganda. Her life’s work focuses on questions of sexuality, health, violence, and embodied liberations.

Please send your submissions to the co-editors, Amina Doherty, Jessica Horn and Q-zine or

First seen on the AWID website here

Deadline for Submissions: August 10, 2014