By Nomali Cele
8 March marks International Women’s Day. This is a day that, unlike our own watered-down National Women’s Day, which has become more about selling pink products than creating tangible change for women, creates platforms for pressing conversation about women, women’s concerns and women are treated in society.
2017 was a difficult year for women in South Africa. While nothing new happened (women have been suffering for all of time), there was no avoiding the truth of how women are treated under the system of patriarchy. Even though the public focus was fleeting, there was no missing it. And, as a woman, I felt overwhelmed by how much more public our fear and grief had become. Language and stories that are usually left to whisper networks and the 2 AM Twitter threads were now happening daily in very public ways. On a loop, girls were disappearing and being found dead and disappearing.
They don’t make them like they used to by artist Mary Sibande
As a culture, we were publicly confronted by how patriarchy harms women but I’m still unsure if the spotlight on intimate femicide has helped women in any way. The conversation is still ongoing. In November, Kaya 959 hosted a conversation led by feminists, Pumla Dineo Gqola and Lebogang Ramafoko and the room was hopeful and affirming. Women are already doing the work — have been for years — towards our liberation. What is the rest of society doing?
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we share past conversations that we about women’s current status in the world. Below you will find varied conversations that include mental health, pleasure, domestic work environments, women artists at work, balance an more.
Women in the world
On the hardships facing domestic workers in their hostile work environments
Portia Kobue, the Soweto Women’s Forum’s Zukiswa White and the Soul City Institute’s Matokgo Makutoane discussed violence against women
On Influential Fridays, Dr Sindi van Zyl talks personal finance
In 2017, the ACDP’s Cheryllyn Dudley put a motion to parliament that would alter women’s abortion health rights by changing the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill. Should the proposed amendments to the 21-year-old bill pass, more obstacles will be in the way of women trying to access abortion care. Dr Tlaleng and other activists have rallied against the proposal.
Activist Bev Ditsie joins John Perlman to talk stock post-16 Days of Activism. “Campaigns are a good way to look like we’re doing something.” – Bev Ditsie
On Influential Fridays, Businesswoman Lynette Ntuli speaks balance versus integration for women
How are our girls treated in the world? In 2016, black students at Pretoria High School for Girls protested again racism in their school — everything from the hair on the girls’ head was a source of bad treatment.
Women and the arts
Zimbabwean author and feminist, Panashe Chigumuzi shares why writing a specific story as opposed to a universal one is important to her as a writer
Koleka Putuma on her work
Broadcasting legend and journalist, Rhulani Baloyi shares her career journey
An interview with artist Lady Skollie whose work is at the intersection of identity and sexuality
Ytasha L Womack on Afrofuturism
Artist Mary Sibande on the women who inspire her work
Women and sexuality and health
Influential Fridays stand-in presenter, Lebo Mashile, and comedian Nina Hastie talk about consent and pleasure
Penny Lebyane shares her experience with mental illness
Featured image is artist Mary Sibande’s “Caught in the Rapture”