In bringing alive the link between past and present, we find ways of imagining our future...In this fascinating collection, full of different textures, narratives and nuances, sixteen authors have begun to tackle the task of writing South Africa's history from an overtly feminist perspective, giving readers an opportunity to understand and reflect on debates about real women's power in completely new and fresh ways. Taking readers on an eclectic journey through the major themes of South African history from pre-colonial and pre-Union periods, through the terrors and struggles of the apartheid era to the present time, the authors have chosen not to be polite, but to interrogate issues, take them apart, turn things upside down. Readers are treated to a complete revision of the stories of Sarah Bartman and Xhosa prophetess Nongquawse; given a unique insight into the lives of slave women; the role of women in the early frontier wars; women's political struggles in the twentieth century; and on into the present with essays that deal with women's agency and current forms of protest and self representation. An exciting combination of seasoned and new voices, the book is intelligent, subtle, magisterial and unforgettable. Read it!
Women in the pre-colonial and pre-Union periods: Chiefly women and women's leadership in pre-colonial southern Africa; 'Like three tongues in one mouth' - tracing the elusive lives of slave women in (slavocratic) South Africa; not a Nongqawuse story - an anti-heroine in historical perspective; Women and gender in the South African War, 1899-1902. Women in early- to mid-twentieth century South Africa: 'Let them build more gaols'; testimonies and transitions - women negotiating the rural and urban in the mid-20th century; generations of struggle: trade unions and the roots of feminism, 1930-1960; feminisms, motherisms, patriarchies and women's voices in the 1950s. War - armed and mass struggles as gendered experiences: Women in the ANC-led underground; 'Another mother for peace' - women and peace building in South Africa, 1983-2003; 'We were not afraid' - the role of women in the 1980's township uprising in the Eastern Cape; women, labour and resistance - case studies from the Port Elizabeth/Uitenhage area, 1972-1994; the 1990s - new identities, new victories, new struggles; naked women's protest, July 1990 - 'We won't fuck for houses'; loving in a time of hopelessness' - on township women's subjectivities in a time of HIV/AIDS; invisible lives, inaudible voices? The social conditions of migrant women in Johannesburg; ambiguity is my middle name - a research diary.