Surfacing

On being black and feminist in South Africa
Editor(s): ,
Contributor(s): , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
  • Publication Date: April 2021
  • Dimensions and Pages: 234 x 156mm Extent: 328 pp; 15 Illustrations, black & white
  • Paperback EAN: 978-1-77614-609-3
  • eBook EAN: 978-1-77614-611-6
  • PDF EAN: 978-1-77614-610-9
  • Rights: World
  • Recommended Price (ZAR): 350.00
  • Recommended Price (USD): 35.00

Decolonial feminism in practice and in its finest representation, this is a much-needed
addition to the library of materials on Black Feminism in a global context. Surfacing. On Being
Black and Feminist in South Africa moves us rapidly out of the norm that privileges work
that comes out from the West often with the justification that it is difficult to find available
material. Teaching, studying, and writing about Black Feminist Theories remains incomplete
without the intellectual contributions of Black women in diverse locations. Here are the
voices of Black Feminists from Southern Africa who cover all topics from being Black lesbian
and feminist to living life as a Black radical feminist, to the challenges of writing feminist
biography and much more.
— Carole Boyce-Davies, author of Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Feminist Claudia Jones and is a professor in Africana Studies and Literatures in English at Cornell University

A beautiful book that brings together some of South Africa’s finest, most innovative writers
working across a multitude of forms. Here, the personal essay and artistic reflection, the
conversational interview and research paper, all work to engage complex questions around
creativity, race, feminism, agency and history with depth, care, daring, provocation, wit and
intellectual rigour. Surfacing promises to be treasured as much for its brilliant engagements and insights, as for the wonderful connectivity and solidarity it makes space for.
— Nadia Davids, Author

 

What do African feminist traditions that exist outside the canon look and feel like? What complex cultural logics are at work outside the centres of power? How do spirituality and feminism influence each other? What are the histories and experiences of queer Africans? What imaginative forms can feminist activism take?
Surfacing: On Being Black and Feminist in South Africa is the first collection of essays dedicated to contemporary Black South African feminist perspectives. Leading feminist theorist, Desiree Lewis, and poet and feminist scholar, Gabeba Baderoon, have curated contributions by some of the finest writers and thought leaders. Radical polemic sits side by side with personal essays, and critical theory coexists with rich and stirring life histories. By including writings by Patricia McFadden, Panashe Chigumadzi, Sisonke Msimang, Zukiswa Wanner, Yewande Omotoso, Zoë Wicomb and Pumla Dineo Gqola alongside emerging thinkers, activists and creative practitioners, the collection demonstrates a dazzling range of feminist voices.
The writers in these pages use creative expression, photography and poetry in eclectic, interdisciplinary ways to unearth and interrogate representations of Blackness, sexuality, girlhood, history, divinity, and other themes. Surfacing is indispensable to anyone interested in feminism from Africa, which its contributors show in vivid and challenging conversation with the rest of the world. It will appeal to a diverse audience of students, activists, critical thinkers, academics and artists.

Introduction: Being Black and Feminist – Desiree Lewis and Gabeba Baderoon

Chapter 1 Winnie Mandela and the Archive: Reflections on Feminist Biography – Sisonke Msimang
Chapter 2 Representing Sara Baartman in the New Millennium – Zoë Wicomb and Desiree Lewis

PART I UNMAKING
Chapter 3 a playful but also very serious love letter to gabrielle goliath – Pumla Dineo Gqola
Chapter 4 Teaching Black, Teaching Gender, Teaching Feminism – Mary Hames
Chapter 5 Querying the Queer – gertrude fester-wicomb
Chapter 6 South African Feminists in Search of the Sacred – Fatima Seedat
Chapter 7 ‘Who Do You Think You Are to Speak to Me Like That?’ – jackï job
Chapter 8 Refining Islamic Feminisms: Gender, Subjectivity and the Divine Feminine – Sa’diyya Shaikh
Chapter 9 Black Lesbian Feminist Thoughts of a Born Queer – Zethu Matebeni
Chapter 10 Conversations about Photography with Keorapetse Mosimane, Thania Petersen and Tshepiso Mazibuko – Ingrid Masondo

PART II POSITIONING
Chapter 11 What We Make to Unmake: The Imagination in Feminist Struggles – Yewande Omotoso
Chapter 12 Breathing Under Water – Danai S. Mupotsa
Chapter 13 ‘Do I Make You Uncomfortable?’ Writing, Editing and Publishing Black in a White Industry – Zukiswa Wanner
Chapter 14 Echoes of Miriam Tlali – Barbara Boswell
Chapter 15 My Two Husbands – Grace A. Musila
Chapter 16 Hearing the Silence – Panashe Chigumadzi

PART III REMAKING
Chapter 17 Thinking through Transnational Feminist Solidarities – Leigh-Ann Naidoo
Chapter 18 The Music of My Orgasm – Makhosazana Xaba
Chapter 19 Bringing Water to Krotoa’s Gardens: Decolonisation as Direct Action – Yvette Abrahams
Chapter 20 Living a Radical African Feminist Life: A Journey to Sufficiency Through Contemporarity – Patricia McFadden
Notes
Contributors
Acknowledgements
Permission credits
Index

About the Editors
Desiree Lewis is Professor in the Department of Women and Gender Studies at the University of the Western Cape. She is the author of Living on a Horizon: Bessie Head and the Politics of Imagining (2007).

Gabeba Baderoon is a literary scholar, poet and Associate Professor of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and African Studies at Pennsylvania State University, where she also co-directs the African Feminist Initiative. She is the author of Regarding Muslims: from Slavery to Post-apartheid (2014) and four books of poetry, most recently The History of Intimacy (2018).

Decolonial feminism in practice and in its finest representation, this is a much-needed
addition to the library of materials on Black Feminism in a global context. Surfacing. On Being
Black and Feminist in South Africa moves us rapidly out of the norm that privileges work
that comes out from the West often with the justification that it is difficult to find available
material. Teaching, studying, and writing about Black Feminist Theories remains incomplete
without the intellectual contributions of Black women in diverse locations. Here are the
voices of Black Feminists from Southern Africa who cover all topics from being Black lesbian
and feminist to living life as a Black radical feminist, to the challenges of writing feminist
biography and much more.
— Carole Boyce-Davies, author of Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Feminist Claudia Jones and is a professor in Africana Studies and Literatures in English at Cornell University

A beautiful book that brings together some of South Africa’s finest, most innovative writers
working across a multitude of forms. Here, the personal essay and artistic reflection, the
conversational interview and research paper, all work to engage complex questions around
creativity, race, feminism, agency and history with depth, care, daring, provocation, wit and
intellectual rigour. Surfacing promises to be treasured as much its brilliant engagements and
insights, as for the wonderful connectivity and solidarity it makes space for.
— Nadia Davids, Author

 

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