Siphokazi Magadla

Black girl desire in a time of hopelessness

I remember very well the first “sex talk” I had with my mother. We were in the rural areas for the holidays when my cousin pulled me aside to tell me that there were red spots on my trousers. What was to follow was a confusing day where I felt my body had betrayed me…

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Joyce Banda, neither saint nor sinner

Written with Lindiwe Makhunga* The defeat of incumbent Joyce Banda in Malawi’s recent and controversial presidential elections, raises some uncomfortable but necessary questions about what constitutes collective expectations of women’s formal leadership in sub-Saharan Africa. On Saturday, Peter Mutharika of Malawi’s Democratic Progressive Party emerged as the winner with 36.4% of the vote, Lazarus Chakwera…

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On the fall of the ANC

“How did the ANC manage to dupe the people of South Africa?” ask Prince Mashele and Mzukisi Qobo, the authors of a new book, The Fall of the ANC: What next? The 20th anniversary of electoral democracy and the impending elections, all within weeks, force us to take seriously the place of time in the…

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For Sunduza, Thulo and other black women who choose life

Written with Gcobani Qambela “It had occurred to Pecola some time ago that if her eyes, those eyes that held the pictures, and knew the sights — if those eyes of hers were different, that is to say, beautiful, she herself would be different.” In the novel The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison writes about the…

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EFF and the return of the warrior citizen

The advent of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has gained much attention as the first clear reconfiguration of youth politics in post-apartheid South Africa. Much has been discussed about the policies proposed by “Commander-in-Chief” Julius Malema and his commissars, especially those regarding nationalisation and the appropriation of land. While there has been some discussion about…

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The ICC is not Africa’s enemy

On New Year’s Eve in 1989 in Monrovia, Liberia, 17-year old Leymah Gbowee was finishing high school and looking forward to starting university to study to become a doctor. Like many middle class Liberians at the time she did not think that the coup by Charles Taylor on 24 December 1989 from the outskirts of…

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Simphiwe Dana is nobody’s darling

“Part of what makes Simphiwe Dana so compelling for me, part of why I had to write this book, is that she is almost impossible to govern,” writes Professor Pumla Dineo Gqola in her latest book, A renegade called Simphiwe. This book is a “creative-intellectual portrait” of the public (and private) life of the musician….

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M&G Women: Ixhanti in our political isibaya?

Recently the Mail & Guardian held a Google Hangout revisiting the decision by the newspaper to establish a section dedicated to women. This is out of a concern that despite the good intentions of the section, it could have the effect of negatively contributing to the further ghettoization of “women’s issues”. I was invited to…

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What do men talk about?

Recently I participated in a workshop about curriculum review on teaching gender and security to military, police and prison officers in southern Africa. I became intrigued by how one facilitator on a session on “Men, Masculinities and Security/Defence”, subverted the “Bechdel Test” to provoke a conversation from the audience about how patriarchy silences and punishes…

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Why I no longer tell my brother to wear his pants properly

Saggy pants is a popular form of displaying rebellion to teenage respectability by young men who wear their trousers far down their waists, often times generously exposing their underwear. Saggy pants are mostly associated with black male masculinity, which has been highlighted by the imagery often associated with mainstream hip-hop culture. Of course today this…

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