The paintings of Manuela Sambo

UnityofSoulII

Manuela Sambo’s art makes me feel the same way that Yvonne Vera’s novels do. Her pieces make me (longingly) identify with a kind of primal power that women possess but, following centuries of brainwashing, that we are unaccustomed with. Like Vera’s, Sambo’s work seems to be in search of a world of poetic essence, caring deeply…

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Sexism is pan-Africanism’s Achilles heel

Les_poseuses_de_bombes_(Guerre_d'Algérie)

  In the 19th century, books in the west were often published in weekly segments in journals and newspapers. Readers awaited each new instalment and the discussions that followed eagerly. Pigeonhole is a new publishing platform aiming to revive this communal spirit of reading.  One of the series you can read on their platform at…

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On the African Union’s message to women

Agenda2063

Yesterday, to commemorate International Women’s Day, the former chairperson of the African Union, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, posted a message for African women on the union’s website. The focus of the update, one which I have pasted below, was to hone in on a political vision and action plan – ‘Agenda 2063‘ – which, among other things, “envisages a…

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7 ways that women are oppressed without knowing it

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I will live but that is all that I will do for patriarchy, is my conscientious feminist motto. It is not always an easy task for women, however, because society constantly tries to diminish feminist consciousness by encouraging women to redefine rather than, remove, oppression. For instance, rather than embolden legal action against rape, women are encouraged to…

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7 South African rebel women artists – in memory of Miriam Makeba

Miriam_Makeba_(1969)

Today, 4 March, is the birthday of the unforgettable Miriam Makeba. To honour her memory I am posting a selection of my favourite songs by seven sensational South African singers who, like Makeba, embody/embodied the spirit of feminist pan-Africa and the African femme fatale.  Pata Pata!  Busi Mhlongo “Umoya ma-Afrika”  Brenda Fassie – “Vuli Ndlela” Lebo Mathosa –…

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‘Who will be the first African woman to sail the length of the River Niger?’

cruise

  Here is a link to an interview that I did for The Corporate Canvas, a South African Careers, Finance, Culture & Lifestyle platform for African Millennial women.  The questions were great, I appreciate the opportunity they gave me to reflect on things that truly matter to me. Below is my favourite question, you can read the rest of the interview…

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‘A letter from one African woman to another’

Akua-Adiki Anokye by Nontsikelelo Mutiti

In January 2015, the Warrior Poets collective invited me to speak at Litanies For Survival, part of Afropean+ at The Bozar Centre For Fine Arts in Brussels. The event turned out to be a vibrant, memorable night of African culture – music, fashion, talks, art, dance, flash mobs – taking over one of Europe’s leading art institutions. Other talks and…

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Citizens and women – two neglected words in Nigeria’s elections

nigeriawomencitizens

Nigerians have experienced some of the most unstable five years in their country’s history under the rule of President Goodluck Jonathan. Not so much because the problems we face today – such as poor infrastructure, oil corruption and terrorism – have not previously existed but because there is a heightened sense of awareness among citizens, a…

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The sexual (r)evolution of an African feminist – Part III

wolfgang pietrzok

(This is the third part of a three-part blog essay about the aforementioned. Read part I and part II here and here.) The sexual domain is one where women, even those who may otherwise feel empowered, often give away their power by going through years, lifetimes even, of being sexually active but not necessarily sexually fulfilled. I was guilty…

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The sexual (r)evolution of an African feminist – Part II

Sho

(This is the second part in a three-part blog essay about the aforementioned. Read part I here.) — In my twentieth year on earth, I discovered feminism and therein the tools with which to question the prey/hunter paradigm that to a great – and rather unfavourable – extent had shaped my sexuality thus far. I lived in Sweden…

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The sexual (r)evolution of an African feminist – Part I

balloon penis

(This is the first part in a three-part blog essay about the aforementioned.) Like many girls I entered puberty with both trepidation and excitement. It was a time marked by changes: psychological and physical. However, I soon learnt that girls were not meant to take an interest in a variety of things that came along…

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Commonwealth Writers hosts migration debate – read African feminist writers on migration

Birds

In the lead up to International Migrant’s Day, which took place on December 18th, Commonwealth Writers joined the migration debate by running brief stories by writers about their own migrations. My contribution is titled “Migrating to Myself” and you can read it on the Commonwealth Writers blog. It was good to read reflections of other African women…

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Help! @CosmopolitanUK ‘discovers’ horrific African sexual practices

Cosmo

It has come to the attention of Cosmopolitan UK that women in Africa (the country) are using “various means” to reduce moisture in their vaginas and consequently tighten them so that men can enjoy sex more. This “dry sex” as Cosmo call it, making it sound like some weird pornographic fetish, is due to a “distinct lack of…

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TEDxBrixton Talk – To change the world, change your illusions

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Last month, I gave a TEDx Talk titled “To change the world, change your illusions” at TEDxBrixton, which has now been uploaded on YouTube. Watching the clip takes me right back to the day: all the great talks, the wonderful TEDxBrixton team, the excitement and nerves but most of all the energy in a room…

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African men, are you still not listening?

VAW

Hey, it’s the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Violence against women is ginormous, ginormous, ginormous. It is so ginormous that the UN says it is a global pandemic. Other examples of global pandemics are Ebola, HIV and Bob Geldof. Due to its enormity I am thinking this post will be about how it is possible that male…

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Why you should read Assata Shakur in times of Ferguson

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Having witnessed police officers mercilessly beat up a group of young hippies, Assata Olugbala Shakur, at the time a young activist in the Black Students Union in New York, had an epiphany. It was this: she was not going to change a thing by smoking weed in the park and complaining about brutally racist police….

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