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This Women’s Month, the Centre for Women and Gender Studies at Nelson Mandela University is running a programme in honour of African women intellectuals and their historical contribution to the region.

This, as the Centre wraps up a year-long academic project of archiving and showcasing the biographical histories of the African women thinkers.

The programme, which seeks to recover memory and remember women’s intellectual histories in Southern Africa, is run in collaboration with Rhodes University (Political and International Studies) and the University of Pretoria (English Department).

The Centre’s Interim Director, Dr Babalwa Magoqwana, says this month marks the culmination of the Centre’s archival work that has brought together a variety of contributions.

“It infuses history, creative genres of arts and language to centre the works that have been neglected from our maternal intellectual ‘ancestors’. This project promotes inter-generational voices on the legacies and lessons for the current African feminist decolonial project,” says Dr Magoqwana.

Gender and social activist, Dr Brigalia Bam, will give the keynote address, following Vice-Chancellor, Prof Sibongile Muthwa’s opening.  A host of gender activists and social science scholars, including Drs Siphokazi Magadla and Yvette Abrahams, GBV activist Lisa Vetten and jazz vocalist Nomfundo Xaluva, are among the speakers.

Inyathi ibuzwa kwabaphambili is a Xhosa proverb, which means wisdom is learnt or sought from the elders. This project is a tribute to the elders, who are often excluded from history, like our grandmothers.

The colloquium, hosted on 9-10 August 2020, also serves as a precursor to a publication, envisaged for issue in late 2021, that will feature engagements with women who were prominent in political and public discourse.

“These include women from the early twentieth century, together with contemporary women who are driving the cultural and political imagination in democratic South Africa,” said Dr Magoqwana.

“This colloquium, and the subsequent book publication, take seriously the threads of knowledge which have been largely marginalised in both public culture and in the academy. This publication is potentially the first of its kind that will be written by women, centring the lives and ideas of the women whose ideas, actions and creativity is not often located within the broader contestations of their time.”

The Centre was launched at Mandela University in October 2019 with the express aim of mainstreaming gender issues in learning and teaching, and providing an inclusive ‘gender agenda’ that is informed by the broader transformation project of the university in creating a more humane and equal society.

Since its launch, the Centre has worked towards developing a research and scholarship agenda informed by its key principles, providing a space for collaborative, pro-active awareness programmes in dealing with gender-based violence on campus, while centring gender and the dignity of women and other sexual minorities.

The colloquium will streamed on YouTube Live as well as on our website

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777