Living While Feminist
By Jen Thorpe
Each week it features a feminist from South Africa and the world so that we can listen to and draw from their experiences to embolden our own.
Hosted by feminist author, writer, and researcher, Jen Thorpe.
Living While FeministNov 20, 2023
S6:E5 - Lenina Rassool on the Womxn Show, covering GBV, and finding support in community
Today on the podcast I’m talking with Lenina Rassool.
Lenina is the producer and presenter of The Womxn Show, a weekly TV show produced by Cape Town TV that focuses on gender-based violence and gender justice. The show launched in 2019 and since then has aired over 100 episodes – an incredible achievement.
For listeners who want to go and check it out, you can watch it on Cape Town TV or DSTV 263 on Sundays at 6pm, Tuesdays at 11am, and Thursdays at 9pm. You can also watch it on YouTube.
But the Womxn Show was not Lenina’s first foray into covering these issues. She has 15+ years of experience as a journalist, with a focus on human rights and social justice. She has worked for the mainstream media including for Femina Magazine, Cosmopolitan Magazine, and Independent Newspapers before moving into the non-profit sector, producing content across print and web platforms at Activate! Change Drivers and OpenUp (then Code for South Africa).
In 2017, she started at Cape Town TV as news editor and anchor of Our City News, then Deputy Director of the station in 2018 where she went on to produce the Womxn Show.
So today I’m going to be talking with Lenina about her work as a journalist, about the importance of covering GBV as an issue, and about the ways she’s found to take care of herself while doing this work.
S6: E4 - Nechama Brodie: Music, motherhood and Domestic Terror
Nechama Brodie is no stranger to the Living While Feminist podcast. We spoke in 2021 for Season 4, so if you haven’t listened to that episode please do go back and find it now.
Nechama Brodie is an absolute polymath – multi-media journalist, author, senior lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand’s School of Journalism and Media Studies, musician, singer, martial artist. She has turned her attention to so many important topics, and most recently to the topics of farm killings and domestic violence.
Today we’ll be focussing on her latest book, Domestic Terror, which examines the fact that – as the back of the book says – quote, “every day, more than three women in South Africa, on average, are murdered by their male intimate partners, the person who often sleeps next to them, who shares a bed, a house, a life, children”. This book looks at the stories of some of these women and unpacks decades of coercive control and centuries of state failure to protect women. It manages to examine this extremely important and difficult topic with insight and information, it busts myths in a fantastic way, and it is an extremely important read.
In an early chapter, Nechama writes:
“In my earlier works on femicide I have written how when a woman asks for help, we should listen to her. I want to add to this: when a man says he is going to hurt a woman, we should believe him.”
Later on in the book she asks:
“How do we tackle this? How do we teach women, their families, and their communities to change – because it is clear that while we are very good at marches and hashtags when it comes time to back and believe individual women who need our support before they are killed, we are not succeeding.”
So today I’ll be talking with Nechama about Domestic Terror, her work as a fact checker and myth buster, and her writing world.
S6: E3 - Dee Marco: Making private and public space for motherhood
Today on the podcast I’m talking with Derilene Marco.
Derilene is a creative scholar who holds a Senior Lecturer position in Media Studies at Wits University in Johannesburg, South Africa. Dee’s research pivots around social and cultural practices and experiences of the everyday, particularly in relation to mothering identities, person-making and caregiving as labour/ work. She has written on apartheid and post-apartheid South African cinema, black women’s lives and stories and is the co-editor of Sasinda Futhi Siselapha (still Here): Black Feminist Approaches to Cultural Studies in South Africa Twenty Six Years Since 1994 (2021) and Transforming Pedagogy, a workbook for parents (2023).
Dee is the founder of the multimodal research project, Mother.Lab, which houses a mobile complaints space for mothers and caregivers, called House of Complaints.
I'm really excited to talk to Dee today about her work.
S6: E2 - Athambile Masola: The power of writing our truths
Today on the podcast I’m talking with Athambile Masola.
Athambile is a writer, researcher and an award-winning poet based in the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Cape Town. Her debut collection of poetry is written in isiXhosa, Ilifa (Uhlanga Press, 2021). She is the co-author of the children’s history book series, Imbokodo: Women who shape us (Jacana, 2022), with Dr Xolisa Guzula. Her latest book is a collaboration with Makhosazana Xaba; a collection of Noni Jabavu’s columsn from 1977, A stranger at Home (Tafelberg, 2023).
Atha has been a blogger and online commentator for many years and I’m so delighted to be talking to her today.
S6: E1 - Sam Beckbessinger - Female friendship, fiction writing, and the freedom of living somewhere new
Today on the podcast I’m talking with Sam Beckbessinger.
I had the pleasure of talking to Sam in December 2020 for Season 1 about How to Manage your Money like a Fucking Grown-up, and we talked all things money from a feminist perspective. So, if you haven’t yet listened to that episode, go back, and download it now.
Since I last spoke to Sam her writing career has gone from strength to strength and has taken many forms. Her interactive story about climate change, Survive the Century, was featured in New Scientist and Gizmodo. She also writes a very interesting newsletter which is always full of stimulating ideas.
Sam is also an associate lecturer in the MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University in the UK where she’s sharing her hard-earned knowledge and talent with other writers.
If that doesn’t sound impressive enough, just this year she has released not one but two books which we’ll be talking about today – Girls of Little Hope, a novel written with Dale Halvorsen, about two missing girls who come back, changed. And Moving to the UK: A Concise Guide for South Africans, which is a practical guide for moving across the world without losing your mind.
Taking a look at Sam’s Projects page on her website also makes me feel inspired. She’s working on another novel and two super-top-secret TV shows.
So today I’ll be talking with Sam about all things writing and what she’s got up her sleeve next.
S5: E9 - Rumbi Goredema Görgens - Making Motherhood Matter
Today on the podcast I’m talking with Rumbi Goredema Görgens. Rumbi is a Zimbabwean-born South African-based feminist author and activist. Her writing has appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine, Vela Magazine, and on FeministsSA.com and MyFirstTimeSA.com. She has worked with various South African civil society organisations, and her current day job is at Embrace, a movement dedicated to making mothers and motherhood matter in South Africa, in benefit of women who mother and the children they raise. Rumbi is the proud and exhausted mother of Samuel (7 going on 18) and Miriro (3).
So today I’ll be talking with Rumbi about making motherhood matter.
Season 5 update
A quick update to say that my real mom life has got in the way of recording and sharing this week's episode. It'll be out later this week.
S5: E8 - Lauren Beukes - Parenting across the multiverses
Today on the podcast I’ll be speaking with Lauren Beukes.
Lauren is the award-winning author of six novels, a collection of short stories, a pop history about South African women, and New York Times best-selling comics. Her work has been translated into 26 languages. Her novel, The Shining Girls, about a time-travelling serial killer and the survivor who turns the hunt around is now a major AppleTV series with Elisabeth Moss who listeners may know from the Handmaid’s Tale and Mad Men.
Lauren is a former feature journalist, who covered electricity cable thieves, HIV+ beauty pageants, metro cops and homeless sex workers. She’s worked in film and TV, as the director of Glitterboys & Ganglands, a documentary which won Best LGBTI Film at the Atlanta Black Film Festival, and as showrunner and head writer on South Africa’s first half hour animated TV show, Pax Afrika, which ran for 104 episodes on SABC.
Her work has been hailed by the likes of Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, George R.R. Martin. She has won several awards over the last ten years, including The Arthur C Clarke Award, The University of Johannesburg Prize, the Strand Critics Choice Award, The Kitschies Red Tentacle, The August Derleth Prize, RT Thriller of the Year, Exclusive Books Booksellers Choice Award and the prestigious Mbokodo Award for women in the creative arts from South Africa’s Department of Arts and Culture.
When asked where she gets her ideas from, Lauren responds “Everywhere. Conversations, observations, watching the cultural shifts and fracture points and weirdnesses in the world. The inside of my head is less a memory palace and more of a hoarder house; full of strange and useless things that sometimes, if I’m lucky, come together in interesting and surprising ways.”
One of these interesting and surprising novels is her latest – Afterland. The story of a mother and son on the run in a post-pandemic America. The pandemic, known as The Manfall means that twelve year old Miles is one of the last boys alive, and his mother, Cole, will protect him at all costs – especially from her own sister. This feminist, high-stakes thriller is a blend of many genres and the perfect post-pandemic read.
Lauren lives in London with her teenage daughter, two trouble cats and a lot of plants.
So today I’ll be talking with Lauren about post-pandemic motherhood, feminism, and literary success. Welcome Lauren.
S5: E7 - Megan Ross - Motherhood and feminism as a process of constantly forgiving yourself
Today on the podcast I’m talking with Megan Ross.
Megan is a writer, creative consultant and journalist.
She is the author of Milk Fever (published by uHlanga Press in 2018) which is a collection of poetry. In Milk Fever Megan writes about the uneasy truths of unexpected motherhood and all its emotional detritus. It explores the choices and misadventures of young womanhood, centering the personal as political in a feminist and bold poetic style.
She is also the author of several short stories and essays that have gone on to achieve critical acclaim. She is a recipient of the Brittle Paper Award for Fiction (2017) and an Alumni Award for the Iceland Writers Retreat in Rekyavick. She was also the finalist in the Gerald Kraak, Miles Morland, Short Story Day Africa, and Short.Sharp Awards.
Megan has worked in the book industry on both the copy and art aspects of book production for publishers across the African continent. She left her features writer role at Glamour magazine to pursue a career in freelance writing in journalism in Bangkok. After returning to South Africa her writing has featured in New Frame, Mail and Guardian, Glamour, Brittle Paper, GQ, Prufrock, Catapult, New Coin, New Contrast and the Kalahari Review. As a freelancer she ran her own visual and communications studio and created work for a wide range of clients including Lil-Lets South Africa. Megan is the contributing editor at Isele Magazine.
Megan has a Bachelor of Journalism and Media Studies degree and now works in advertising full time at Retroviral.
So today I’ll be talking to Megan about motherhood, poetry, and the importance of telling our stories.
S5: E6 - Sarah Lotz - Parenting without judgment and the fun of writing
Today on the podcast I’m speaking with Sarah Lotz.
Sarah was born in the UK, lived in Paris, Israel and spent 20 years in Cape Town. She returned to the UK 5 years ago and is currently living on the Welsh borderlands. She’s an ex mural artist, now lucky enough to be a full time screenwriter and novelist.
Sarah has published 20 novels that have been translated into over 25 languages. She’s done this on her own and as part of collaborative writing teams including with Louis Greenberg (under the name S.L Grey - hard core horror novels), Helen Moffett and Paige Nick (under the name Helena S Paige - 'choose-your-own adventure style' erotica novels ;)) and her daughter Savannah Lotz (under the name Lily Herne - zombie YA fiction).
Sarah claims to have too many rescue dogs – if that’s even a thing – and is an animal rights and environmental activist.
Sarah’s latest novel is called Impossible, and it’s a tale of romance that is fantastic and just a little bit different from the one you might expect.
Sarah has a daughter – Savannah – who is 30, and a step daughter, known to the family as little Sarah – who is 32.
So today I’ll be talking with Sarah about feminism, parenting, writing, and hopefully a bit about the environment. Welcome Sarah.
S5: E5 Sara-Jayne Makwala King - Motherhood and learning to reparent yourself
Today on the podcast I’m speaking with Sara-Jayne Makwala King. Sara-Jayne is an award winning radio presenter, best-selling author, journalist, and public speaker whose career spans two decades and four continents.
She has an LLB honours degree from the University of Greenwich and a Masters in Journalism from Canterbury University.
Her first book Killing Karoline, published in 2017, was shortlisted for the University of Johannesburg Debut Prize for South African Writing. Her second book, Mad Bad Love, was published this year, talks about the period in her life when Sara-Jayne had just discovered she was going to become a mother. Six weeks after discovering she was pregnant, her partner Enver relapses on heroin and disappears. Sara-Jayne checks herself into The Clinic and realizes that she must save herself to save her future child, and that part of this journey must be tackling why she’s always looking for love in all the wrong places. Both of her books deal with issues around race, identity, adoption, addiction, recovery, and mental health. Mad Bad Love is currently number one across many bookstores in the country.
Sara-Jayne’s daughter, is turning three this November. They live in Cape Town, where Sara-Jayne hosts her own weekend breakfast show on Cape Talk radio.
So today I’ll be talking with Sara-Jayne about parenting herself and her child, as well as addiction, adoption, and of course, feminism.
S5: E4 - Joy Watson - Parenting an adult child, feminist public policy, and the writing life
Today on the podcast I’m talking with Joy Watson. Joy is a feminist researcher and writer who specialises in analysing public policy and service delivery, as well as tracking funding flows from the perspective of building social equity. She has many years of experience in developing feminist responses to public policy and has worked on research Initiatives in South Africa as well as internationally. Joy is in the process of finalising her PHD on rape and public policy at the University of Stellenbosch.
Joy is currently Chair of the Board of the Women on Farms project and sits on the coordinating committee of feminists for social change.
Joy is also a writer. You can find her book reviews and reflections on life and its joys and sorrows on the pages of Daily Maverick Life. Together with Amanda Gouws she has co-edited the book, Nasty Women Talk Back: A Collection of feminist essays on the global women’s marches. And this year she’s published her first novel, The Other Me, with Karavan Press. The Other Me follows the life story of Lolly, who grows up in a context of trauma, violence and alcohol abuse – the effects of which linger long into her adulthood.
Joy is both a mother and a stepmother.
So today I’ll be talking with Joy about feminist parenting, public policy, and writing.
S5: E3 - Yewande Omotoso - Liberating Motherhood
Today on the podcast I’m talking with Yewande Omotoso.
Yewande is an architect, with a masters in creative writing from the University of Cape Town. Her debut novel ‘Bomboy’ (2011 Modjaji Books), won the South African Literary Award First Time Author Prize. Her short stories include ‘How About The Children’ (Kalahari Review), ‘Things Are Hard’ (2012 Caine Prize Anthology), ‘Fish’ (The Moth Literary Journal) and ‘The Leftovers’ (One World Two). Yewande was a 2015 Miles Morland Scholar.
Her second novel ‘The Woman Next Door’ (2016 Chatto and Windus) was shortlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award and longlisted for the Baileys Women’s Literature Prize.
Her third novel is ‘An Unusual Grief’ (Cassava Republic), which is described as a ‘tender and essential meditation on the inheritance of loss’ and a ‘a bittersweet and gripping story.’ As one reviewer says on the cover fold ‘Omotoso’s prose is sharp and precise as it pierces the exterior and allows you to peel back the layers of humanity on the flawed and fragile characters in an Unusual Grief.’ The story details multiple forms of parenting and motherhood, as well as how at times we must reparent ourselves to become whole.
Yewande is the mother of twins who are two.
So today I’ll be talking with Yewande about feminism, motherhood, writing and unusual grief. Welcome Yewande.
S5: E2 - Wessel van den Berg - Feminist fatherhood and care
Today on the podcast I’m talking with Wessel Van Den Berg.
Wessel is the father of two young children aged 6 and 8, and he sees fatherhood as his main job.
In his spare time, his curiosity about men and care has led him to work as a kindergarten teacher, counsellor, activist, and researcher. He works at Sonke Gender Justice and in this capacity has contributed to the establishment of the MenCare Global Fatherhood Campaign and the State of South Africa’s Fathers report series. He also led on Sonke’s advocacy for the prohibition of corporal punishment of children and the promotion of gender equal parenting leave in South Africa.
Wessel completed his doctoral study in 2022 about engaging South African men in a feminist ethic of care.
So today I’ll be talking to Wessel about feminist fatherhood and the state of South Africa’s Fathers.
S5: E1 - Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah - Motherhood and the Sex Lives of African Women
Today on the podcast I’m talking with Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah. Nana is the author of The Sex Lives of African Women, which Publishers Weekly described as “an astonishing report on the quest for sexual liberation” in their starred review. It was also listed by The Economist as a best book of the year. She is also co-founder of Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women, a website, podcast and festival that publishes and creates content that tells stories of African women’s experiences around sex, sexualities, and pleasure.
Nana is also a communications strategist who has over fifteen years experience of developing and delivering strategic communications programmes across media, public sector and non-governmental organisations. She has a deep understanding of digital technologies for feminist activism, and is widely recognised as a key African feminist working at the intersections of gender, sexualities and technologies. The impact of Nana Darkoa’s work has been documented by CNN in a film titled, Not Yet Satisfied.
Nana Darkoa’s opinion editorials and articles have been published by The Guardian, open Democracy and Essence. She has contributed to anthologies such as Feminist Parenting: Perspectives from Africa and Beyond as well as The Routledge Handbook of Queer Africa Studies. Her short stories have been published in It Wasn’t Exactly Love and The Pot and Other Stories. In 2016, she won a prestigious Hedgebrook fellowship.
Nana Darkoa is a sought-after facilitator, speaker, and commentator. She has been a guest on several international media programs including being interviewed by Christiane Amanpour for CNN, The Forum, and National Public Radio.
She holds a BSc (Hons) in Communications and Cultural Studies from the University of North London (now London Metropolitan University), and a MSc in Gender and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is also a trained performance coach, and leadership trainer.
Nana lives in Accra, Ghana with her daughter Asantewaa, who is two years and four months old.
Today I’ll be talking to Nana about feminist parenting, her writing on sex and pleasure, and the Sex Lives of African Women. Welcome Nana.
Season 5, Coming Soon!
Season 5 of Living While Feminist will be launching this August on the theme Parenting While Feminist! So looking forward to these conversations.
S4: E10 - See you in 2022!
Take care of yourselves!
S4: E9: Nyx Mclean - Finding home and communities, and celebrating identity
Today on the podcast I’m talking with Nyx McLean.
Nyx McLean is a trans non-binary queer South African, they use the pronouns they/them. Nyx is an academic who specialises in LGBTIAQ+ identities and communities, and their use of digital technology to form publics and counter-publics to resist the status quo. Nyx McLean is a Research Associate affiliated with the School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University, and is also currently the engagement editor of Makhanda’s Grocott’s Mail.
Their piece in Living While Feminist is called ‘The Agender Borderlands’ and in that piece they say:
I view being non-binary (and specifically agender) as a gift I walk this strange space of existence, it is often lonely but it can also be bright and glorious over here.
So today I’m going to be talking with Nyx about gender politics, finding home, and writing resistance.
S4: E8: Tiff Mugo: On sexual touch, heartbreak, pole dancing, and feminism
Today on the podcast I have the absolute pleasure of talking again to Tiffany Kagure Mugo. Tiff was the very first guest on Living While Feminist, talking about her book Quirky Quick Guide to having great sex, cancel culture, and everything in between. Since then Tiff has given us a new collection, with her co compiler Kim Windvogel, called Touch: Sex Sexulaity and Sensuality. It came out this year from Kwela. As a piece in the collection by Zanta Nkumane says “The architecture of pleasure is expansive” and this collection certainly illustrates that well.
Tiff is still the co-founder and curator of HOLAA!! – a pan Africanist hub that advocates for and tackles issues surrounding African sexuality. She does ted talks and writing and just general amazingness all the time. She can often be found with a glass of wine, and, in my experience, can always be found with a joke. Earlier this year she was part of the Queering Belonging mini-series hosted by the Program of African Studies at Northwestern University, and you can watch her episode online.
But the topics Tiff tackles (try that tongue twister after a glass of wine) are as serious as they are light – sex and sexuality remain taboo points of conversation for many of us. In a piece in March this year in the Mail and Guardian, Tiffany said:
Writing about sex, for me, has been a journey of learning and unlearning, turning things around in my mind to try to figure out how to do it. As someone who is a nerd at heart, I thought being able to understand the mechanics of the thing would help me do the thing. I was also under the impression one could crash course learning about sex.
However, the journey has been the equivalent of thinking you are digging in a sand pit and finding out you are actually in the middle of the Sahara desert. When I began, I thought that simply because I knew a little more than the average person about getting down and nasty I could enter this realm and document sex in all its glory. And for a while, as one of the few voices who had the gumption to write publicly about sex, the con worked.
Eventually, I realised that this was a marathon and not a sprint. I was always one article/sex story/radio interview away from talking absolute nonsense if I did not keep digging and furthering my understanding. When it comes to sex, sexuality and desire there is always something to learn, someone to learn from and something that has been a core part of your thinking that you need to put down and lay to rest.
So today I’ll be talking with Tiff about touch, sexual pleasure, and whatever else we feel like.
S4: E7: Ziyanda Stuurman: Policing, policy making and feminism
Today on the podcast I’m talking with Ziyanda Stuurman.
Ziyanda is a social policy, political science, and international relations graduate who currently works as a social science researcher based in Cape Town.
She’s a recipient of both the Chevening and Fulbright scholarships and hold advanced degrees in Conflict, Security and Development Studies from Sussex University, and in International Development from Brandeis University. Her undergraduate degrees in international relations and political science are both from the University of Stellenbosch.
Ziyanda has worked in various roles related to political and social science research over the past decade, and each of these professional experiences have informed her research and writing on policing and police militarisation in South Africa.
Today I’m speaking to Ziyanda about her new book – Can We Be Safe: The Future of Policing in South Africa. In the book Ziyanda explores the distant and recent history of policing in South Africa as well as some of the contemporary realities. It touches on colonial history, police brutality, inequality, the problem with public perceptions about crime and the misuse of this for political rhetoric, gangsterism and social order, the criminal justice system, and the ordinary lives of those who are affected by our crisis of policing.
The book suggests that things have not been working and will not work to make us feel safe and live safely, unless we imagine a new system entirely.
In the book Ziyanda says:
Inequality in South Africa is evident not only in who is policed and how, but also in the allocation of police resources. As it has always been in the past, the allocation of police resources does not always follow need … If we want to create a society that cares equally about the protection and safety of all communities, and a police system that responds with equal urgency and empathy for people regardless of their social status, then the horribly unequal state of affairs that we have right now in terms of resource allocation must be completely altered.
So today I’ll be talking to Ziyanda about her vision for policing in South Africa, her studies abroad, and her feminism. Welcome Ziyanda.
S4: E6 Nechama Brodie: Femicide, fake news, fact checking, fiction and feminist growth
Today on the podcast I’m talking with Dr Nechama Brodie.
Nechama has worked as a multi-media journalist, editor, producer and publisher for nearly twenty-five years. During this time she has dodged the secret police in Burma, explored tunnels underneath Johannesburg, gotten dusty at rock festivals, and reported on the myth of ‘white genocide’ in South Africa. Nechama’s journalistic work has appeared in leading South African newspapers like the Sunday Times, the Mail & Guardian, and City Press, and in the Hindustan Times (India) and the Guardian (UK). Nechama also previously headed up the training and research division TRI Facts for independent fact-checking agency Africa Check.
Nechama has a PhD in journalism and is a part-time lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand’s School of Journalism and Media Studies. Her research work focuses on interpersonal violence and media representations of violence. Nechama is also a musician and singer and (unrelated) a martial artist, holding a second dan in karate.
In addition to her journalism Nechama is the author of several books - The Joburg Book (Pan Macmillan), a contemporary history of the city that was long-listed for the Alan Paton Award and has sold over 10 000 copies; and Inside Joburg (Pan Macmillan), a guide to the city’s most interesting spaces. Nechama’s best-selling history of the city of Cape Town, The Cape Town Book (Struik Travel and Heritage), was released in 2015.
Nechama is also the co-author of memoirs I Ran For My Life (Pan Macmillan), with best-selling musician Kabelo Mabalane, and Rule of Law (Pan Macmillan), with MP and former state prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach.
Nechama’s first novel – a supernatural thriller called Knucklebone (Pan Macmillan) – was published in 2018 and was long-listed for the Barry Ronge Prize for South African fiction and short-listed for the Nommo Award for African speculative fiction.
In 2020, Nechama published two further books - The sequel to Knucklebone, Three Bodies (Macmillan) in March, and her non-fiction work Femicide in South Africa (Kwela) in July 2020. In the Introduction to Femicide she says
“Femicide – like the murders of children, and perhaps the elderly – carries such distinct features that, if we were to try and understand or profile these killings only in the context of male homicides, we would miss the point entirely. The violence meted out against women has long been distinct from the violence meted out between men” and goes on to say later in the book “most violent injuries between men arise from ‘everyday life, most often involving strangers and including poorly defined arguments and quarrels over money, women and drunkenness’ whereas most women are attacked and harmed by someone they know. Where men often participate in or even initiate violence against each other, even when they are with strangers, women are subjected to violence, and mostly by the people close to them.”
So, today I’ll be talking to Nechama about femicide, how to tell fact from fiction, and her writing life.
S4: E5 Terry-Ann Adams: Writing women, Inspiration and Activism
Today on the podcast I’m talking with Terry-Ann Adams. Terry-Ann is a writer and commentator from Johannesburg. They have an honours in history from the University of Pretoria where she focused on the disability rights movement in South Africa and Disability Representation in American Film. They has spoken and written on ableism and feminism.
In 2020 Terry-Ann published their debut novel, Those Who Live in Cages, with Jacana Media. Those Who Live in Cages is a story of five women, connected to one another through blood and circumstance – Bertha, Janice, Laverne, Kaylynn and Kela (Raquel) – all living in Eldorado Park. As the review in New Frame puts it, “they are women full of hope for their families and futures, bumping up against the obstacles of class limitation and a patriarchal, religious and judgement-driven environment.”
It is a story where place comes alive as character. Eldorado Park is a location that shapes the lives of each of these characters, whether they are yearning to leave or destined to stay. In her interview with New Frame writer, Binwe Adebayo, Adams says:
“I think that the world is a dystopia, that systemic oppression kills any form of hope for real change or progress. As individuals, we can move forward slightly … but the greater good is not realised and many are left behind … Only when systems that oppress us are dismantled will we see real change.”
So today I’ll be talking with Terry-Ann about writing as one tool to address social issues, their work as a disability activist, and what comes next for them.
S4: E4: Candice Chirwa - Period power and positivity
Today on the podcast I’m talking with South Africa’s self-appointed Minister of Menstruation, Candice Chirwa.
Candice is a thought leader with an avid interest in gender and youth issues in South Africa. She specialises in menstrual education for young people and brings #eduliftment with her award-winning NGO, QRATE.
Candice is the Editor of the Book – The Perils of Patriarchy, which sheds light on and unpacks women’s lived experiences of the patriarchy in South Africa. Her TEDx Talk called Bad Blood, focused on the stigmas surrounding periods.
Today I’m speaking to Candice about her second co-authored book, Flow: The Book about menstruation, out this May from Kwela. Flow covers everything you need to know about menstruating from the physical to the psychological to the political. It’s a guide that every household and school should have on their shelves so we can all be more period positive.
In Flow, Candice says:
“Having a period positive world simply means that we have individuals who do not feel afraid to talk about something that is a part of them.”
S4: E3: Belinda Mountain - Motherhood and feminism, disney princesses and entrepreneurship
Today on the podcast I’m speaking to Belinda Mountain.
Belinda studied a business Science degree but found that her love of words led her straight into working in the world of book publishing as a graduate, and then she spent around eight years working in publishing in both the UK and South Africa.
In 2010, Belinda had a daughter, in the same year that her mother died from a brain tumour - and soon after those life changing events, she quit her job and started her own content agency with her business partner Catherine Black, called Black Mountain (which they still run today).
The story she submitted to 'Living While Feminist' was her first piece of writing published in a book but she has been published extensively in print and online in publications such as Sunday Times Neighbourhood, Fast Company and Entrepreneur magazine. In 2020 her short story was shortlisted in the Arts24/Corona Fiction competition, which has renewed her interest in writing short stories. The lockdown has reinspired her poetry too.
Belinda’s piece in Living While Feminist is called The Most Beautiful Boy the World Has Ever Seen. In it Belinda says
“My short hair becomes a message to the world. I feel people’s judgment, men and women’s in small barbs thrown my way. They are smooth things with a jagged edge, said out of their own discomfort.”
Her piece focuses on a short haircut, misgendering, and motherhood and these are just some of the things we touch on in the interview.
S4: E2: Gugu Mhlungu - Celebrating the glass ceiling breakers who came before
Today on the podcast I’m talking with Gugulethu Mhlungu. As a writer, broadcaster and editor, Gugu is a respected voice in South Africa’s media space. In her role as contributing editor for Global Citizen she’s helping to advance the organisation’s vision of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and as editor-in-chief of Careers magazine she’s driving the narrative around young people’s welfare.
Gugu is a media maverick, working in print, radio and on television. In April 2015 she was identified by Marie Claire as one of the women to watch – in recognition of her use of various media platforms to nudge south African discourse towards substantive and thorough journalism – something that in this world of fake news we really need. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Media Studies and Anthropology from Rhodes University and a post-graduate diploma in media management.
Gugu is also a writer. Her personal accolades include a National Arts Festival / Business Art SA silver award for feature writing and a Media24 Legends columnist of the year. She was a contributor to Ferial Haffajee’s collection What if there were no whites in South Africa and I was very excited and lucky to publish her essay, Feminism Changed My Life in the Feminism Is collection. In that essay she says:
I love the idea of the shattering of the glass ceiling being the sum of all the women who have tried, and not just the women who finally break through it. It’s a beautiful image of what it takes for things to change, and makes us think of other women’s access as an inheritance that’s passed down from one group to another. It’s the perfect image for my own life.
Luckily Gugu’s interest in ceiling shatterers now benefits us all with the publication of her book You Have Struck A Rock: Women Fighting for their Power in South Africa, which came out this year from Kwela. The book chronicles the very many areas of progress that women in South Africa have led and helped to achieved, and also reminds us of the many more steps we need to reach full equality.
So today I talk to Gugu about women’s power, the importance of acknowledging those on whose shoulders we stand, and what she sees as important ceilings that still need to be shattered.
S4: E1 Barbara Boswell - Feminist re-envisioning and the power of black South African women's feminism
Welcome back to Season 4 of Living While Feminist! Thank you for tuning in. Don't forget to rate, review, subscribe and share!
Today on the podcast I’m talking with feminist literary scholar and award-winning author, Dr Barbara Boswell. Barbara is the Head of the English Department at the University of Cape Town. She has taught gender studies and African women’s literature at the University of Virginia and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in the USA, as well as the University of Cape Town and the University of the Western Cape.
She earned a PhD from the Department of Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she studied as a Fulbright Scholar. Her MPhil was completed at the Women’s and Gender Studies Programme at the University of the Western Cape.
Barbara is the author of the award-winning Grace, a novel that was published by Modjadji Books in 2017 and won the University of Johannesburg Debut Creative Writing Prize in 2018. It was published in the United States in 2019 as Unmaking Grace. Grace has been deservedly praised by many, including the Kirkus Review, which called it “a smart, compassionate portrayal of one woman’s quest to end the cycle of violence.”
Barbara’s writing and academic activism espouses her belief in writing as a feminist and spiritual practice, and as a practice that can heal trauma and build connections. Her research interests include postcolonial African literature, feminism, and post coloniality, queer theory, black feminist thought, and intersectional feminist theory, and she has published multiple academic works and papers on these topics.
In 2020, Barbara published And Wrote My Story Anyway: Black South African Women’s Novel’s as Feminism (published by Wits University Press). The collection archives the work of several women writers, exploring their writing as a source and site of feminist theory. This year she also published an essay in Surfacing, a collection edited by fellow feminist literary scholars Desiree Lewis and Gabeba Baderoon.
In an interview with Catalyst Press about her novel, Grace, Barbara says:
“I see myself as a literary activist, an arts activist using my work to create change and a more socially just world for women and other marginalized communities.”
So today I’m going to be talking to Barbara about feminism, the responsibilities and rights of feminist writers, and the power of telling stories to change our future, and our understanding of the past.
Season 4 update and SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!
What you can expect in Season 4 and some exciting news!
S3: E9 Your winter reading list: all the books recommended by podcast guests so far
Every episode I've asked feminists to recommend books that have inspired their feminism. Now you can listen to all of those recommendations in one go, and make your winter reading order from your local book store.
S3, E8: Ananda Morris Paver - Hairy situations and the best time to have a feminist debate
Today on the podcast I’m talking with Ananda Morris Paver.
Ananda is an editor in the edutech industry, where her role focuses on pedagogical quality and development.
She holds an MA in English and American Literature from the University of Kent with research interests spanning representations of gender and the body in popular culture, specifically in horror and fantasy narratives of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
She was the lead editor on the 4th volume of the Litterae Mentis journal and continues to write autobiographical and critical essays on a freelance basis.
Ananda’s piece in Living While Feminist is called Feminism Is the Pits, and details her experience of having her hairy underarms become a site of political discussion. In her piece she says of this experience:
"It was one of a million little manipulative moments which make up the negotiations between men and women. Each one forcing us to write and rewrite this ancient oath that everything we do is for them and not for ourselves. It felt unfair that my natural state had become a teaching moment, and yet I’d be damned if I didn’t at least try to make it clear that he was seeing the cause rather than a symptom of my feminism."
So today I talk with Ananda about body hair, and when it’s a good time to have a feminist debate.
S3: E7 Michelle Edwards - Encounters with the patriarchy, feminist parenting, and finding the courage to write
Today on the podcast I’m speaking with Michelle Edwards.
Michelle is a writer and the editor-in-chief of the PR and Content Marketing team at Showmax.
She graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2005. After that she began her journeys around the world, living in Taiwan, the UK, South Africa and Zambia.
Writing has always been a part of Michelle’s life and career. She has worked at an indie bookseller, authored a textbook on Human and Social development, worked in the media industry as a sub-editor, and gone freelance.
She has taken short story writing courses through the London school of Journalism, and two masterclasses in creative writing with Claire Strombeck and Mike Nicol.
These courses have certainly borne fruit. In 2021, Michelle published her first novel Go Away Birds, which was long-listed for the Dinaane Debut Fiction award in 2018. When she's not working in marketing or writing her second novel (very, very slowly), Michelle spends her time boating with her children, trying to train her boisterous puppy, reading feminist romantic fiction and doing New York Times crossword puzzles.
Michelle’s essay in Living While Feminist is called the Litany, which is a memoir piece detailing moments in time of crossing paths with the patriarchy and the way it can strip you of your voice and at times your sense of self. Today I’m also going to be talking with Michelle about her first novel, Go Away Birds.
S3, E6: Gabriella Pinto: #MeToo and women in film
Gabriella is a writer and filmmaker from Cape Town. Traversing art and journalism, she is interested in telling stories about the human condition. Her website includes several examples of these – a documentary about a prosthetic leg maker, a short documentary on the artist Amy Ayanda, and a PSA about child trafficking.
Gabriella has worked as an arts writer for the online publication Between 10 and 5, where she has written about everything from sneaker exchanges to the #MeToo movement. She also hosted an art and culture show on Cape Town TV. She is also an actress appearing in the films Eye in the Sky, American Monster, and Jamillah and Aladdin and as a writer on Stag Knights.
Currently, she is very busy working on two feature films, developing a play as part of the University of Johannesburg's 2020 playwriting laboratory, and is a contributor to Politically Aweh, a South African infotainment satire show.
Gabriella’s piece in Living While Feminist is titled ‘You Look Like a Lesbian’. In it she says:
‘It’s almost as though when a certain type of heterosexual man (and a certain type of heterosexual woman) comes into contact with a straight woman with power, who wears the shirt/sneaker/jeans combo, their brains short circuit. They equate women with power, and in particular lesbian women with power, as a threat to their very way of life.
The piece is short but it explores relationships, the silencing effect of derogatory language, the power of clothes and performance, and the male gaze, and that’s what we’ll be talking about today.
S3, E5: Arja Salafranca: Finding oneself in love and in writing
Today on the podcast I’m talking with writer Arja Salafranca.
Arja Salafranca has published three collections of poetry, A Life Stripped of Illusions (1995), which received the Sanlam Award for poetry, The Fire in which we Burn (2000); and Beyond Touch(2015) which was a co-winner of the SALA Awards.
Her fiction has been published online, in anthologies and journals, and is collected in her debut collection, The Thin Line (2010), longlisted for the Wole Soyinka Award in 2012. She has participated in a number of writers’ conferences, edited two anthologies and has received awards for her poetry and fiction.
Her next book is a collection of creative non-fiction essays, travel writing, personal essays and journal entries, to be published by Modjaji in 2021. She lives in Johannesburg.
Arja’s piece in Living While Feminist is called Rafiya and it takes the form of a series of diary entries at the point where Arja embarks on her first lesbian relationship at fourty years old. In that piece she says: Sometimes what is not said, doesn’t exist.
We talk about the importance of writing through the good and bad times, the value of different forms, and the recent collection from Modjaji - Fools Gold.
S3, E4: Jarred Thompson: Penetration, the balancing benefits of yoga, and writing
Jarred Thompson is a queer researcher and academic whose poetry, fiction and non-fiction has been published in various journals, notably the Johannesburg Review of Books, The Gerald Kraak Award Anthology Volume 3 and ImageOutWrite Anthology. He recently won the inaugural 2020 Afritondo Short Story Award.
Jarred’s piece in Living While Feminist is called ‘The social dynamics of penetration’ and in that piece he says:
The social dynamics of masculinity, femininity and gay sexual positions made me think about how the act of penetration or being penetrated, comes with assumptions about masculinity and how one portrays oneself as a gay man.
Jarred and I talk about gender norms, masculine and feminine energy, yoga, and writing.
S3, E3: Anelile Dlamini-Gibixego - Why Jesus is a feminist and ecofeminism is vital
Anelile Dlamini – Gibixego is a Pietermaritzburg-born author, mother and scientist. Anelile completed a Bachelor of Science in microbiology and cellular biology in 2011 from the University of Kwa Zulu Natal and an Honours degree in environmental science at North-West University in 2017. In her day time, she is a researcher and environmental activist.
Since moving to Johannesburg in 2015, she has published her debut novel iGoli Dreams. She became a network builder, has published opinion pieces, spoken conferences and earns the title “motivational speaker”.
She has contributed for publications like Living While Feminist, Ayana Magazine, Daily Maverick, Imbawula, Live Literature Market and My Black Matters. Alongside these, she has presented at research conferences like the Water Show South Africa, Indlulamithi Scenarios and 25 Years of Democracy conference.
Her passionate activism is against gender-based violence and discrimination. She identifies herself as an eco-feminist which embodies the oppression of nature within the oppression of women.
In her piece in Living While Feminist called Feminism In the Church, Anelile writes about her experience of becoming a mother within her faith, and makes her argument for why Jesus is a feminist. She says in that piece:
“I had seen the structural sexism in my church and partaken in its rituals. After coming across some feminist literature, books, novels, and speeches, I realised that Christianity has portrayed feminism as an enemy state, but that was not the case. In my journey to becoming the catholic ecofeminist that I am today, I played with the idea that Jesus himself was feminist.”
S3, E2: Alice Draper - Vulnerability, body hair, and interrogating our body choices
Today on the podcast I speak to to Alice Draper.
Alice is a freelance writer and editor currently based in Nottingham Road, KwaZulu-Natal.
She finished studying a Bachelor of Journalism at Rhodes University in 2019 and has had the fun job of trying to cultivate a career during a global pandemic. Right now, most of her time is spent on copywriting work with a few editing projects. She's also trying to invest more of her energy into writing for publication.
Alice has always been a feminist. Her early primary school creative writing pieces reimagine fairy tales where the princess chooses to save herself without having an arguably toxic prince in the picture. Alice's writing can also be found in a few places like HelloGiggles, The Tempest, GroundUp, The Daily Maverick and elsewhere.
Today we’ll be talking about the piece she wrote for Living While Feminist – called, Shaving. It’s about body hair and deciding what to with it. In it she says:
“Reflecting has made me wonder how much of the decision to remove body hair was mine. I thought I was making an active choice, and at a physical level, I was.
… My realm of information (consisting of the media, friends, teachers and strangers) all told me I should remove my body hair. This wasn’t something to talk about and contest. It just was. But, as I got older my thoughts about the practice started to shift … one day I hope to have enough self-esteem to love my body as it is. Hairy and all.”
We talk about the male gaze, what it means to defy it, the many benefits of having an orthodox feminist mother, and the steps on a feminist journey. Welcome Alice.
SEASON 3, EPISODE 1: Nobantu Shabangu: Haircuts, hard truths, and the pitfalls and potentials of therapy
Nobantu Shabangu is a gender non-conforming South African writer of plays, poems, short stories and essays. They started writing when they were nine years old, and at eighteen they won a national essay competition on the cruelty of farm animals. This was the first of many prizes including Leopard’s Leap 2018 Message on a Bottle writing competition, and the January (2019) Igby Essay Prize on Kahalari Review.
Between 2012 and 2014 they were part of the British Council Playwright’s Residency in conjunction with the Royal Court Theatre in London where their play Candyland was developed. In 2015 a reading of their play Candyland was held at the Market Theatre. Nobantu is a contributor to BrightRock’s Change Exchange webpage where they write about life changing moments. In 2016 they were facilitator for The Zwakala Festival, a Market Theatre initiative to develop community theatre. An ardent feminist they have published essays in My First Time and Living While Feminist.
Nobantu has a BA in Communication Science and Public Administration. They are currently studying a postgraduate degree in Drama Therapy at the University of Witwatersrand.
Nobantu’s piece in Living While Feminist is called ‘A decade of feminism’ and it explores their journey to a new form of feminist identity, as well as a series of haircuts over the years. At the end of the piece, Nobantu says:
“My hair is growing, and I do not comb it. I feel the thin areas, the thick areas, the short areas and the few straight hairs that poke out of the forest of tight curls. This is what feminism is like: a vast area fertile for growth with strong parts and waning parts, all growing. In the forest of feminism, identities are formed, nations are built, young women are fierce warriors, continents are bridged, and age is worn proudly like the rings of a tree.”
S2, E10: Naledi Maponopono - Economic liberation and feminism in the classroom
The season finale is SHORT, but SO amazing!
Today on the podcast I’m talking with Naledi Maponopono.
Naledi is a grade 4 to 12 isiXhosa teacher at Reddam House Atlantic Seaboard. She is also a lecturer at the South African College of Applied Psychology.
She’s the Deputy Provincial Secretary of the Young Communist League of South Africa in the Western Cape, and the director of her own company -- Inkwenkwezi Language Services.
Naledi was the first person to send me a submission for Living While Feminist. Her piece is called ‘My body as a site of violence’ and in that piece she says: "I find liberation in understanding my oppression because understanding my oppression helps me to define the tools I can use to constantly liberate myself and other women."
So today I’m going to talk to Naledi about liberation, about teaching, and about a more equal world.
S2, E9: Helené Prinsloo - Fitness, fat phobia and feminist freedom
Today on the podcast I talk with with Helené Prinsloo about fitness, fat phobia, and feminist freedom.
Helené works in publishing, promoting fiction and nonfiction for NB Publishers. She is a ‘professional bookworm’ and she has been active in the book industry for eight years helping writers tell and promote their stories.
She is originally from Queenstown in the Eastern Cape but now lives in Sea Point. When not busying herself with books she plays five-a-side football with the Badgers Football Club – something she talks about in her piece in Living While Feminist – Being Fit While Being Fat. It was her first piece of writing to be published in a book, but – exciting news – she’s is working on finally finishing her debut novel.
Before Corona struck Helené was learning Xhosa, making pesto, playing nerdy boardgames and finding new playlists on Spotify. Full disclaimer – Helené is the fantastic publicist for both Living While Feminist and Feminism Is – and we are all so very grateful.
S2, E8: Neoka Naidoo - Climate change and feminism
Today on the podcast I’m talking with Neoka Naidoo.
Neoka always wanted someone to do something about the issues that plague our society, then she realised she was somebody, and got straight to work.
In 2014 she was selected as the Leadership Development Fellow in South Africa for the Climate Action Network International working on international climate change policy and civil society coordination. At the end of 2016 she started to working with this group on Climate Transparency relating to the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
In 2016 Neoka was selected for the Mail and Guardians 200 Young South African list due to her experience in the environmental movement. In 2017 she was selected by the Ecologist as one of 10 global activists to defeat President Trump’s climate change agenda. She was also listed by TreeShake as one of 76 South African voices speaking up for the environment.
Neoka attained her BSc in Environmental Science in her hometown of Durban at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. She followed this up with a post-graduate diploma in in Sustainable Development at the Sustainability Institute and is now enrolled in the MPhil program looking at climate transparency.
Neoka joined GIZ in July 2018 in an advisory capacity. Her role supports and engages with implementation the Paris Agreement in the South Africa context. She currently works on climate finance, digitalization and the IKI projects in South Africa.
Neoka’s piece in Feminism Is is called feminism and diplomacy, and in that piece she says:
“For me, patriarchy is not just the dominance of masculine traits in society, but also an egocentric and anthropocentric approach to solving issues by presenting the illusion of choice, rather than real choices. In my opinion, feminism means the intentional motion towards a holistic eco-centric world by ending the dominant patriarchal and archaic establishment.”
So today I’ll be talking with Neoka about the links between feminism and climate change, and what we can all do about it.
S2, E7: M.A. Warden - Living the Queer Question
M.A. Warden is a philosophy lecturer, aspiring writer and artist.
Marc has their own YouTube Channel, called Indecent, where they discuss issues around philosophy, politics, gender and queer studies, and whatever else tickles their fancy. They spend most of their time engaged in some or the other creative endeavour, some of which we’ll get to talk about today.
Marc’s piece in Living While Feminist is called Living The Queer Question and explores the themes of gender identity and performance, the difficulty in coming out to their parents, toxic masculinity and institutionalised trauma, and the importance of asking questions.
In their piece, Marc says:
“The solution, though not itself an answer, comes from Rilke. Live the questions. I must inhabit the life-world of my gender identity until I disclose my authentic self to myself, free from intellectual constraints and revolutionary compulsions. I must discover, or perhaps even define, what it means for me to be queer. And whether I am gay, bi, ambi, pan, demi, trans, NOS, fluid or non-binary, there is one thing I know for certain: I am me.”
S2, E6: Dr Anja "Nanna" Venter - Feminism at parties, making art, and democratising digital design
Today's episode touches on so many topics - dating while feminist, male tears, making feminist art, democratising digital design, and the importance of honest conversation.
Dr Anja "Nanna" Venter is an ‘artstronaut’ working at the intersections of art, culture, and technology. Find her on Instagram, here https://www.instagram.com/nannaventer/
She has a degree in visual communication, a Masters Degree in Media Studies, and a PhD in Information Communications Technologies for Development. Her PhD looked at how digital creative tools, particularly those on mobile devices, can assist in democratizing visual design capabilities. She currently works as a postdoctoral fellow at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in the department of applied design.
In 2016, Anja was listed by VISI in their ‘Artists We Love’ section for the work she was doing on her Instagram at that time. Anja has worked a s a lecturer in digital illustration, user-centred design, media theory and research, and interactive media. She has also worked in game development, as an interactive media creative consultant, a researcher, a designer, and a teacher.
Anja has, as she describes it, ‘made pictures’ for a variety of platforms and purposes, from commercial work to comics, games, and apps. She has also written articles, opinion pieces and comics. Visit her shop and buy yourself some art. https://www.nannaventer.co.za/ And listen to her podcast, Bad Form, here https://podcasts.apple.com/za/podcast/bad-form-the-podcast/id1342545020
S2, E5: Dela Gwala - Managing your feminist boundaries and how meditation can help
Today I’m excited to be talking to Dela Gwala.
Dela Gwala is a full-time feminist, activist writer, reluctant spiritualist, and hard truths enthusiast.
She holds a Master’s degree in Gender studies from the SOAS University of London and a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town. She has written for the IOL news website, Cape Argus newspaper, New Frame and Mahala magazine.
Her essays have been published in Feminism Is and the Life Righting Collective This Is How It Is. She is currently the Mobiliser-in-Chief at an organisation called the Restitution Foundation.
Her piece in Feminism Is is called When the Anger Runs Out. She says:
“For two years, I wore rage like a cape. I lashed out at anyone I felt was wrong, and I ranted – non-stop. I ranted online, in face-to-face conversations with friends, and during pillow talk with my partner. I ranted over the phone, via email, via Skype…I angered from the bottom of my belly at march after march, protest after protest, social justice meeting after social justice meeting. But then the rage became sadness. Sadness did not serve me like rage did, but I kept going…but then sadness gave way to burnout. I kept on because it was the only thing I knew to do until external intervention told me to stop.”
Dela’s piece explores the aftermath of rape, the harmful impact of rape culture, and the emotional rollercoaster of anti-rape activism. It also explores on the healing that comes from meditation and from meeting and learning from feminists online and in person.
S2, E4: Dawn Garisch - The importance of creative practice for feminism and healing
Today on the podcast I’m talking with Dawn Garisch – a true contemporary maverick.
Dawn is a medical doctor and a published writer. She has had seven novels, a collection of poetry, short stories, a non-fiction work and a memoir published. She has had five plays and short film produced, and has written for television. Three of her novels have been published in the UK.
This publishing journey has not gone unnoticed. Her poem Blood Delta won the DALRO prize in 2007; her novel Trespass was short-listed for the Commonwealth prize in Africa in 2010; Miracle won the EU Sol Plaatjie Poetry Award in 2011; and What To Do About Ricky won the Short.Sharp.Story competition in 2013. Her novel Accident was long-listed for the Barry Ronge Sunday Times fiction award in 2018.
Her seventh novel, Breaking Milk came out in 2019, and her next collection of poetry Disturbance (taking note) was out in November 2020.
She is part of the medical humanities movement and a founding member of the Life Righting Collective https://www.liferighting.com/where she runs courses in memoir writing and poetry. Dawn is still a practising medical doctor. She lives in Cape Town and has two adult sons.
Her piece in Living While Feminist is called ‘The Risk’ and it explores the difficulty of speaking up when those around you say harmful things. In that piece she says.
“As a child I was taught to ignore conflict, to pretend that everything should be nice and fine. I have rebelled against that, seeking to understand those things that disturb me and the world – trying to stand up for what is right. Yet there are moments when I fail. Moments where I do nothing but quail. There is a trapped bird in me that is afraid to object. How to protest? How to say what needs to be said in order to understand and be understood? Consequences are hard to predict.”
So today I’m going to be talking to Dawn about speaking up, about writing as healing, and about the Life Righting Collective.
S2, E3: Zangose Tembo - The power of reimagining feminist futures so we can be more human
Today on the podcast I’m talking with Zangose Tembo.
Zangose works in the field of social justice. For the past seven years she’s worked and volunteered for notable social justice/impact organizations including One Young World, Population Council and the Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy (CFFP).
In 2016, she founded The Best of Africa an online media platform that promotes freedom of speech through written and visual content on Africa. The platform has published content 400+ stories from over 150 individuals from 20 countries in Africa and the diaspora. For her work at The Best of Africa, she received recognition through the Young African Leaders Initiative in 2017 and the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme in 2018.
Zangose is a regular contributor on The Best of Africa, and now work independently as a development consultant. She’s exploring new platforms and opportunities to grow as a founder, storyteller and development expert.
Zangose’s piece in Living While Feminist is called Human, and in that piece she says:
“Everyone’s experience is different, but I know that many can relate to being ‘othered’ on a daily basis, based on biological attributes. Through comment and actions that call attention to our skin, body, hair and more, the world reminds us of our race and gender, while questioning our ability to get work done."
So today I’m going to be talking with Zangose about what it means to be human, and who we have to convince that this should be a position we can all occupy.
S2, E2: Juanita De Villiers - Neurodiversity, food justice, the power of queerness, and gothic fiction
Today on the podcast I talk to Juanita De Villiers. Juanita is a collector of hobbies and special interests, and a Masters candidate at the University of Cape Town where her thesis focuses on contemporary gothic literature. Juanita is a massive horror enthusiast, in the process of starting a horror podcast and has a horror Instagram account already. She is currently working on a chapter about autism, folklore and horror cinema.
Juanita describes herself as a ‘queer cat mom cliché’ and as passionate about animal rights and food justice.
She is also a vegan and passionate about animal rights and food justice.
Juanita’s piece in Living While Feminist is called ‘Finding the Average: Neurodivergence, Queerness and ‘Fitting In’. In that piece she says:
“I am a confluence of things that would not fit in. It’s why I hold the label ‘queer’ so dear. I am queer, I am odd. I am out of place no matter where I go. My body will not shrink to fit, and it will not grow to the size that allows me to claim ‘fat’ as a title of honour. I was an outcast at school, quirky as a young adult. I couldn’t curtail myself properly.”
So today I talk with Juanita about body projects, body comfort, and neurodivergence.
SEASON 2 - EPISODE 1 - Relebone Rirhandzu eAfrika - The importance of sisterhood and writing our stories
Today on the podcast I’m talking to Relebone Rirhandzu eAfrika. Relebone is a who is a Tzaneen-born, Makhanda-bred, Joburg-buttered writer. She describes herself as the awkward girl who brings a book to a party but dreams of opening the dance circle.
Relebone won the Blackbird Books / Casa Lorde residency in 2019. She was the social media manager for the Abantu Book festival in 2018, and works as a copywriter and proof-reader.
Her piece in Living While Feminist is called ‘A Salute to Sisterhood: On the Substance of Black Women’s Silent Revolution’ and explores the language, solidarity, the influence of our mothers, and the importance of building a community that understands you. In her piece she says:
“The centre of women’s organising, the whole point of it, is to lift a sister up. To create and escape. To further society … In the workplace and in less professional spaces, sisterhood carries us all through.”
So today I’ll talking with Relebone about all of these topics, and about her journey to becoming a feminist. Follow her on Twitter https://twitter.com/Relebone_
S1 BONUS! - Manage Your Money Like a Fucking Feminist with Sam Beckbessinger
Today on the podcast I’m talking with Sam Beckbessinger.
Sam is the bestselling author of Manage Your Money Like a Fucking Grownup – a guide to help you take control of your money so you can take control of your life.
As her website says “You’re going to earn plenty of money over your lifetime. Are you going to waste it on stupid crap that doesn’t make you happy, or let it buy your freedom and your most audacious dreams?”
In 2020, Sam produced a second version of the book – Manage your Money Like a Grownup – a guide for teens.
But writing about money is not the only writing that Sam does.
She was one of the writers on Serial Box’s and Marvel’s Jessica Jones: Playing With Fire serialized novel. She's also written several episodes for animated kids’ TV show, Team Jay, commissioned by the Juventus Soccer Club and produced and animated by Sunrise Productions, and the family-friendly comedy series Jungle Beat, which has been broadcast in over 180 countries on channels including Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon.
She is co-writing Magpies, a mystery-suspense novel about missing girls who come back, changed, together with Dale Halvorsen (who listeners may know as the extremely talented designer – Joey Hifi).
Sam was a Mandela Washington Fellow for Young African Leaders at Yale University in 2014, and is a partner and co-founder of two financial technology businesses. She also helps people learn to adult better via her website – LikeaFuckingGrownUp.com
In the intro to Manage Your Money Like A Fucking Grownup Sam says:
“We never get an instruction manual about how money work. We never have to pass a test to get our Money License before we can take a new credit card for a drive. Most of what we learn about money comes from advertising or from other people who know as little as we do. No wonder we make such basic mistakes. No wonder we feel disempowered and scared. No wonder so many of us just decide to stick our heads in the damn sand and never deal with it….
You gain control by being more conscious of your choices …Being in control of your money is about making those choices more deliberately because, if you don’t, you’ll end up spending it all on the advertisers’ ideas about what makes a good life.”
S1, E10: Helen Moffett - Investigating feminist silences around infertility.
Today on the podcast I talk to Helen Moffett about reproductive justice, medical misogyny, and reimagining stories.
Helen Moffett is an author, editor, academic and activist. Her publications include university textbooks, a treasury of landscape writings (Lovely Beyond Any Singing), a cricket book (with Tim Noakes and the late Bob Woolmer), an animal charity anthology (Stray, with Diane Awerbuck) and the Girl Walks In erotica series (with Sarah Lotz and Paige Nick). She has also published two poetry collections – Strange Fruit (Modjaji Books) and Prunings (uHlanga Press), with the latter winning the 2017 SALA prize for poetry. She has edited the last three Short Story Day Africa anthologies, Migrations, ID and Hotel Africa. She has written a memoir of Rape Crisis, and two green handbooks: 101 Water-wise Ways and Wise About Waste: 150+ ways to help the planet. Her first novel, Charlotte (a Pride & Prejudice sequel), was published by Bonnier in the UK in 2020.
Helen’s piece in Living While Feminist, it titled Crones and Witches: This Invisible Body and it focuses on how the discovery of feminist language assisted her in understanding her experiences with the sexual and reproductive health medical community and how feminist silences around infertility and early menopause still remain. She says in her piece:
"Feminism gave me a way through the mess, on every level … all through my twenties, it provided a lifejacket, a Kevlar vest, weapons and warm blankets as I battled sexual violence, career-altering workplace sexual harassment, overt discrimination and sexism in medical settings. It legitimised my anger, gave me words and energy, fuelled me…Feminism did not just give me a map for my life; it saved my life, too."
S1, E9: Owethu Makhathini - Anger, Intimate Justice, and Womanisms
As a social media specialist, strategist and trend forecaster in the advertising industry her work has helped to build digital literacy in that field. Part of this was achieved by founding her creative consultancy - Makhathini Media. Owethu is also a freelance writer and public speaker – in other words, an all-round creative entrepreneur.
Owethu’s writing has featured in both Feminism Is and Living While Feminist. In her piece in Living While Feminist called Ikhaye Elihle – For when I get home – she says
“If one’s practice of feminism is motivated by cheap sloganisms and is used to further the agendas of those already swimming in privilege then we have another problem.”
And in her piece in Feminism Is, called ‘A lot to be mad about: Advocating for the legitimacy of Black women’s anger’ Owethu says,
“My politics and existence are a resistance of respectability and a full embrace of fluidity.”
So today I’m going to speak to Owethu about a range of things, not least, anger and intimate justice.
S1, E8: Professor Srila Roy - Feminist movements and reimagining power.
Srila Roy is associate professor of sociology and heads development studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.
She is the author of the book, Remembering Revolution: Gender, Violence and Subjectivity in India’s Naxalbari Movement (Oxford, 2012), editor of New South Asian Feminisms (Zed, 2012) and co-editor of New Subaltern Politics: Reconceptualising Hegemony and Resistance in Contemporary India (Oxford 2015).
She is currently writing a book on feminist and queer politics in India, and co-editing a volume of essays on #MeToo in India and South Africa. Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, she leads a five year collaborative project between India and Southern Africa called Governing Intimacies.
Srila is also the editor of a number of academic journals and a regular contributor to a variety of media outlets on issues of gender and sexuality in the global south, with her work featuring on Al Jazeera, OpenDemocracy, the Wire and Dissent.
Srila’s piece in Living While Feminist is called Challenging Sexual Harassment in the University: Disarming Feminism and it examines the way that we tell stories about sexual harassment in a university setting, what gets talked about, and what gets silenced. In that piece, Srila writes,
What would it mean to tell a different story of tackling sexual harassment on campus? A story of institutional resources and commitment; of independent offices to deal with complaints alone, to counsel and care; and of feminist leadership. Where it would be obvious that intervention must mean transformation … this could be a story of feminist success. But feminist success is invariably its failure. In the garnering of actual institutional capacity and power lies the undoing of feminist resistance and its promise of an alternative future.
So today I’ll be talking to Srila about that piece, feminism in institutions and many other topics.