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Speakers, Titles, and Abstracts

Please see more details about each of our speakers and their presentation title and abstract below.



Meztli Yoalli Rodríguez Aguilera (The University of Texas at Austin)


Title: "Grieving Geographies:  Gender, Racialization and Environmental Degradation in the Coast of Oaxaca, México"


This paper examines the everyday resistances and alliances between black and indigenous women in a community called Zapotalito on the Pacific Coast of Oaxaca, as they defend against an ecocide in their land: a lagoon is that is dying due to pollution and lack of oxygen because it was disconnected by a government’s project from the Pacific Ocean.


The historical invisibilisation of black population, and the folklorisation of indigenous population in Mexico is deeply entangled with anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism that constitutes the nation-state project of mestizaje. An important intervention of my work is exploring the intersections between gender, race and environment, a field that has not yet been analysed in Mexico, particularly around black population.  Another contribution of my research is to observe if the legal recognition of black population in the national constitution has impact in the communities, or if these policies only respond to a neoliberal multicultural (Hale, 2005) turn toward cultural recognition without an impact on economic or political matters. In 2008, 2012, and later in 2017 a fish mortality of 10 tons was registered in the Zapotalito lagoon. It is black and indigenous women that face and grieve this environmental crisis in their everyday life. This is the epitome on how anti-black and anti-indigenous racism operates in a bodily and geographic dimension. In spaces where governments fail to respond, for example, a community in the Coast that faces ecocide of the lagoon in their land and violence, black and indigenous women particularly have stepped to create: everyday practices of care.

Noran Atteya (Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria)​ and Christopher Isike (Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria)

Title: "Islamic Feminism and Peace Building: A way forward for women’s participation?"


Contrary to what the term might suggest, Islamic Feminism does not merely describe a branch of feminism stemming from countries with Muslim majorities. It is also a more revolutionary form of feminism that emerged in the late twentieth century as a reaction to the growing influence of political Islam in the Middle East. It challenges the patriarchal readings and interpretations of Islam with regards to the status of women in public and private domains, and asserts gender equality through utilizing feminist tools and methods to re-interpret the Quran and other Islamic texts from a gender-sensitive feminist lens.


In the last fifteen years,  literature has increasingly  been dedicated to the role of religion in peacebuilding, both through its institutional role in what has come to be known as religious peacebuilding and its role as a societal construct shaping the cultures and identities in given societies. However, with the persisting lack of participation of women in both secular and religious peacebuilding, there is a need for a theoretical framework that utilizes religion to encourage the engagement of women in peacebuilding in communities where religion plays a dominant role in the culture. 


This paper therefore aims to provide an introduction to Islamic feminism, as well as the different debates surrounding it, while studying its linkage to peacebuilding and the potential it could provide for increasing women’s participation in peacebuilding in countries where Islam plays a dominant constitutive role in its culture.

Abosede Omowumi Babatunde (Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ilorin)


Title: "The Ogoni Women Movement and the Struggles for Environmental Justice in Nigeria’s Niger Delta Region"


The non-violent struggles for environmental justice in the Niger Delta spearheaded by the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) in the early 1990s brought the plight of the environmentally-ravaged region to global attention. The ineffectual strategies of the Nigerian government to tackle the environmental injustice in the Niger Delta accounted for the transition of the non-violent struggle to violent agitations. Prominent among the actors that played critical roles in MOSOP agitations is the Ogoni women, under the auspice of the Federation of Ogoni women (FOWA). The major roles played by FOWA in the struggles paved the way for the proliferation of women-led movement in the campaign for environmental justice in the Niger Delta. The Niger Delta people campaign for environmental justice have been well studied in the literature from the male-centric perspectives, while the gender-centric aspects in which women featured prominently have remained under-researched. Using a post-modern feminist perspectives, this paper examines the dynamics of the Ogoni women movement in the struggles for environment justice in the Niger Delta region. The paper explores the socio-political issues that shaped and impacted on the Ogoni women movement and the trajectories of their struggles. Drawing on field data, the paper argues that the Ogoni women played formidable roles not only in championing the plight of the Niger Delta women, but also the male-led struggles for environmental justice. It demonstrates that the Ogoni women movement is largely instrumental to the gains made by MOSOP in the struggles in the early 1990s. Since then, diverse socio-political factors have shaped the dynamics of Ogoni women movement struggles for social justice in the Niger Delta region. This has profound implications for the trajectories of Ogoni women-led campaign for social justice in the region.



Rhea Bose (Tata Institute of Social Sciences) and Asmita Kundu (Jawaharlal Nehru University)

Title: "The Politics of Time, Nationality and Identity in the Writings of Lesbian Histories of India"


A central debate in queer historiography addresses the very legitimacy of how we perceive history in the conventional sense. Thus, works on the same, while underlining the necessity of creating a historical archive for queer lives to combat historical amnesia, also point out the difficulties of situating queer bodies within a linear, teleological progression of time (Freeman: 2010; Halberstam: 2005). Lesbian history writing further complicates this issue by resisting the added burden of invisibility even within the purview of queer histories. Additionally, lesbian histories from non-Eurocentric vantage points undertake the task of creating alternate narratives which mandatorily reflect the socio-political and geographical specificities of their said location while also championing the requirement of creating a transnational public sphere which is rooted primarily in one’s sexual identity and goes beyond the requirement of one’s immediate geographical or cultural belonging.


Lesbian history writing in India, plays on this polemic by trying to achieve three main goals: a) to legitimise the presences of lesbian love in the past and the present of the subcontinent while critiquing the continued absences that lesbianism suffered at the hands of dominant histories; b) to highlight the specificities of being a lesbian in India while also resisting essentialist and nationalistic reductions; and lastly c) to open up further debates about the very validity of this category and if it consciously or unconsciously is being complicit in the politics of inequality and injustice. The last point becomes especially topical at this very juncture because India is undergoing a peculiar political climate. The decriminalization of homosexuality in 2018 is actually contemporaneous with the upsurge of jingoistic hyper-nationalism and religious supremacy in the country where the reclaiming of the category “Indian” at present is oftentimes more complicated than merely denoting a geographical or cultural specification. It will inevitably be tarnished with the nationalistic demands of being “an ideal Indian” that is mandated by the dominant culture. What then is an appropriate method of addressing Indian lesbian histories? Keeping in mind the aforementioned polemics of queer history writing in general, how does one read and critique the available accounts of an Indian lesbian history? This paper tries to answer the same by closely analysing three texts by lesbian women from India, namely: Giti Thadani’s Sakhiyani: Lesbian Desire in Ancient and Modern India (1996), Maya Sharma’s Loving Women: Lesbian Love in Underprivileged India (2006) and  Naisargi Dave’s Queer Activism in India: A Story in the Anthropology of Ethics (2012). These three works might not be strictly “histories” but provide historical accounts of lesbian lives in the country alongside necessary political interventions that are indispensable for the debate that this paper seeks to address. A close analysis of these three texts will address the problematic of queer historiography of whether to be “a-historical” in a way of resisting the tools dispensed by the otherwise heteropatriarchal national history or to responsibly manoeuvre the same to dispense accounts of historical belonging thereby forwarding the cause for representation. Is a seamless admixture of the two possible? If yes, then at what cost?

Chay Brown (Australian National University)

Title: "Principles of Good Practice to Prevent Violence against Women in Australia's Northern Territory"


The Northern Territory in Australia has some of the highest rates of victimisation of violence against women in the entire world. The rates of violence against Indigenous women in the Northern Territory are of particular concern. Mainstream interventions – or those developed for Western women – are often inappropriate to address violence against women in Indigenous contexts. Mainstream interventions often seek to solve the problem of violence against women by developing programs which place the onus on the woman to leave the abusive relationship and seek safety. However, such interventions are largely inappropriate in many Indigenous contexts where relationships are considered permanent and the removal of a woman carries many social and cultural consequences. Alternatively, amid national calls for tougher penalties for abusive partners, responses to violence against women occur through the judicial system in the form of incarceration or domestic violence orders. However, breaches and recidivism rates highlight the ineffectiveness of a solely penal approach. There is a wealth of practice-based knowledge within the Northern Territory Indigenous Australia – Indigenous people, and particularly Indigenous women, are the experts and influencers in their communities. This paper draws upon a collaborative workshop process in which stakeholders identified principles of good practice to prevent violence against women in the Northern Territory and developed contextually specific indicators to guide the practice of these principles. It further draws upon semi-structure interviews, safety mapping, and case studies with more than 200 Northern Territorians to argue that bottom-up collaborative approaches are necessary in the development of frameworks to harness the expertise and insights of communities and frontline workers who walk alongside women experiencing violence every day.

Manisah Chachra (Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru Univeristy)

Title: "Women's Empowerment in Nineteenth-Century Social Reform Movements and Hindu Right India: Unveiling Motherhood Politics in the Global South"


India’s struggle against the colonial tutelage was intertwined with various social reform movements in the nineteenth century. The social reform movements centred around the women’s question focused on interlinked forms of domination, the divisive nature of colonial authority and subordination of women amid complex socio-political forces. The women’s question centred around bringing reforms in women’s education, eradication of social evils like child marriage, sati, and “purdah” (veiling) among Hindus. My research paper attempts to comprehend the historiography of women’s issues in social reform movements of the nineteenth century. The paper argues that gender reforms failed to attack the structural and traditional forms of patriarchal control. The vocabulary of “stree-swadhinta” (women’s self-determination) (Roy, 2010, p. 410) became a popular agenda of the nineteenth century social reforms. Therefore, the social reform movements of the nineteenth century did not particularly address the misogyny within the Indian households rather legitimised the image of ”self-sacrificing” image of a woman. The use of domestic symbols such as the charkha (spinning wheel) in the Swadeshi movement, importance of ”salt” in the dandi march further essentialised motherly traits. The image of the ”self-sacrificing woman” and domesticated femininity has gained prominence in the discourse of Hindutva. The Hindutva organisations-Sangh Parivar, have touched upon the narrative of Nari-Shakti (women’s empowerment) in its women wings. According to Hindutva, female body represents “honour and virtue of the nation” (Butalia 1996). My research paper attempts to compare the nature of women’s empowerment in the nineteenth century social reform movements and the discourse of women’s empowerment within Hindutva. With Global South as context of research paper, it seeks to unveil the interconnections between motherhood politics and to what extent it fulfils the emancipatory pulse of feminism.

Gorata Chengeta (University of the Witwatersrand)


Title: "The Politics and Genealogy of the #RuReferenceList"


In this paper, I will flesh out key historical influences as well as offshoots of the #RUReferenceList protest against sexual violence, which took place in 2016 at Rhodes University in Makhanda (FKA Grahamstown). As introduction, I will give an account of the protest, contextualizing it through the events leading up to it. Following this, I will explore the key events and methods of the protest, such as the academic disruptions and the topless demonstration, tracing the political influences behind them.


I will then analyse matters central to archiving this protests, such as erasure and institutional power. This will include a narrative analysis of the university’s official responses to the protests and media coverage, read alongside accounts of the protests by activists and allies. Here, I will discuss the internet as an alternative space through which counternarratives can be archived, through examples such as the Makunyiwe Macala archive, the #RUReferenceList hashtag.


Throughout the paper, I will be making connections between the #RUReferenceList protest and related protests such as #FeesMustFall, #RapeAtAzania and #RememberKhwezi. Finally, I will discuss the afterlife of the #RUReferenceList protest in relation to recent political formations such as #AmINext and Silungisa iAcademy. Throughout, I will draw heavily from cultural products created by student activists, staff Rhodes alumni, and allies of the protest. In this, my broader aim is to draw attention to the rich counter-archive of #RUReferenceList created by these actors.

Chavonne Cupido (University of Cape Town)

Title: "A Case Study of Clemency in Pre- and Post-Apartheid South Africa"


In contemporary South Africa, there have been calls by feminists for clemency for women accused of murdering their intimate partners. These demands need to be examined in a wider historical context with regards to the judgements that have been given to women who murdered their abusive husbands in South Africa over time. This paper argues that there is precedent for a woman’s history of being a victim of intimate partner violence being taken into account when judgements have been made against them. This paper analyses the murder cases of Winifred Agnes Maud Fagan (1932) and Martha Marumo (2005) in comparative perspective. In 1932, Fagan murdered her husband after facing years of abuse. Due to her trauma and her sex, the court sympathised with Fagan and gave her a lighter sentence. Marumo, along with three unknown men, was charged with the murder of her abusive husband in 2003. In 2005, the Johannesburg High Court sentenced Marumo to life in prison for murder and an additional seven years for kidnapping. Due to her experience with her abusive husband, many civil society groups and feminist activists have called for a presidential pardon for her immediate release. In Fagan’s case, the judgment was made in the late colonial-era (1932) and was influenced by gendered notions of women being the “weaker sex”. However, in post-apartheid South Africa, such cases have been sites of mobilisation to highlight the extreme psychosocial impact of gender-based violence on affected women and to argue for clemency for those who murdered their husbands. The paper draws on archival research in the case of Fagan, and newspaper articles and the campaign documents of Southern African women’s rights organisations in the case of Marumo. Finally, it suggests the potential value of comparing late colonial-era and contemporary judgements in relation to these types of cases in South Africa and India, another former British colony in the Global South.

Isolde de Villiers (University of the Free State)

Title: "The Women of Schubert Park: The Story of a Momentary Movement"


In 2011, approximately 700 families were evicted from the Schubart Park housing complex in the city of Tshwane, South Africa. The municipal council claimed that the residential blocks were uninhabitable and that the inhabitants had to be evacuated. One year later, the Constitutional court found that it was not an evacuation, but in fact an unlawful eviction and that the inhabitants had to be re-instated in their homes. After the evictions, the blocks were looted and most of the outer structure was removed in attempts to get the pipes and plumbing that could be sold for scrap metal. As a result, these skeleton flats remain empty shells and the former inhabitants are still dispersed throughout the city in alternative accommodation. 


This paper wants to trace the role that three women played in successfully challenging the city of Tshwane’s evictions in the Constitutional court. It is the forerunner of a short documentary based on the input of Anita Watkins, in whose name the court documents were drafted, Lizzy Steenkamp, one of the leaders of the Schubart Park residents association and Ntombi Tshabalala, who is still heading the youth of Schubart Park. 


Although the Schubart Park community was not a social movement, it was a fleeting and inoperative community in the way that Iris Marion Young envisions city life as the basis for politics and community. In this contribution I will draw from the work of Young and other spatial justice feminist in order to explore how activism impacts on the everyday lives of women. 

Lucy Delap (University of Cambridge)


Title: "'I was very much taken in by sisterhood': Spare Rib Magazine and Postcolonial Feminisms"


Spare Rib magazine was one of the most iconic and long lasting of women’s liberation magazines in Britain. Published between 1972 and 1993, it always sustained an international readership and attempted to cover women’s activism beyond Britain. But in the first ten years or so, the magazine’s coverage of the women’s movements of the global South (identified in the magazine as "Third World women") was limited and, on occasion, insensitive and patronising. Its second decade, however, saw a distinct shift in coverage, with much more sustained coverage of events in Zimbabwe, South Africa, India and other locations, and more space for the voices of women from these countries. It also saw change in membership of the editorial collective to include women of colour whose origins and interests lay in the Global South. This paper investigates the reasons for this change, its impact upon Spare Rib’s readership, and on the dynamics of relationships between women’s movements of the global North and South. Drawing on recent oral history interviews and the editorial archives of the magazine, it tracks the involvement of two Spare Rib collective members from, respectively, Ethiopia and Iran, whose work on Spare Rib linked the magazine to specific sites of feminist, internationalist and postcolonial struggle. The form and controversial nature of Spare Rib’s coverage of global women’s movements in 1980s and 1990s Britain is explored, as well as the experiences of migrant or exiled women from the global South as they moved across borders and encountered a range of feminisms. 

Annie Devenish (History Department, University of the Witwatersrand)

Title: "A Tale of Two Charters: The Indian Women's Charter of Rights and Duties (1945) and the Federation of South African Women's Charter (1954), Postwar Feminism, Transnationalism, and International Solidarity"


In 1945, the All India Women’s Conference (AIWC), a national organisation committed to the equal rights and empowerment of women in a free and democratic India, drafted the Indian Women’s Charter of Rights and Duties, as a strategic tool to build gender equality into the new nation State as it transitioned from colonial rule.  Nine years later at its inaugural conference in 1954, the Federation of South African Women (FSAW) adopted the Women’s Charter, which likewise sought ‘unite all women in common action for the removal of all political, legal, economic and social disabilities’.


The national contexts from which these Charters emerge – South Africa and India – differed significantly. India was on the cusp of freedom and about to enter a new phase of democracy with a constitution enshrining equality on paper, while South Africa was coming to the end of its first decade of apartheid rule, defined by legislatively enforced racial segregation, inequality, and political oppression.  Yet the two Charters talk to each other and have much in common, in particular through their shared focus on socio-economic rights and class inequality, the burden of women’s unpaid reproductive and caring labour, and a joint concern with empowering women through the reform of personal laws related to their position within the family. Both the AIWC and the FSAW were also able to use these Charters strategically to shape important policy documents within their respective political movements. FSAW ‘s 1954 Charter fed into the famous 1956 Freedom Charter drafted at Kliptown, while activists within the AIWC, used their Charter to argue for gender equality in the drafting of the new Indian Constitution (1950), and the Charter also formed the basis for the mandate of the United Nations Committee on the Status of Women.  This paper explores the connections between these two significant documents, situating them within the broader international women’s movement and anti-colonial movements of their day.

Simamkele Dlakavu (Gender Studies Department, University of Cape Town)

Title: "Feminist Organising against Sexual Violence in Democratic South Africa: The One in Nine Campaign"


This study seeks to examine the One in Nine Campaign, a feminist organization that emerged in support of Fezeka Kuzwayo, publicly known as "Khwezi," who accused the Deputy President of South Africa Jacob Zuma of rape. The organisation was inspired by a study released by the South African Medical Research Council (MRC) in 2005 on sexual violence which indicated that only one out of every nine rape survivors report the attack to the police. It is this statistic that prompted the name: 'One in Nine' (One in Nine Campaign, 2015). The women who formed this collective in support of Kuzwayo provided a counter-political discourse which was clearly feminist and "were the first to say, unreservedly, 'I believe her,' when it was the hardest time to do so" (Mbadazayo, 2018). The verdict on Zuma "split the nation around the meaning of rape" (Bennett, 2005: 5). Evaluating the One in Nine Campaign allows us to understand how self-describing feminist organisations emerge and sustain their work against sexual violence in democratic societies. As Mbandazayo (2018) states, the individuals and collectives behind the organisation that is One in Nine "remains an obscure footnote to memory". Thus, this study seeks to challenge that erasure through the view that the women of One in Nine Campaign are legitimate political actors, and organisers. This study examines how the organisation does its work, its evolution, methods of resistance and ideas of feminist mobilising and leadership that shape its work against sexual violence in South Africa.

Duduzile Dlamini (SWEAT / Mothers for the Future) and Marion Stevens (Stellenbosch University)

Title: "Sex Workers' Experiences of Accessing Sexual and Reproductive Health Services"


This paper will explore sex worker narratives in accessing sexual and reproductive health in South Africa's Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition (SRJC). Mothers for the Future (M4F) was set up to support and organise sex workers who are mothers from a reproductive justice perspective. It is well documented that most of the focus on sex workers comes from a welfarist approach addressing HIV prevention within the most-at-risk populations (MARPs). In 2014, M4F approached Marion Stevens in setting up a programme to inform sex worker mothers with regard to their sexual and reproductive rights. With funding from Amplify Change, the SRJC and M4F conducted a small research project to gather the narratives of sex workers accessing information on sexual and reproductive health and rights and services and in particular their experiences of accessing contraception and abortion. Ethical approval was provided by the Faculty of Humanities from the University of Cape Town. This study provides in-depth narratives regarding barriers to sexual and reproductive health services in particular abortion services. Data collection included the process of body mapping and storytelling of 45 sex workers in Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg. Many participants described compounded and interlinking challenges that they experienced which then informed their health. A number of themes emerged: the primary family/community not being safe, impact of criminalisation, abuse, substance abuse, mental health, poor access to health services including access to information, limited sexual and reproductive health services, quality of contraception services, gynaecological considerations including experiences of pregnancy and obstetric violence, poor access to abortion services, limited integration of HIV services, and poor health systems. Marion Stevens and Dudu Dlamini will share their findings in a panel discussion including a presentation of some of the body maps.    

Megan Doney (New River Community College)

Title: "Imagining Mothers, Imagining Men: Constructions of Gender in Gun Violence Activism"


Following the massacre of twenty first graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, Shannon Watts created a Facebook page she called Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America (hereafter referred to as MDA). Within days, she amassed a considerable following and today, the organization has more than 6 million supporters, according to its website. The movement has influenced local and state-wide change, enabling politically inactive women to enter the public sphere. MDA’s messaging and public face are upbeat and nonconfrontational, cheerfully invoking maternal protective instincts and posing no implied threat to traditional constructions of femininity, but backlash against Watts and members of MDA has ranged from public intimidation at community events to stalking, from violent social media memes to outright threats of rape and murder. This paper responds to the following puzzle: Why does MDA, an organization that adheres to traditional norms of femininity and maternity, incite such violent responses from (male) opposition?


In this paper, I will assess the marketing and publicity strategies that MDA utilizes, and how those approaches reinforce heteronormative, stereotypical traits of maternal protectiveness. Though this approach should seem innocuous, it incites a misogynistic response from gun “rights” activists because guns hold totemic power as proof of masculinity. The terror of gun loss, then, is not merely interpreted as object loss, but as loss of a singularly masculine American identity. Understanding this fear has implications for public policy, effective communication, and social change. Drawing on scholarship in rhetoric and masculinity while integrating elements of personal experience, the paper illuminates a critical yet overlooked tension between two gender-dominated forces in American culture.

Christi-Lee du Plessis (University of Johannesburg)

Title: "Illustrator as Feminist Activist: How Illustration can Play a Role in Feminism Activism through its Visual Communication"


South Africa has seen a largescale uproar against femicide and gender-based violence with the latest being the reaction to the rape and murder of a Cape Town student by a Post Office worker. Alongside the harsh reality of the state of women’s safety in South Africa, the country still garners a high position in the The Global Gender Gap Report on equality as our constitution offers platforms for issues regarding inequality of gender. Unfortunately, there is a big divide between what resources are given and what is actually happening on a ground level. On ground level South Africans voice their concerns about women’s issues on the platforms they have access to, social media. This means of activism positions it within the core of fourth wave feminism. Which is connected to the rise in online activism and the use of the internet and other new technologies in conjunction with the concern of intersectionality. The activism we see on online platforms start to look slightly different to the protesting and lobbying associated with traditional activism but still has the same goals. It is in the online space where illustration is being used as a tool for activist means. I aim to highlight the important role illustration plays and have played in feminist activism. This paper discusses this intersection between feminist activism and illustration by using a semiotic analysis to analyse the work of illustrators Anja Venter and Karlien de Villiers. I aim to explore how they communicate their feminist message in a contemporary South African context and to highlight the important role illustration can play in advocating for socio-political causes.

Chet Fransch (History Department, Stellenbosch University)

Title: "Commemorating the Unsung Heroine of the Western Cape: Rape Trial Testimonies and the Fight against Sexual Violence in the Twentieth Century"


This paper essentially identifies and pays homage to unsung heroines who in various ways, fought back against their rapist – be it an individual, a system or a larger community. While much more attention is given to activist groups who fought against gender-based violence especially towards the latter half of the twentieth century onwards, there exists a sizeable number of womxn who, in various ways, staved off their attackers, but remain invisible in the existing secondary literature. The judicial proceedings of the criminal courts of the Western Cape provides ample examples where the initial attack and even the second rape of the investigation and judicial procedure, provided a platform to act-out out against sexual violence. This paper therefore critically evaluates the narratives of the rape trials to further portray how gender-based activism, albeit at an individual level, challenged prevailing patriarchal norms and led to unexpected allegiances and courtroom outcomes throughout the twentieth century.



Deborah Gaitskell (SOAS University of London)

Title: "Prayer, Preaching and Practicalities: Female Church Groups in Southern Africa as Social Movements"

Mariana Daniela Gómez (CONCIET / Universidad Nacional de San Martín)


Title: "Interpellations and Challenges on One Side and the Other: Indigenous Women and the Feminist Movement in Argentina"


The visibility in the public space of indigenous women and their referents and leaders is recent in Argentina as well the discussion about their rights. In recent years a “feminine indigeneity” (with a greater presence of Mapuche women) are proclaiming itself as anti-racist and plurinational and linking with sectors of the feminist movement and also adding in the massive mobilisations against femicides and for the right to abortion. Given the above, my work seeks to answer two key questions: 1) How do the recent debates and struggles of the Argentine feminist movement affect the agenda of indigenous women who have been organising in the last years? 2) What are the contributions and challenges that indigenous women can bring to the feminist movement? For each question I have a provisional hypothesis to start the analysis of documents written by groups of indigenous women and also the records of my ethnographic approaches in southern Argentina and Buenos Aires

Within the activism in indigenous organisations women seem to carry on in their bodies and speeches the moral mandate to make visible the "cultural difference" representative of their "people," through the performativity in the public space of female indigenous identities. My hypothesis is that these ethnic moral mandates and the absence of indigenous leaders who define themselves as “feminists” do not yet allow the historical demands of Argentine feminism (the right to abortion, the autonomy of sexualities and bodies, the fight against violence gender) enter the agenda of organized indigenous women and, instead, focus their demands denouncing the racism they face throughout their lives and on returning to “indigenous spirituality” as a place of resistance and engine for collective action, and reinforcing the borders that would differentiate them from "western women" from Argentina.

Laura Hartmann (Philipps-Universität Marburg)

Title: "Activists, Feminists, Womanists, Sisters? Reflecting on moments of solidarity between African American and South African Women’s Movements"


Sisterhood is powerful! has been one of the most popular slogans of the U.S.-American feminist movement since the 1960s and has inspired feminists worldwide. However, discussions around racial and classist divisions have influenced feminist struggles from the very start and have opened heated debates around the idea of an all-inclusive sisterhood. Especially Women of Color felt marginalised in the women’s struggle for empowerment, which was predominantly led by white middle- to upper-class women. While counter theories such as womanism, black womanhood, and intersectionality are often attributed to the American Black feminist movement only, similar tendencies, tensions, and sentiments can be detected among women’s movements in South Africa. Not only did women activists from both countries fight their own battles against multiple axes of discrimination, but they have also been actively supporting and inspiring one another for decades. These bonds between African American and South African feminists reveal the significance and the dynamics of transnational feminist solidarity; their historical origins are relevant for a scholarly understanding of contemporary feminist movements.

This paper presents my approach to the research on transnational feminist solidarity as part of my PhD project. It highlights some of the influences, inspiring moments, and cross-references between South African and African American feminists which serve as evidence for the transnational efficacy of Black women’s solidarity and sisterhood.

Monique Kwachou (Higher Education and Human Development Research Group, University of the Free State)


Title: "What it Means to Do African-Feminist Education Research"


An ongoing study entitled “Too much book”: a capabilities and African-feminist based investigation of Cameroonian women’s empowerment through higher education, is presented here as an illustration of what it means to do African-feminist education research in African context. The study takes on Cameroonian society’s fear of supposedly ‘overeducated women’ and the assumption of women’s empowerment through higher education as commonly captured by the Pidgin-English phrase ‘too much book’ and French-slang epithet ‘long crayon’ often directed at women to suggest their being educated to their detriment. The assumption of Cameroonian women’s empowerment through higher education generates two problems; it promotes the limitation of young women’s aspirations and an incomplete informational basis for government (and public) judgement of higher education outcomes to women.

This research takes on the problematic assumption by proposing an exploration of what empowerment means for Cameroonian women and the potential of state universities in Cameroon to enable the empowerment they have reason to value. In this study, the Capability Approach, an open-ended normative framework renowned as one of the major accounts underlying international educational policies is developed using African feminist thought to produce an original African-feminist application of the Capability Approach. As the Capability Approach has  thus  far  been  engendered  using  mainstream  western  feminist thought, this original African-feminist application of the Capabilities Approach will enable a more contextually relevant inquiry and adequate responding to the study’s overarching question: ‘Can higher education provide Cameroonian women with the necessary capabilities to consider themselves and be considered empowered'?


By advancing decoloniality, underscoring African-feminist epistemologies, employing narrative and participatory methods for engaging participants, maximising the transformative potential of knowledge production, centring the African woman and more, this research demonstrates what Mama (2011) advocates for as necessary for doing feminist research in Africa properly.



Ushehwedu Kufakurinani (University of Johannesburg / University of Warwick) and Precious Makoni (Department of Economic History, University of Zimbabwe)


Title: "Feminist Housewives: The National Housewives Register in Zimbabwe’s History, 1970s to 1980s"


Being a feminist housewife is considered an oxymoron. Radical feminists, in particular, see housewifery and domesticity at large as sources of women’s oppression. Modern definitions of feminism, however, emphasise continuously empowering women and elevating their status in whatever sphere. Indeed, there have been growing online platforms and engagements about the feminist housewife. In this paper we demonstrate that the notion of a feminist housewife can be traced back into the historical past. We use the National Housewives Register (NHR), a white women’s organisation established in Rhodesia in 1971. The NHR, however, had a longer history dating back to 1960 in the United Kingdom. In 1982, NHR changed its name to Women in Touch (WIT) and attempted to expand its membership to include blacks. NHR was established within the context of general dismay and discontentment among women over being housewives. It sought to valorise housewifery and elevate women’s domesticity. Indeed, from its inception, NHR had sought to lobby for and promote the active participation of white women housewives in the domestic space and their recognition by society. We argue that in this regard, the NHR had mixed fortunes. Its successes were short-lived and the organisation itself failed to last beyond the first decade of independence as a result of many factors. The study examines the various ways in which the NHR, as a movement, attempted to promote housewifery and explores the challenges it faces. We use the NHR newsletter to a larger extent to explore the philosophies, mandate and activities of NHR. Other sources include newspapers and minutes of the meetings that involved NHR.

Kate Law (University of Nottingham)

Title: "'For women who would not toe the line': South Africa, the British Anti-Apartheid Movement, and the Debate over Depo-Provera, c.1980-1987"


In 1987, as apartheid confidently entered its 39th year, South Africa was forced to resign from the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) over its widespread use of the controversial contraceptive injection Depo-Provera. A prominent group that lobbied the IPPF was the women’s wing of the British Anti- Apartheid Movement, who argued that the state was practising social engineering as African women were often unwittingly given Depo-Provera, with the injection frequently being described by health professionals as a “vitamin”. Yet, some women used Depo-Provera as a form of “silent contraception”, which allowed them a semblance of autonomy over their reproductive labour. Therefore, although well-intentioned, in this paper I examine whether the AAM campaign mirrored earlier missionary discourses, which saw white women enact a specialised form of colonial power, once again placing black women between the strictures of African patriarchy and “external” ideas regarding modernity and power. Based on archival work conducted with the papers of the AAM, this paper aims to shed further light on feminist health histories - particularly the way ideas travel across borders. Building on the work of Susanne M. Klausen (Klausen: 2004, 2015) the paper also analyses what Ann Laura Stoler (Stoler: 2004) has termed the ‘intimate domains’ of racialised rule.



Deborah Lee-Talbot (Deakin University)

Title: "'Our Sisters, who and where are they': Examining How Religiosity and Gender are Exhibited in Papers of Jane Chalmers Written on the Rarotonga Mission Sites, from 1866 to 1877"


During the late nineteenth century, the wives of London Missionary Society (LMS) members became integral actors within the evangelical movement. These women were considered by the LMS to be ‘helpmeets’ to their husbands as they sought to educate, medically treated and generally liaise with Indigenous populations. In 1867, the newly married couple, Jane and James Chalmers, travelled to Rarotonga in the South Pacific's Cook Islands as part of an evangelical mission. As Jane lived on this station for eleven years, she wrote multiple letters and reports for friends and publishers situated in New Zealand, Australia, Scotland and England. Jane’s representation of the Rarotonga branch of the evangelical movement offers an insight into the public and private lives of these ‘helpmeets’. Examining these documents through a critical feminist gaze illuminates how Jane worked to ‘save’ her Pacifika sisters from a ‘heathen’ life as women, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, interacted as active and agentic forces on the mission frontier. I discuss Jane Chalmers’ papers from Rarotonga as an illustration of a white woman’s religiosity and gender performance during the late nineteenth century. Furthermore, as widespread knowledge of her labour is largely hidden in LMS history and the archives, I add another level of complexity to this presentation as I also discuss her positionality within the Australian Joint Copying Project. Thereby arguing the replication of gendered and racialised knowledges from the nineteenth century into the present day has stalled the decolonisation and feminisation of Pacific knowledge for contemporary audiences.

Laura Loyola-Hernandez (School of Geography, University of Leeds)

Title: "Al Glitter de Guerra: Instagram Posts as Forms of Feminist Protest in Everyday Mexico"


From reclaiming public spaces to appropriating social media, women, transwomen and non-binary Mexicans are fighting back against a heteropatriarchy system that continues to perpetuate violence against them and their bodies. Mexican womxn have been fighting against feminicidios (killing of womxn) since the early 1990s by mobilising through NGOs, feminist collectives, art and marches. The international phrases #NiUnaMenos #NiUnaMas and pink crosses most associated with the killing and disappearance of womxn were first used in Mexico.


In recent years, feminist activists have expanded their tools to include social media, tattooing and vogue as political acts of resistance. On 16 of August, womxn took the internet and the streets in response to the vilification of the Mexican government of an earlier protest that demanded justice for a minor who was raped by four police officers in Mexico City. Some of the protesters threw pink glitter at Mexico City’s security chief, which sparked a Glitter Revolution across the country. Marches with womxn dancing, singing and transforming public spaces happened across the country. The hashtags #NoMeCuidanMeViolan (They don’t take care of me, they rape me) #MeCuidanMisAmigas (My friends take care of me) and #SeVaAcaer (It will fall) spread like wildfire, and were fundamental in organising. This paper explores Instagram posts as a form of feminist protest and resistance in times of everyday violence. It is based on interviews with feminist activists as well as an auto ethnography viewpoint as a feminist participant of these marches and movement. Finally, this paper also argues that digital activism allows those of us living away from our homeland to form transnational alliances, solidarity and resistance across continents. A more recent example of this is the feminist anthem of Las Tesis, the Chilean feminist collective, which has been reproduced across Latin America and Europe.

Marcia Mandiyanike (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

Title:  "Dissenting Voices in the Face of Oppression: The Rise of Social Movements in a Digital Age"


Despite being advanced democracies, South Africa and Botswana, both have regimes of truth perpetuated and sustained over time mainly by state-controlled media, South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and Botswana Department of Broadcasting Services (DBS), which are free to air, thus reaching a large fraction of the population (Lorenzini, 2015). While discourses of nationalist progress have been popularized as "official truths" by these state-controlled media over the years, certain silences have also been created around topical issues that are viewed as keeping women in “their place” of relative powerlessness; by an unwritten rule which seems to have catapulted men to the role of making decisions on matters that affect women in fundamental ways (Chege, 2012; Gallagher, 2001). However, the advent of Web 2.0 has ushered in social media platforms (particularly Twitter and Facebook) which are increasingly becoming platforms of activism and mobilization tools for protesters, thus challenging state protocol and servings as a voice for marginalized groups (Bosch, Wesserman & Chuma, 2018). This paper examines how different feminist actors have vanquished their "right to talk" to challenge these silences through the use of social media. The focus of the study is on the #aminext movement in South Africa and the #ishallnotforget movement in Botswana, challenging gender-based violence against women and girls. Both movements erupted on social media and consequently proved to be a powerful choir of dissenting voices that did not only challenge but silence regimes of truth which instigated the government to intervene on the protests. In the broader picture, this study through feminist discourse intends to contribute to conversations about the different actors and their different methods in challenging gendered oppression in the South African and Botswana media landscape.



Priscillah Machinga (International Studies Group, University of the Free State)


Title: "A Historical study of Ananyamuktua – Shona Midwives: Identity, Roles and Development, From the Eve of Colonial Rule to Twentieth-Century Zimbabwe"


Using the case of Shona people who resided in present day Mashonaland region of Zimbabwe, this paper explores the roles Ananyamukuta (indigenous midwives) played in facilitating birthing and subsequent processes in maternal and infant health care, from late precolonial time to the twentieth century. It grapples with issues of Ananyamukuta’s changing roles and identities in the face of an encounter between indigenous and Western knowledge systems owing to colonisation.  This paper argues that it is pertinent to study indigenous knowledge as a key component in understanding African medical history in Zimbabwe. Prior to colonisation, Africans in the country depended on their indigenous medical practices. With colonisation came Western medical practices and although some Africans initially resisted, gradually, the majority of them adopted the new medical practices. However, regardless of this adaptation, most Africans continued to use some of their indigenous medicine. In fact, that reality has persisted to date for various medical concerns including maternal and infant health. Although historians are increasingly paying attention to African medical history in Zimbabwe, they have largely tended to focus on African experiences in relation only to Western medicine, excluding indigenous medicine, which, however, is a crucial component of African medical experience. As part of a broader historical study in African maternal and infant health in twentieth century Zimbabwe, this paper departs from that exclusionist tendency and focuses on Ananyamukuta as custodians of indigenous maternal and infant health knowledge. The roles and identities of these women transitioned with changing historical epochs. They were regarded as important and respectable members of society prior to colonisation but their fortunes changed under colonial rule. Postcolonial interventions did little to salvage their situation. Nonetheless, some of them continued to operate. That process of historical transition preoccupies this paper.

Kundai Manamere (International Studies Group, University of the Free State)

Title: "Re-open Chigarapasi! Urban Belonging and Sex Work in Chiredzi, Zimbabwe"


Sex work has long been associated with immorality and this became a primary justification of keeping young women out of urban areas since the colonial period. Several scholars have examined the discrimination of African women in colonial towns and have shown how legislation forced them to resort to beer brewing and prostitution as livelihoods. Colonial authorities viewed single women as reservoirs of sexually transmitted infections and subjected them to gross medical examinations and police brutality as they tried to participate in male dominated colonial economies. Although with time, colonial authorities informally guaranteed women’s right to the city, by accommodating them in the formal economy, their participation was limited by cultural and gender considerations and most women continued with prostitution. Most African urban dwellers continued to regard prostitution as an immoral livelihood, and prostitutes as outcasts. In post-colonial towns, the decline of formal economies, paved the way for increased informal means of survival including prostitution. Using debates that ensued following the 2016 closure of Chigarapasi beerhall in Chiredzi, I examine how female sex workers successfully lobbied for the reopening of the beerhall a year after its closure. The same year, town authorities formally recognised the contribution of sex workers to the growth and development of the town by naming streets after women who plied the trade during the 1960s and 1970s and providing healthcare centres and support groups for those infected by sexually transmitted diseases. These developments demonstrate the influence that sex workers now have in determining the allocation of urban spaces and infrastructure in Zimbabwe. They illustrate how prostitution has moved from the periphery as an alternative livelihood in a formal economy, to the centre, where it now determines the survival of other informal forms of livelihoods such as vending, and other formal means like real estate, political posts and retail in urban areas. Consequently, prostitution has become socially acceptable as a form of work and sex workers have claimed their place in urban development.


Ivo Mhike (Univeristy of Zimbabwe / International Studies Group, University of the Free State)


Title: "'A Career for Our Girls': Domestic Science Education in Rhodesia Schools, 1930s-1960s"


For four decades, Rhodesian white women’s organisations and women activists led the debate and advocacy on the introduction of Domestic Science as a compulsory subject for white girls in schools. Women’s organisations were critical opinion leaders in socio-cultural matters within the British empire. In 1930s Rhodesia, these organisations rode on Premier Godfrey Huggins’s educational reforms which championed skills training, in their attempt to acculturate white girls in domesticity at an early age through teachings in Cooking and Planning Meals, Household Budgets and Marketing, Child and Husband Care and Psychology, Home Nursing, Dressmaking. In order to make Domestic Science “a career for… girls,” women’s organisations directly lobbied parliament, influenced public opinion through women’s magazines and courted Rhodesian educationists at women’s fora. However, Rhodesian society was becoming less receptive to ideas of domesticity (domestic science) as a career for women (as opposed to other sciences) in the 1940s as it had been a decade earlier. Significantly, the patriarchal colonial state was also adamant to commit itself to entrenching such conservative views. The paper traces the domestic science debate to begin thinking about the history of women’s movements and white girlhood in Rhodesia. It highlights the role of women’s organisations in the construction of white femininity and the socio-cultural tensions within Rhodesian white society in the mid-twentieth century as it grappled with World War II-induced raptures and other influences. The paper also refracts on the changing positions and roles women’s organisations in relation to other social players in influencing Rhodesian social discourse.

Victor H. Mlambo (Department of Public Administration, University of Zululand)


Title: "Child Marriages and their Developmental Implications: The Conundrum Facing Young Women and Girls in Sub-Saharan Africa"


Child marriages in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and around the world have been associated with enormous complications, especially relating to the developmental potential of young girls within society. SSA is confronted with the issue of child marriages and seemingly with governments failing to clamp down on the practice, child marriages have continued to manifest themselves, especially in deep rural areas where traditional believes are still rife. The study used a qualitative research method were the systematic review of the literature relating to child marriages and their implications was undertaken, apart from an extensive literature search, the study utilized thematic content analysis to deduce its findings with the hope of bringing in more meaning to the overall content of the paper. The literature pointed out that poverty, inequality and a slow government response contributes to increased child marriages, Furthermore, the failure to develop, implement and enforce policies is another major contributing factor. Thematic content analysis was used to identify analyse, and report patterns of themes that emerged from the data analysis. The implications of child marriage include early school dropout, early pregnancy and the increased possibility of domestic violence. The study concludes that better access to support services and education is key in ensuring the governments in SSA are able to better position themselves in dealing with child marriages in the region.

Kutlwano Mokgwathi (Ohio University)

Title: "Situating Southern African Masculinities: A Multimodal Thematic Analysis of the Construction of Rape Culture and Cultured Violence in the digital age of #MenAreTrash & #AmINext?"


The #MenAreTrash and #AmINext? social media campaigns were created by women in South Africa to give voice to the rising femicide rates and cases of gender-based violence. The aim of this study using Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) of the hashtags #MenAreTrash and #AmINext is to explore the discursive practices of active public discourse, active in that every day there are developing stories of violence perpetrated against women. This study also focuses on the documentary film The People vs. Patriarchy which debuted in 2018. This project assesses the hashtags’ purposes and progressions toward advocating for societal change. With the advent of social media, gendered public discourses are readily available for study. Debates and discussions are no longer confined to private spaces, women are utilizing Twitter to communicate with each other, creating communities and resisting patriarchal norms on multiple platforms. The methodology includes critical discourse analysis (CDA) of #MenAreTrash and #AmINext? in order to investigate social activism movements’ through Tweets and Hashtags related to gender disparities, violence, and alarming femicide rates. Feminist methodologies are modes of decolonized inquiry and data collection, with technology the possibilities of research have and continue to grow. This project argues that #MenAreTrash and #AmINext? campaigns are resistant measures set as counter-narratives to the normative patriarchal system set in place in South Africa. Women as individuals are collectively creating a space on social networking sites to critique societal norms and cis-heteronormative cultures. Twitter gives agency to women across South Africa and growingly around the world as they participate in discussions that concern politics, socio-economic disparities, and violence as they take an unapologetic stance declaring that #MenAreTrash while defiantly asking #AmINext? 

Kamogelo Molobye (University of the Witwatersrand)

Title: "Black Queer Feminism and the Questioning of Being and Belonging"


This paper seeks to interrogate the ways in black queer men position themselves within the school of feminism through asking the question: How have queer theory and feminism theory existed historically, and how does queer theory align itself with feminist theory in dismantling and challenging the societal constructs, which are perceived as normal due to heteronormativity? The intention is to prod at the so-called stable categorisation of "men" and "women," "masculine" and "feminine," and the constructs that afford one power and dominance over the other, while at the same time nuancing and complicating these historically gendered categorisations that assert difference in order to perpetuate said difference. 

Jessica Ott (Johns Hopkins University)

Title: "Umoja: A feminist discourse of relational personhood in post-socialist Zanzibar"


The Zanzibar Revolution of 1964 was described in post-revolution propagandist newspapers as having liberated women, in part as a way of obliging women to participate in nation building. This explanation of the revolution as having liberated women overshadows women’s pre-revolution political involvement, just as the government’s efforts to engage women in nation building reflects its orientation toward women as the subjects rather than the objects of development. Relying on archival newspapers and life history interviews, this paper explores the meaning of the post-revolution government’s representations of women as “at the front lines” of building and developing the nation. While Zanzibar’s nationalist movement has often been conflated with mainland Tanzania’s, this paper argues that the archipelago’s post-revolution government projected a distinct state feminist discourse that was influenced by its separate relationships with Eastern bloc countries like the Soviet Union and the German Democratic Republic. The leaders of Zanzibar’s ruling party women’s wing visited sister communist women’s organizations in China, the Soviet Union, and the German Democratic Republic, returning home to fuel the public imaginary with stories of women working in factories and joining the army. The state press similarly promoted a nationalist role for women that was influenced by the archipelago’s relationship with Eastern bloc nations. However, even as it projected a discourse of women as at the helm of nation building and development, the government was by most measures autocratic and repressive, which complicates how Zanzibaris recall the archipelago’s state feminist history. Since the late 1990s, Zanzibari women’s rights activists have appropriated the historical language and imagery of women as building and developing the nation, which has more often reflected their negotiation of historical memory than it has reflected an endorsement of Zanzibar’s state feminist past. This paper insists that memory should be a central analytic in explorations of contemporary women’s rights.

Rosalind Parr (University of St Andrews)

Title: "'We should and must do this work ourselves': The All-India Women's Conference and the Decolonisation of International Feminism, 1927-1947"


In 1927, the All-India Women’s Conference (AIWC) was formed with the goal of establishing educational opportunities for women but quickly expanded its remit to include campaigns on child marriage, women’s health, and female suffrage. Originally envisaged as a reforming organisation that self-consciously remained ‘neutral’ on political questions, the AIWC had, by 1933, taken on a stronger anti-colonial character, with leaders asserting their right to self-determination and rebuffing the interference of British feminists. In the late 1940s, prominent AIWC figures were at the forefront of attempts by the newly independent Indian state to push an anti-colonial agenda at the United Nations.


Sunita Purty (Advanced Centre for Women's Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences)


Title: "Tribal Women's Resistance against State Repression: A Study of Jharkhand State, India"



The state plays a dominant and oppressive role towards tribal and other downtrodden masses either through police terror, military or internalised repression or else through trickery and illusion (Turner, 2008). The role of the state is strengthening patriarchal values through different state apparatus such as government, judiciary, police, and force. Instead of safeguarding people’s interests and rights, the state has been marginalising tribal people's rights by excluding them from native lands. As result in the last few years, Jharkhand has been a strong upsurge of tribal and people resistance movements against these injustices. Tribal women are one of the main catalytic agents of these resistance movements. They are holding up banners, shouting slogans, and are in the frontline in protesting against the corporate dominated mal-development and trade liberalisation. Rowbotham(1992) says throughout the world there are many women’s movements and organisations that are struggling for identity, equality, and basic human rights.


The aim of this paper is to know tribal women’s participation and their understanding of different resistance movements of Jharkhand state on the ground of ‘lived experience’. Further, this paper will analyse the women activists understanding how state apparatus are violating the tribal people rights.The history of tribal struggles in India are around 250 years old, in the first instances fought by tribal peoples to resist the imperial interests of the British when they invaded India in the eighteenth century. The fact is that all the tribal post-colonial movements were male-oriented leadership position. Paradoxically, in contemporary movements can be seen as gender-oriented, where women are leading the movement along with the activist role.



Stephanie Quinn (International Studies Group, University of the Free State)


Title: "'Inburgering,' Clandestine Citizenship, and Gendered Reproduction Across the Compound-Location Line in Walvis Bay, Namibia, Under South African Rule, 1959-1994"



During South African rule in Namibia, colonial officials in the former South West Africa carved out a zone of male migrant labor recruitment protected from the Witwatersrand Native Labor Association in the northern third of SWA and southern Angola. During apartheid, colonial officials sought to preserve this system by confining northern migrant labourers working in towns to closed compounds, isolated from location life. Locations, officially, were reserved for Africans based in the central and southern area of colonial settlement, the Police Zone, but also for families and reproduction.​​


This paper examines how official distinctions between Police Zone residents and northern migrant labourers—Africans with access to family life and those who were denied it—broke down in the port town of Walvis Bay. All black Africans living in Namibia under South African rule were denied political rights of citizenship. Yet urban African men and women carved out a sphere of citizenship unrecognised by the colonial state but nevertheless associated with important benefits and entitlements. Women with ‘permanent residence’ in the location charged admission for illegal house parties, where they sold homebrewed beer, food, and space to dance, to raise money to marry. Northern contract labourers sold grilled meat and homebrewed tombo in the space between the compound and the fishing factories on weekends to support one another and loved ones. Contrasting business plans and clienteles had to do with the hosts’ gender as well as contrasting reproductive policies toward Africans in different official labor categories. Officials claimed they were preventing Africans from ‘inburgering’ (‘settling’). As officials grappled with Africans’ concealed and not so concealed claims to the means of social reproduction, the sale of alcohol, meat, and sociality emerged sparked debate among Africans about the relationship between citizenship (or burgerskap) and access to the necessities of family and community life.


Ibrahim O. Salawu (Department of Politics and Governance, Kwara State University)


Title: "A Political Economy Approach to Understanding the Scourge of Girl Child Trafficking in Lagos State, Nigeria"



The scourge of girl child trafficking remains as ever extremely harmful as trafficked children are exposed to diverse form of abuse. Effort to purge Nigeria of this menace remains herculean. The situation is further pronounced in Lagos State which is unarguably Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre. Specifically, this study seeks to examine the socio-economic implication of girl child trafficking in Lagos State and decipher the extent to which national policies and laws have been implemented in curbing the illicit activities.  Using systematic random sampling method, data for the study were obtained from 100 respondents who are staff of Domestic Sexual Response Violence Team (DSRVT) spread across the state under the auspices of the Ministry of Labour and Productivity. The ministry is statutorily charged with the responsibility of curbing child related crimes and trafficked children. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse the data. The study revealed that trafficked children remain abound in Lagos State as a result of persistent influx from other states. The age range is between 12 and 18 years above and are mostly females. It was discovered that force / coercion, trickery and oath taking were the commonest methods used in girl child trafficking. Forced labour and prostitution were the major purposes for which girl child trafficking persists in Lagos state. Poverty, economic gains, ignorance and insufficient and ineffective penalties against traffickers were factors enhancing girl child trafficking in the study area. The study recommended, among other suggestions, investment in human capital, massive public enlightenment campaigns, severe penalties and removal of constraints hindering prosecution of traffickers.



Unaludo Sechele (International Studies Group, University of the Free State)


Title: "The Return of Husbands: Of Male Labour Returnees and Women in Botswana, c.1970 to the present"



This study seeks to analyse the shifting positions and responsibilities on Botswana society that occur when husbands returned to their families permanently after a period of labour migration. Being a patriarchal society, the protracted absence and subsequent return of ‘husbands’ has impact on the configuration of communities as well as the division of labour in Botswana. In most cases when husbands were absent, in most cases wives became family heads. This involved adopting responsibilities normally reserved for the husband in patriarchal societies. In some cases, the husband was absent for decades, which consequently meant the woman raised children, and developed the homestead alone. In articulating these nuances, the study will examine the factors influencing the return of the labour migrants including retirement due to old age, illness, and the desire to be part of raising a family personally. This study, therefore, examines ways in which women react and hand back the responsibilities they had for years over to the husbands. It elucidates the impact of the return of long- term labour migrants (husbands) on women’s position in the family and society. It will examine how women’s decision-making powers are affected by the presence of the returned husband, assess which rights and responsibilities women had to give up due to the return of the husband. It will also analyse the transition of women from being single parents to accommodating their husbands after they return home and lastly investigate the power relations between a migrant husband and the stay-at-home wife.



Ana Stevenson (James Cook University / International Studies Group, University of the Free State)


Title: "The Black Sash, the Origins of Womandla!, and the End of Apartheid: Race-Based Analogies in Transnational Feminist Thought"

Liesl Theron (Independent Scholar) and Julius K. Kaggwa (SIPD Uganda)

Title: "Trans and Intersex History Line in Africa: A Focus on Southern and Eastern Africa"


LGBTIQ history has remained largely silent about African trans and intersex people, with the exception of scandalized depictions of trans women who are, according to the media in many African countries, only viewed as ‘female imposters’ committing fraud or reduced to a spectacle to be humored. Several scholars have endeavored to build a canon of knowledge on the existence of homosexuality, same-sex relations and gender nonconformity in a pre-colonial time, throughout Africa.


This paper aims to bring voice to trans and intersex histories, accomplishments by individuals and organizations. The collection of data is an ongoing process the two co-authors embarked on to ensure these stories are told authentically by African trans and intersex activists. There is great opportunity to draw on connections made at this conference between scholars from the Global South and Global North to carry forward the preservation of a rich trans and intersex historical canon, led by Global South voices.


The long term working relationship between Liesl Theron and Julius Kaggwa developed in 2008 and superseded organizational alliance, geographical location and is a result of an activist relationship and fond friendship that crisscross “the personal becomes the political”. Theron and Kaggwa, the two founders of respectively the Support Initiative for People with atypical sex Development, Uganda and Gender DynamiX, South Africa were on a pursuit for several years to find a home to publish their collection of African trans and intersex history. Our timeline is one of contemporary history with its first entry being 1980 and weave through the 2000’s with all the founding dates of the early trans and intersex organizations, individuals accomplishments in sport, art, music and other private domains as well as passionate contributions towards positive change for trans and intersex struggles on the continent. 

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