Call for ABSTRACTS for 2017 AGENDA Journal

Agenda

THE GENDER EQUALITY DISCOURSE OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS AND OTHER INSTRUMENTS FOR GENDER EQUALITY : HOW FAR CAN SUCH INSTRUMENTS PUSH FEMINIST AGENDAS IN AFRICA FORWARD

 

Contributors are invited to write on the topic above from either a research or an activism perspective. Abstracts and contributions must be written in English and in a style accessible to a wide audience.  Please submit abstracts to louhaysom@mweb.co.za or admin@agenda.org.za. The deadline is 15th August 2017.

ABOUT AGENDA

Agenda has been at the forefront of feminist publishing in South Africa for the past 30 years and raises debate around women’s rights and gender issues. The journal is designed to promote critical thinking and debate and aims to strengthen the capacity of both men and women to challenge gender discrimination and injustice. The Agenda journal is an IBSS/SAPSE accredited and peer reviewed journal. You can visit the website to listen to check out past issues, listen to podcasts, or watch the web documentaries.

 

ABOUT SAT (Southern African AIDS Trust)

SAT is an innovative organization with a regional footprint contributing to improved systems for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of girls, adolescents and women in Southern Africa. We work to empower girls, adolescents and women to participate in inclusive and equitable systems for health at local, national and regional levels. SAT is inspired by its values and vision of a world in which resilient communities across Southern Africa enjoy good health and wellbeing free from stigma and discrimination. The ultimate goal is to contribute to improved health and well-being of girls, adolescents and young women in more equitable and inclusive systems for health.

 

GUEST EDITORS:  Vicci Tallis and Claire Mathonsi

Conceptual Rationale:

This edition of AGENDA seeks to interrogate the best way for us to impact on the lives of women and girls in Africa – thinking about feminist activism, women’s movements and advocacy on specific rights that may or may not be contained in international and Regional instruments. It also aims to interrogate ways to shift both thinking and action on gender equality and ensuring women’s rights.

At a global level the imperative for reaching gender equality is entrenched and driven by the Sustainable Development Goals (5 and to some extent 3 and 4), launched in 2015 as a follow on from the MGD’s. The goal of SDG 5 is to chieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030. Government commitments (often driven by the promise or availability of resources) often pay lip service to the attainment of the SDG’s which highlight nine key areas and set targets that will “end” gender inequality:

  • End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere
  • Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation
  • Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation
  • Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate
  • Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making in political, economic and public life
  • Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences
  • Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws
  • Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women
  • Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels

Africa has her own vision of gender equality Agenda 2063 – “the Africa we want to be” and other instruments such as the Maputo Plan of Action on SRHR – which is seen as very progressive. The contradiction is that the Africa Bloc often pushes a more conservative agenda at a global level – highlighting the shrinking space for civil society in general and for women’s rights and gender specifically.

Feminists have long argued against the de-politising of “gender” which has become more and more technical and less about the power dynamics that drive the oppression of women. How then do we as movements use the SDG’s and other “technical” instruments to forward our struggles? This edition will explore the discourse of SDG’s and gender equality and examine how far such instruments can push our agendas forward:

  • Measuring African commitments against the SDGs.  Identifying progressive instruments that take us further than the SDGs.
  • What are the experiences of African feminists in processes such as Commision on the Status of Women? Can we revolutionise and change such spaces?
  • With a background of some progressive legislation why does the Africa Group push a more conservative agenda at global level.  What are the sticking points and how do we address these?
  • Is there currently a shrinking space for civil society especially around Women’s Rights & Gender – how can we increase agency and voice?
  • Does gender discourse really speak to women’s realities (in all our diversity) and does it provide solutions that will fundamentaly impact? Is gender equality feminist?
  • How do we, or do we need to rejuvenate the women’s movement? How do/have young women fit into that? What is our role in gender equality discourse and action
  • What, if anything, did the MDGs do for women’s rights, women’s lives and gender equality? Did this as a Northern agenda really tackle the issues of women in the South?
  • Maputo Plan of Action on SRHR – is it a feminist agenda? How do we deal with instruments being watered down at regional and country levels.
  • What are the views and actions of African post-modern / post colonial feminist thinkers?
  • Links to activism from other regions – how can we build global solidarity around global targets?

* Contributions are accepted in any form, prose (both theoretical and practical), poetry, narrative, interviews, and visual arts. Submission guideline and further information is below.

 

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Ga Rankuwa (photo from AGENDA)

Submission Guidelines 

The following guidelines are intended to assist authors in preparing their contributions.

General

Agenda invites contributions from feminist and gender scholars, activists, researchers, policy makers, professionals, educators, community workers, students and members of women’s organizations and organizations interested in and concerned with gender issues.

Submissions should contribute to developing new thinking and fresh debate on women’s rights and gender equality in Africa and other developing countries.

Writers need to:

  • Write in an accessible and understandable style;
  • Inform, educate or raise debate;
  • Try to pin down reasons for contradictions and point out differences of opinion;
  • Provide an analysis and an argument;
  • Be logical;
  • Be sensitive to but not uncritical of how gender, class and race affect the reporting of an event;
  • Ensure the introduction encapsulates the contents of the piece and that it attracts the reader’s attention by either making a controversial statement, providing a thought-provoking or new insight into the subject;
  • Utilize a gender or feminist lens.

We publish articles in various formats, which range from 6,000 words for more theorized articles, which form the main reference pieces in an issue, to shorter pieces with a minimum of 1,500 words.

Formats of Contributions

  • Article (6 000 words max) should be based on new research and contain analysis and argument.
  • Briefing is an adaptable format for writers to write on a wide range of subjects (2 500 – 4 000 words)
  • Focus examines an aspect of a chosen theme in detail (4 500 words max)
  • Profile looks in detail at an organisation, project or legislation, or a person (2 500 – 3 500 words)
  • Report-back covers reports on meetings, conferences workshops etc
  • (1 500 – 4 000 words)
  • Review typically reviews books or films (1 500 – 3 000 words)
  • Interview can record a conversation among a group of people or a one-on-one interview in which the writer asks the interviewee/s questions on a subject (1 500 – 3 000 words)
  • Open Forum is a vehicle for debate and argument, or pieces which deal with argument and difference of opinion on a subject/issue (2 500 – 4 000 words)
  • Perspective is an adaptable format in which writers are able to use a more personal reflective, narrative style (1 500 – 3 000 words)

Contributions should be submitted in the following format:

File type:         Microsoft Word

Font:                Arial

Size:                 10 pt

Line spacing:   single

Justification:    left

Referencing:   Harvard style

ALL submissions should have the following:

Abstract:          200 – 300 words

Keywords:        approx 5 keywords

Bio:                  100 – word author biography, including email address

Bio picture:     head-and-shoulders photo in 300 dpi jpeg format

Contributors are encouraged to provide photos and/or graphics to illustrate their submission

Selection and Editing Process

All submissions are peer reviewed. Articles, briefing and focus pieces go through a double blind peer review process, while all other contributions are reviewed by at least one member of Agenda’s Editorial Advisory Group.

Reviewers comment on the suitability of a text for publication in the Agenda journal, as well as provide comments to help develop the piece further for publication if required. Contributors will be asked to rework the paper accordingly.

On resubmission, the piece will be assessed by the Agenda editor and a final decision made regarding its publication in the journal.

Please note that Agenda reserves the right to edit contributions with regard to length and accessibility or reject contributions that are not suitable or of poor standard.

Agenda also invites the submission of poems on the topic of women’s rights and gender.

Please note, as per Agenda’s policy, writers who have published in the journal within the last two years

WILL NOT BE ALLOWED to publish – to allow new writers to publish in Agenda.

 

Agenda Feminist Media Sec. 21 Company

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Room E302, Diakonia Centre, 20 Diakonia Ave, Durban, 4001 / Postal: P O Box 61163, Bishopsgate, 4008

Telephone: +27 (0)31 304 7001/2/3 : Fax: +27 (0)31 304 7018 : Website: www.agenda.org.za

 

Board Members: Janine L Hicks (Chair), Dr Barbara Boswell, Adv. Devina Perumal, Prof Grace A. Musila, Lee Stone, Asha Moodley (EAC), Prof. Relebohile Moletsane (EAC).

#Afems2017 Programme & Speakers

 

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For those of our followers who have been biding their time for the programme to the ‘Six Mountains on her Back’ : (Re)thinking African Feminisms Colloquium at Rhodes University of 21 and 22 July 2017, wait no longer. 

You can get the programme by clicking here: Afems programme_final_prin

 

 

 

 

 

Activities include a poetry session, exhibition, book launch, and panel with our special guests: Pumla Dineo Gqola, Betty Govendin, Neelika Jayawardene, Siphokazi Jonas, Yvette Abrahams, and Sharlene Khan.

But, wait, there’s more…

 

The Afems team looks forward to seeing you all at the event!

Registration: ‘Six Mountains on her Back’ Colloquium 2017

Afems Logo

The AFems2017 team is pleased to announce that you may now register for the event online by filling out this Afems Registration form.

While there is no registration fee, we would like to get a rough idea of the number of people planning to attend, together with any special considerations for those with disabilities. The programme will be posted shortly and we will keep you updated on any additional information. 

Postcolonial Afterlives & the Gendering of Empire: The Franco-African Experience

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The final paper in our African Feminisms series entitled “Postcolonial Afterlives & the Gendering of Empire: The Franco-African Experience” will be presented by Claire Griffiths on 04 May at the LHRI Seminar Room 1 (5pm).

Entrance is free and admission is open to all.

Abstract

This paper draws on evidence from the former French African Empire to argue that the struggle to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and girls in the former French African colonies has travelled a circuitous, even circular, path between the late 19th and the early 21st centuries, and that these regions are still confronting obstacles laid down a century ago. Starting from an understanding of the structures on which differentiation on the grounds of gender were embedded in the French imperial project, the paper moves on to the interwar period to highlight a uniquely radical moment in French colonial gender policy in Africa inspired by the coming to power of the French Popular front. When the regime fell on the eve of World War 2, the policy were buried. The paper compares the aspirations of a pre-war colonial regime with a postcolonial international development agenda and asks the question where has ‘progress’ been made? The paper draws on new data on the 2030 sustainable development goals for gender from countries in  west and central Africa which self-define as ‘francophone’, and from previously published work by notably Globalizing the Postcolony (Lexington 2011) which focuses on the millennium development goals in these countries La Famille en AOF: Condition de la femme (Harmattan, 2007), which explores the aspirations of the Popular front government’s gender policy for Africa in the 1930s.

About Claire Griffiths

Claire_H_GriffithsClaire Griffiths’ research in and on Francophone Africa during the postcolonial era began in Morocco where her work focused on political definitions and policy responses to development in relation to gender. Over the course of the next decade she completed several periods of research and writing in Senegal, Gabon, among other former French colonies in North and West Africa, while teaching in the French Department and researching at the WISE institute for the study of slavery and emancipation at the University  of Hull. She moved from Hull to Chester in 2009, where she served as head of Modern Languages for six years before taking on her present role as university chair in area studies. She is the author of Globalizing the Postcolony: contesting discourses of development and gender in Francophone Africa (Lexington Books 2011) and a number of books and articles in French and English on aspects of colonial and postcolonial politics, culture, discourse and gender policy in the French-speaking areas of Africa.  Her most recent project, Challenging Discourses of Development is focusing on cultural responses in and from francophone Africa to the challenges confronting postcolonial nations in this region of the world.

Contact Prof. C H Griffiths, University of Chester, c.griffiths@chester.ac.uk

Yvette Greslé in conversation with Standard Bank Young Artist Visual Arts 2015 winner, Kemang Wa Lehulere

Yvette Greslé introduces Kemang Wa Lehulere’s exhibition

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Recorded conversations or interviews with artists are an important aspect of my research on South African contemporary art. I focus on how artists grapple with history and memory through the particularities of their practice. This conversation with Kemang Wa Lehulere, which forms part of my research archive, took place on 23 September 2015 at the Gasworks in London where Wa Lehulere’s solo exhibition Sincerely yours, was then taking place (24 September-8 November 2015).

The exhibition imagined an encounter between the artist and the South African intellectual Sol Plaatje (1976-1932). Plaatje was the first secretary-general of the South African Native National Congress (SANNC), which was formed in 1912 and became the African National Congress (ANC). The Land Act (1913), which anticipated apartheid, restricted the rights of African people to freely occupy and own land and was opposed by the SANNC. Plaatje, together with a deputation, travelled to England to appeal it without success, and he remained there until 1917 writing, lecturing and working as a language assistant at London University. Plaatje wrote three books while in England including Native Life in South Africa (1917) which focuses on the Land Act, its impact and the resistance to it.

Sol Plaatje, author of Native Life in South Africa and Mhudi

In Wa Lehulere’s exhibition, at the Gasworks in London, I look into worn, old-fashioned suitcases and see green grass and earth. I feel the uneasy sensations of displacement, exile, migration and the desire to belong. I experience the disorientation of dreams, and their associated re-arrangement of the relations between objects, places and human and non-human animals. Mass produced porcelain dogs, guard the suitcases of lawn or perhaps they are waiting for something or someone. It is not clear whether this waiting, which I imagine allegorically, is marked by benevolence or threat. I imagine historical, social and political waiting. Who is waiting and what for? Wa Lehulere transforms the statues, which function, in my imagination, as theatrical props, through paint, visual juxtapositions or performance. One was smashed to pieces in a live performance. The head of another is separated from its body, it lies on its side, watched by three others, their bodies intact.

South African historical and archival practices, formulated in resistance to the apartheid state, seek out and document histories and narratives omitted from grand narratives and official accounts. Historical processes and methods are continuously subject to contestation. A major philosophical and ethical question, threaded across South African historical work and visual production, relates to the politics and ethics of representation: who speaks for whom; how does this speaking take place; where does it take place and for whom? I speak as a historical, social and political subject classified white in apartheid South Africa. This informs my relationship to the present, and my conversations and social and intellectual encounters with subjects whose histories are differently constituted. I am prompted to engage actively in history as living matter that affects and touches me in ways that are not necessarily predictable and that always produce questions and emotions of an existential nature.

At the Gasworks, London, in 2015, Wa Lehulere and I spoke about the forms that education took in apartheid South Africa. This dialogue was initiated by the old-fashioned, wooden school desks disassembled and re-arranged into new configurations within the exhibition space. The surfaces of the desks carry the traces of the anonymous learners who once sat at them (names, dates, messages and images are scratched into the wood). Structures that invoke blackboards are suspended on the walls of the gallery. These are inscribed with images, musical notation, and lettering in white chalk, some of it smudged out. In one of Wa Lehulere’s wall installations, a chalked falling man is an ephemeral memorial to the South African journalist and writer Nathaniel “Nat” Ndazana Nakasa (1937-1965); exiled from South Africa in 1964, he fell to his death from a high-rise building in 1965. In 2013 Wa Lehulere visited Nakasa’s grave in Ferncliff cemetery in New York, staging a private performance there. Nakasa’s remains were repatriated to South Africa in August 2014. Fragments, given material form in Wa Lehulere’s work, speak to unfinished stories and experiences that may be private, unseen, unvoiced and unwritten.

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At this historical and political juncture in South Africa, as students demonstrate for free and decolonised education in universities across the country, this conversation with Wa Lehulere, has particular significance. It speaks to the particular capacities of art to elicit knowledge about the meaning and memory of apartheid, its sustained project of racial violence, and its brutality made ordinary and banal. It brings the political capacities of memory into the contemporary moment as South African students, particularly those with an immediate historical and cross-generational relationship to racism and violence, articulate the limitations of democracy in the decades after the official transition from apartheid in 1994.

Through conversation with Wa Lehulere, I was invited into a personal space of memory and resistance. It taught me about the presence of individual agency in historical conditions of extreme violence. It also taught me about the creative possibilities and personal transformations possible in the feelings and sensations that live on in historical and political anger.

In conversation with Wa Lehulere

Yvette Greslé: What is the impetus for your interest in the idea of history?

Kemang Wa Lehulere: I like this phrase from James Joyce’s Ulysses: “History … is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake”. History can be a nightmare but there can also be pleasant histories. I don’t think all history should be devastating and traumatic and about violence. There can also be histories of love. These are things that I’m beginning to think about in terms of going forward with my work. Initially, my interest in history came from personal experiences. One of my aunts had this obsession with recording events with VHS cassettes and she still has all these recordings – a huge amount of tapes. She recorded things on the news that she deemed historical. For lack of a better word she was creating an archive with VHS tapes. Of course, as a kid, I saw her doing this and sometimes I would be involved in the act of recording. She would sometimes leave me responsible for the recordings, and I would change the tapes when they finished, and press record. At the time, I was a teenager. I didn’t understand what it was she was doing conceptually. Over time, I went to high school and we only had two years of history, which made me terribly sad. In fact, I considered changing schools because my high school only did history in what is now grade 8 and grade 9. I wanted to continue but I couldn’t. I had to go out and find history myself but this wasn’t part of a curriculum. I had these questions: “Why stop history? What kind of school is this?”

YG: What do you think made you so compelled by history, and the desire to engage it?

 KWL: Partly my aunt and her recordings. For example, I remember that when Oliver Tambo died my aunt made it a point to record the funeral event, which was broadcast on TV. She recorded this and Mandela coming out of Robben Island. She recorded these events and also fragments from the news. This was before the Internet and the storing of information online in an accessible way. There was this constant process of recording. I had a neighbour who was a dancer and watched all these political films. He’s older than me probably by ten years or more. He lives here in England. He is a choreographer now. When I was about nine or ten I would go and sit with him at his house and watch these films. The films had a big impact on me and, as a kid, I had all these questions.

I would go to my mother and ask her questions about race politics and race history – “Why this? Why that?” – Kemang Wa Lehulere

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