Change the world


The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed society to re-imagine space, community, life and engagement. With Online Reading with the Author on Fridays at 13:00 to 14:15 on Microsoft Teams, Nelson Mandela University’s Centre for Women and Gender Studies (CWGS) seeks to create a space to ask questions, make meaning and develop new tools of understanding the current crisis.

“Through this digital platform the Centre seeks to build a community of gender scholars to allow students, community members, academics and practitioners to engage and discuss current societal issues”, says Dr Babalwa Magoqwana, Interim Director, Centre for Women and Gender Studies. 

The platform aims to close the geographical limitations sometimes imposed by physical infrastructures to engage the authors directly while promoting gender corridors of the Eastern Cape among the gender scholars of the region.

It will open a space to exchange ideas and build collaborations globally with like-minded scholars to mainstream gender beyond the academy and the region.

The first conversation on 9 April, namely, COVID-19 Movement and class in post-apartheid South Africa by Prof Pumla Gqola, Dean of Research at Fort Hare University, is centred on health and gender to situate the conversation in the current pandemic.  

Different communities will be able to engage with the authors directly while sharing their perspectives beyond the closed doors in this lockdown period.  Prof Gqola is a full Professor, an activist and award-winning author who has written extensively for both local and international journals.

On 17 April Dr Nthabiseng Motsemme, the Academic Director of the National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (NHISS), will address Loving in the time of hopelessness: On township women’s subjectivities in a time of HIV/AIDS.  Dr Motsemme has held research positions at the WITS Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) and UNISA’s Sociology and Psychology Department.

Health and Masculinities will be addressed on 24 April by Prof Sakhumzi Mfecane, Department Head of Anthropology and Sociology at the University of the Western Cape.  His research areas include gender, masculinity, medical anthropology, men's health and social theory.  He has worked on and published a variety of journal articles.

Reading 3 Poems on Sex and Health today is the title of the reading by poet and storyteller Mthunzikazi A. Mbungwana from Upper-Indwana village in Cala, Eastern Cape, on 30 April.

She writes in isiXhosa, focussing on themes of home, dreams and everyday Black Queer life.  Mbungwana self-published her debuted chapbook (a booklet of poems), Umnikelo, in 2015.  Her poem: “Ababuyanga”, a feminist critique of ulwaluko, has been reviewed in Creative Writing and Language Classes at the University of South Africa and Sol Plaatje University.

The Centre for Women and Gender Studies will share the authors’ readings ahead of the session and participants will be able to engage with one another and the reader.

The month of May will focus on Women, Work and Mobility and June on Youth and Gender.

To access these readings send an email to who will send you an email with a link inviting you to the Teams reading group. 

From left, Prof Pumla Gqola, Dr Nthabiseng Motsemme, Prof Sakhumzi Mfecane and Mthunzikazi A. Mbungwana 

Contact information
Ms Elma de Koker
Internal Communication Practitioner
Tel: 041-504 2160