What is womxn? TW: Mentions of rape and sexual violence.
@VarsityNews |21 August 2018| V77 E7 |Page 2
Trailblazer: Being a Womxn The Wallflower’s perspective on womxnhood
I am a Womxn
he thing that makes me feel most like a womxn is getting ready to go out. I get to put on clothes that make me feel comfortable and put on makeup to enhance the features that I already have. I get to feel pretty and good about myself which gives me the confidence to face the world.
I get to put on clothes that make me feel comfortable and put on makeup to enhance the features that I already have.
hat makes me feel most like a woman is my strength. Of all the prominent female figures in my life, I don’t know one who doesn’t embody Herculean strength – a trait I’ve seldom ever seen in their male counterparts. Even with all the challenges I face as a womxn, I’m confident in my ability to make the best of them.
Every day is a fight to have my voice heard when I have something to say. Nonetheless, not being able to assert my voice in a society that believes I add no value to a conversation has been one of the major obstacles I’ve faced. Often, as womxn we are made to feel as though people have the right to speak over us and for us, that even our will is pliable. Every day is a fight to have my voice heard when I have something to say. Still, the stories I have scratched on my back, that I am yet to tell, are what make my experience of womxnhood novel. Stories that speak of my individuality and resilience. Stories that speak of what a mind and a body, that have decided to be whole, can truly create from nothing.
As a womxn, one of the main issues I face is the discrimination that I get because I’m not a cisgendered womxn. Therefore, people feel entitled to discriminate against me by asking, “What makes you a womxn?”, because I don’t possess the features society defines as womxnly. Even though I’m not characterised as a “real womxn” in society, I do, however, find that I have a unique experience of womxnhood. I feel like I get to be a new person (even though that isn’t my intention) and I get to see the world in a different light. I get to be acknowledged and celebrated for the womxn that I am by those who love and appreciate me, as I am. I get a chance to be happy and comfortable in my own skin because at the end of the day those are the things that matter most to me and I’m not willing to give them up for anyone, period.
Emma Bracher A Meditation on Womxnhood
omxnhood is freedom. It is every shattered glass ceiling and reverberated voice in a room. It is intersectional. It is every haircut and every wardrobe. Womxnhood is leaving a party alone and it is also waking up in a strangers’ bed. It is the refusal to accept mansplaining or enigmatic sexism. It is every unrestricted choice made and it is the respect given to choices made. Womxnhood is the colour pink… or black.
“It is femininity that isn’t considered weak because it is female” It is femininity that isn’t considered weak because it is female. It is powerful not in comparison with what makes it masculine. Womxnhood is being proud of every female success. It is everybody and every period cramp. It is religious and political freedom. It is the power to say yes or no. Womxnhood is defined in terms of what is, not what isn’t. Womxnhood is unrestricted.
21 August 2018 | Volume 77 | Edition 7
Students share their deferral experiences
Students reach out to VARSITY to share their accounts on deferred exams.
ollowing the article published in VARSITY’s last edition (8 August 2018), a number of students reached out to speak about their experiences trying to defer exams. In response, VARSITY attempted to speak with the Deferred Exams Committee (DEC), and offered them the right to respond to allegations of negligence. The DEC did not respond by the given deadline. The following stories have been verified by VARSITY to the best of our abilities.
“I don’t know if it’s a thing of a lot of applications and they missed mine or what.” A fourth year Chemical Engineering student claims that he made three applications for deferred exams based on physical and mental
By Sibongile Ralana
health reasons. The first application was successful, however he received no communication regarding his second application. He was told to produce further evidence pertaining to his third application. He enquired about the outcome of his last two applications. He was advised by the Servicing Officer on behalf of the Deferred Examinations Committee to submit the documents and applications he had submitted to the DEC and include a timeline and a letter of explanation, so that no application is overlooked. “It’s just disappointing and frustrating to have experienced this,” said the student. He claims to have sent multiple emails to the administrative office of the DEC regarding his applications to no avail. He only learned of the unsuccessful outcome of his applications upon seeing that he was marked absent (AB) on his transcript
for the courses that he had applied to defer. The student states that this may affect him graduating this year and he is also concerned that he may be excluded because of the AB courses. “There aren’t any reasons why my application wasn’t approved, so I can’t even do anything. Also I didn’t know about the review,” said the student.
“I do think it’s a real hypocrisy from UCT because all over social media they have pushed this idea that they care about student mental health.” “I don’t know if it’s a thing of a lot of applications and they missed mine or what,” he said. Another student studying an Economics Honours, fell sick after
being put on new medication for an autoimmune disease. The student has multiple chronic illnesses, and is already a member of the disability service. After her application was denied, she appealed the process. The student claims that the VC nominee allegedly told her she should not have taken the medication if she knew the medication made her sick. “I need this medication and it is not the kind of thing that you can just skip. I was being blamed for not taking enough autonomy.” The student further went on to say that, “I eventually got my deferred exam appeal approved but the entire experience made me feel awful for something so out of my control. My health is so unpredictable and it’s hard enough to manage that and the poor treatment was horrendous.” She was only allowed to write deferred exams after
image from: students.uct.ac.za
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Students share their deferral experiences (continued...)
Tessa Knight firstname.lastname@example.org
...asking the Administrator, Course Convenor and Head of Department to speak on her behalf. A student who is in his third year studying Business Science applied for a deferral based on mental health grounds. He claims that, on the morning of his exam, he went to Student Wellness Services where he met with a student advisor. The student told the wellness advisor that he had experienced a panic attack the night before, and briefed the advisor on his mental health history.
“At least tell me as to why these ones were rejected because now I don’t have anything”. The student claims that the advisor supported his application to defer and told him to include an old medical note that the student was given three
weeks prior. The student claimed that the advisor did not inform him that he was required to produce medical evidence pertaining to the day he deferred his exam. His application was rejected because of lack of evidence that he was unfit to write the exam on the day he deferred it. The student took the matter on review to VC Nominee, Tessa Minter, who upheld the decision of the DEC. The student, along with SRC Sports & Recreation Co-ordinator Gift Qetu-Yates attempted to challenge Minter’s decision to no success as she has called the case closed. The student has the support of the SRC who intend on challenging the case. “I do think it’s a real hypocrisy from UCT because all over social media they have pushed this idea that they care about students’ mental health” said the student. He further added “in practice they are not really acknowledging problems that students face and they seem to leave students in the dark with regard to the process and then will use that
process against them.” Although the students have different experiences, common issues exist. Students complained about the insensitivity and lack of concern displayed by people involved in the deferred exams process, a process that is often taxing and difficult for students.
they don’t have the humanpower to go through all the applications The settling of the students’ applications also seems to have been a long and onerous process. There are complaints of poor communication, as students were required to contact the deferred exams committee office several times in order to be kept in the loop of their applications.There is also
a concern that the office of the deferred exams committee is overwhelmed by the administration of the applications. “I was told by management that too many students try to get deferred exams and that they don’t have the human power to go through all the applications,” said a student. This student was also given an outcome for a course that was different to the one she applied to defer. She was later given the outcome for the correct course. These students’ cases and issues raise concerns of the efficient running of the deferred examinations office.
Charges against Fees Must Fall activists dropped
Students cases dropped after completing community Tessa Knight service
n the 8th of August the charges against six Fees Must Fall activists were officially dropped. Nsovo Shandlale, Sihle Lonzi, Qondiswa James, Lerato Seakame, Ndumiso Gina and Khayalethu Maneli were all charged with violating the interdict granted to UCT during protest action over the last few years, although some also received additional charges.
the process has been incredibly strenuous The students were required to write to the prosecutor explaining their situation. The prosecutor then decides if the case should go to trial, or be diverted. During their last court case, the students were told that their cases would be diverted and that they must complete a specific number of community service hours. After completing their community service, the students were required to take an official letter to court stating that they had completed their requirements to the court’s satisfaction. The majority of the students have already done so, and thus, as of two weeks ago, their cases were officially closed and all of the separate charges laid against them were dropped. This means that the students will no longer have to spend time in court, nor will they graduate with a criminal record.
Current SRC Undergraduate Academics Co-ordinator, Sihle Lonzi, claims that the students had the choice to challenge their cases in court, but chose not to. Lonzi, alleges that the process has been incredibly strenuous, and the students just wanted the trial to end. However, the students say that they struggled to maintain an academic career while appearing in court. Nsovo Shandlale, Commer ce Student Council Chair, says that people saw him as a “caricature of a black protestor.”Khayalethu
Maneli, a second year Politics major, says that he often faced stigma from within the UCT community.
people saw him as a “caricature of a black protestor” In particular, he noted that certain departments were not willing to accommodate him, despite the fact that he had to appear in court regardless of tests or tutorials. The case of current SRC vice-president, Masixole
Mlandu, has also moved forward. The prominent Fees Must Fall leader was charged in 2016 for an alleged incident involving UCT’s security manager, Stephen Ganger. Mlandu was charged with malicious damage to property, public violence, contempt of court and contravention of the Intimidation Act. He has been ordered to complete 150 hours of community service as well as simultaneously attending counselling sessions to assess his “learning from the process.” Supposedly, the process is not intended to be punitive – rather, it claims to
be centred around changing the accused’s thought process. Mlandu will appear back in court on the 12th of October. Last week the South African Union of Students (SAUS) called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to grant amnesty to all students accused of damaging property during the 2016 Fees Must Fall protests. In July 2018, Higher Education Minister Naledi Pandor announced that the cost in damages of the 2016 protests totalled nearly R800 million. The cost of damage to UCT property is not known.
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BAC demands investigation into Prof Mayosi’s suicide
An inquiry called by the Black Academic Caucus looks into the experiences of Black staff and students at UCT Ntombi Khulu members at UCT face on a day to day basis.
The BAC thus called upon the University Council to set up the inquiry and lay out a Terms of Reference which allows for complete transparency of all reports
Image from facebook.com
n the 2nd of August a collective of Black academics at UCT known as the Black Academic Caucus (BAC) on behalf of concerned UCT staff and the Mayosi family released an official statement to the public. They called for an inquiry to be made into the passing of Professor Bongani Mayosi, the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at UCT. Professor Mayosi took his own life on the 27th of July 2018 after struggling with mental illness. The BAC thus called upon the University Council to set up the inquiry and lay out a Terms of Reference which allows for complete transparency of all reports and records to be made available to the public. The purpose of the inquiry is one that will not only hope to shed light on the hardships Professor Mayosi faced while employed at the institution but will also hope to bring forward the compromising conditions in which black students and staff
Student movements such as Fees Must Fall and Rhodes Must Fall at UCT are among one of the reasons stipulated by various media outlets and UCT statements as to what had contributed to Professor Mayosi’s decision to take his own life. This subsequent “mudslinging”, as referred by the statement released by the BAC and fellow concerned UCT staff, is denounced by the Black Academic Caucus as it places the blame of Professor Mayosi’s death on the protests for free decolonised education. It also puts the blame specifically on the group of protesting students that allegedly occupied Professor Mayosi’s office during the protests in 2016. These statements further undermine the overall marginalised experiences of black students and staff at UCT. The BAC further proposed in their official statement that all reports and correspondence from the period the students occupied Professor Mayosi’s office in 2016 are to be made transparent. The Black Academic Caucus’s media chair, Ms Tando Ntunja, explains that the inquiry was called to ensure that there is proper accountability for the events that led to Professor Mayosi’s death.
WITS adds a gender neutral title by Phophi Tshikovhi Image from wits.ac.za
Wits now allows students and staff to use gender neutral pronouns - what about UCT?
he University of the Witwatersrand has decided to add the gender-neutral title “Mx” as one of the options on their student self-service portal, as of from the 16th of July. The idea behind this decision was to foster an environment inclusive of the LGBTQIA+ community. From now on, both students and staff can select any title they identify with, with the added option of the gender-neutral title. Wits’ Transformation Office released an official statement saying that the decision by the university affirms those who are transgender, non-binary or gender non-conforming within the University community who wish to hold a title that affirms their identity. Tish Lumos, a senior administrative assistant at the University’s Disability Rights Unit prefers the pronouns they/them. Speaking to Wits Vuvuzela, Lumos mentioned that some people do not have the privilege to identify freely. “Existing title options such as Mr, Mrs and Ms all have assumptions and the assumption is that a title is a static entity. This limitation creates a site of violence where people do not find these titles affirming with their identity,” Lumos said. Siya Hlongwa, a transgender woman studying towards a Development Planning Masters,told Wits Vuvuzela that this change means she can be herself and be respected during her studies. “As a Wits University
student, I see great importance in the university ensuring that all students feel welcome and create a space for each student no matter who they are, where they come from and how they wish to be addressed,” she added. Viwe Tafeni, President of Rainbow UCT at the University of Cape Town said that Rainbow UCT has already met with the Office for Inclusivity and Change, Gender Dynamics, Transcollective and other stakeholders in the university. “A multi-disciplinary team came together and looked at the option of removing titles and people having to select their gender on application forms last year. Aspects such as what this would mean for the student body and for the university in terms of funding were considered. Some funders might want to know how many females there are in a particular department because they are a woman’s rights group. The announcement is only delayed because of bureaucratic processes and considering that this year we have had two vice chancellors. UCT is also in line to make a similar announcement,” he added. It is not known when UCT will allow students and staff to use gender neutral titles and pronouns, or even if this is a future prospect.
Ms Ntunja also stated that “his passing is endemic of a greater existential challenge for Black staff and students at the university.” Ms Ntunja further stated how, although the BAC is unable to comment on the pressures faced by Professor Mayosi from the university, it is evident that the challenges expressed about Professor Mayosi’s working conditions are inherently similar to the experiences of Black staff at UCT – not just members of the BAC. As stated by the BAC, the hope is that the results of the inquiry will shed light on “what it is that is wrong with the UCT structures” as quoted by Ms Tando Ntunja and how these results will benefit those that have been historically marginalised at the institution, namely Black staff and students. At the moment, the University Council has
“His passing is endemic of a greater existential challenge for Black staff and students at the university.” created a committee to consider the request for an inquiry into Professor Mayosi’s passing and the challenges experienced by Black students and staff members at UCT. The committee has appointed Advocate Norman Arendse to convene the committee. However, no official statement has been made by the university regarding whether the request for an inquiry has been granted.
The IRTC comes to Campus
The IRTC kicked-off the commission’s activities last week with aims of encouraging participation in achieving reconciliation and transformation.
by Akhona Matshoba
he Institutional Reconciliation and Transformation Commission (IRTC) made their first appearance in the form of an Assembly on Upper campus last week, on the 14th August. The commission, chaired by former Minister of Science and Technology, Mosibudi Mangena was accompanied by a panel of prominent figures including Vice Chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng, Deputy Chair of the Commission Dr Yvette Abrahams, the Black Academic Caucus’s George Sithole and Justice Zak Yacoob. The assembly was met with a significant gathering of students and workers on plaza, who were seemingly ready to engage with the commission on its activities. Some of the issues brought up by students and workers at the assembly were matters concerning the persisting invisibility of black identities in the cultural and academic fabric of the institution. Issues concerning mental health were also brought up, with one student asking how the commission intends on addressing the insidious nature of mental health in the university community. Positioning himself on the Jammie stairs where most students were seated, student and Shackville TRC activist, Sinoxolo Mbayi went on to give some context on the history of activism at UCT, reiterating that
apathy breeds a very convenient violence. It seems that a political divide along party lines exists between students. As a student affiliated with the South African Students Congress (SASCO) accused the SRC of betraying the trust of the students that elected them, saying, “Chairperson, I ask the SRC to stop lying to us as students, and saying that they are calling for unity and transformation within this institution”. In closing, the Commission encouraged further participation and engagement from students and workers, encouraging them to make physical submissions to the commission. Dr Yvette Abrahams assured students that submissions would be made anonymous should the student request this. Dr Abrahams claims that the commission has seen substantial student participation in the submission process. She goes on to acknowledge that, although it was in part due to strong student activism that the IRTC came into being, students have been exercising their ability to express their positions in a more peaceful manner.
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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Jarita Kassen email@example.com MANAGING EDITOR Michaela Pillay firstname.lastname@example.org
Jarita Kassen Editor-in-Chief
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ONLINE EDITOR Kate Southwood email@example.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR Viwe Tafeni firstname.lastname@example.org CONTRIBUTORS & SUB-EDITORS Thanaa Jassiem, Kelsey Scheffers, Nengishon Melaisho,Stefanie Simon, Robyn Harry,Sitka Lombard, Cayla Clement,Primrose Dumani,Shakeela Ismail
PRINT OPINIONS Parusha Chetty & Sumona Bose email@example.com
here really is no rest for the wicked. UCT proved this to us once again, when it released our exam timetables even though we’ve only been back here for one (1) month. And yes, exams basically start tomorrow. August is practically over, we’ll blink through September and BOOM, it’s consolidation week.
People would know about why we spell “womxn” with an “x” now With the end of August comes the end of Womxn’s Month – one of South Africa’s greatest ironies. Sure, it’s wonderful that we have dedicated an entire month to celebrating womxn, but in the same breath we have the highest femicide rate in the world? Get it together, South Africa. If you’re really all about celebrating and protecting womxn, we wouldn’t need protests like the #TheTotalShutdown marches. People would
know about why we spell “womxn” with an “x” now, or what intersectional feminism is. It would be safe to go for a walk after dark.
Tamutswa Mahari Deputy Editor
ONLINE LIFESTYLE & FITNESS Carl Osborne firstname.lastname@example.org
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Womxn’s Month Wrap Edition: Creative Director: Sandrine Mpazayabo
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Get it together, South Africa. In a world where womxn are always looking over their shoulders and fighting for entry into the spaces they deserve, VARSITY has dedicated this Wrap Edition to investigating womxnness. With this edition I hope that you (whatever your identity be) reflect, introspect, and take it upon yourself to change this country, so that having a Womxn’s Month is no longer so bittersweet.
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@VarsityNews |21 August 2018| V77 E7 | Page 7 1.
This Week in Images 1. Aaliyah Ahmed 2. Gontse Matshitse 3. Phumzile Konile 4. Phumzile Konile 5. Phumzile Konile
@VarsityNews | 21 August 2018| V77 E8|Page 8
Parusha Chetty & Sumona Bose email@example.com
Un-“Happy Women’s Day”
reject being disingenuously “celebrated” as a woman on one day of the year.
I want policy and change, not a public holiday. As a woman in South Africa, I am on guard everywhere I go, often paralysed by anxiety and incapable of simply existing because resisting is the only way I can survive. I anticipate being catcalled; my body is an object of relentless sexualisation and degradation; the fear of being raped is always on my mind; I am required to conform to gender roles and I can expect to be exploited by the wage gap. I am unhappy because the national holiday celebrating me proves insincere when, in my country, I am not protected, I am not safe and it is not evident that I am valued. I want policy and change, not a public holiday. I want to see practical things that are being put in place to protect women. I want to see that women’s voices
The Culture of Cheating; ‘Kiki, do you love me’, ‘‘KB, do you love me?’’
are being heard. I want to see the valuable roles women have played throughout HER story being represented and I want to see the essential roles of women in today’s society being acknowledged. I do not want you to tell me that I am respected on one day of the year and grant me a holiday as su�cient evidence of this respect. As a woman, I want to see, I want to feel and I want to be respected as a member of society every single day.
So, please don’t “Happy Women’s Day” me when I am unhappy.
he ‘Kiki’ challenge, inspired by the song ‘In My Feelings” by Drake, recently went viral. This latest trend consists of jumping out of a moving car and dancing along to the song, miming a love heart and pretending to drive a car. For millennials, these dance challenges have become a social norm, and at that, a signiﬁcant part of contemporary pop culture; which is being increasingly ampliﬁed by the interconnectedness of media. Dance challenges connect people from all over the world. And, although some enjoy the lyrics and risqué music videos, many are concerned about the values artists portray, especially rappers.
‘It has become blatantly apparent that societies are gradually normalising cheating.’ In the lyrics, Drake mentions a few women, and asks each: ‘Do you love me, are you riding?’ Despite the attention the song received, upon close analysis, the song encourages men to smooth-talk and
So, please don’t “Happy Women’s Day” me when I am unhappy. This term creates a false impression of progression. It silences my discontent and implies that I should be happy when I am the furthest thing from it.
The Subtleties of Patriarchy: A Ricochet Effect, writes Parusha Chetty
n Africa, patriarchy operates di�erently than it does in the rest of the world, as traditional and cultural aspects play a large role in understanding the skewed power dynamics between men and womxn. With that said, the subtleties of patriarchy may be best understood by looking not at the source of patriarchy – which is often deemed to be toxic masculinity – but rather how hegemonic masculinity is perpetuated in African societies.
Respect, in any given situation, should be a 2-way street. Not a mere enaction of traditionalist idea Hegemonic masculinity a�ects both men and womxn and is often strengthened in ways we least expect. It starts when we’re young, during those moments we watched our mother or grandmother scramble to get the house
cleaned and the food cooked before father gets home. Womxn are taught, most often by their relatives, to continue these traditions. Most of us oblige because we’re told it’s a sign of respect or that “food is the way to a man’s heart”. Yet, is this really a sign of respect? And if so, should this respect come at the expense of female bodies? Patriarchy was the emphasis placed on how tired he was, despite the fact that our mother had also been working all day too. It’s the guilt and shame we feel when we put ourselves ﬁrst, and the uneasiness that creeps into the crevices of our mind when our voices are ignored for the umpteenth time. Patriarchy operates systemically and survives through the perpetuation of these masculine ideals. It’s the distorted, uneven, dichotomies we’re inducted into at birth, which draws parallels between loving your man and being subservient. However, South African society has developed signiﬁcantly
since the genesis of these ideals. Power dynamics have changed and so should these ideals. The onus lies on both men and womxn to enact this change. Men should become more cognisant of their natural expectations. And, womxn should stop shaming each other for not preparing supper for their partners. The words “Shame, the poor man must be so tired. Make sure you prepare supper for him” coming from another womxm, especially from a matriarch, is damaging. It guilts us into feeling bad for being tired after our long day.
Men should become more cognizant of their natural expectations. Respect is quintessential in maintaining any healthy relationship. However, respect, in any given situation, should be a 2-way street. Not a mere enaction of a traditionalist ideal.
ﬂirt with several females simultaneously. This essentially fosters a culture of cheating. It has become blatantly apparent that societies are gradually normalising cheating. With the recent #MenAreTrash movement, it has become a global discussion that needs much attention. Traditional values and morals that should, naturally and fundamentally, exist in any relationship have been diluted and disposed of. Who is to blame? If Drake and several other rappers and singers promote these ‘carefree’ lifestyles, we are all doomed; simply because many men and boys aspire to be like Drake. If Jay -Z could cheat on Beyoncé, is there really any hope for the rest of us? These are critical questions. It appears the #MenAreTrash movement did not give men the wake-up call they needed as some have even said that it discouraged honesty and encouraged cheating. The question remains, how are we all responsible as a society for these shortcomings? Are we all feeding into the culture of cheating by glorifying and participating in challenges such as the ‘Kiki’ challenge? Image from darudemag.com
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Woman with an “X”
outh Africa celebrated its ﬁrst National Women’s Day on the 9 th of August 1995. This was a day set aside to celebrate and commemorate the courage and strength of thousands of women across the country who, decades prior, had come together to stand against unjust pass laws. Over the years, and due to the continued subjugation and violation of women, the entire month of August has become known as Women’s Month. However, I feel that the month of dedication is no longer about the strength and courage of women. Certainly, throughout my adult life, I have come to believe that womxn are now ﬁghting; ﬁghting for the right to be equal (again); ﬁghting for the right to live! Picking up any of the major newspapers in the country one will probably ﬁnd at least one article about how another womxn has been found dead and burnt, or has been sexually assaulted by someone she knows.
herself. These prescribed notions of womxnhood that we have had drilled into our heads from childhood have the potential to bolster the very system which we are seeking to free ourselves from as people, namely; patriarchy, colonisation and all their nasty friends. Seeing that the womxn who marched on the Union Buildings (Pretoria) in 1956 did so not only to free themselves, but many other oppressed groups as well, it makes no sense that National Women’s Day and Women’s Month should exclude Queer+ folk, especially those who self-identify as womxn. The womxn’s liberation movements of years gone by have always been intersectional. Womxn have always known that their freedom will be true freedom when all other people are free. It is my view that it is usually men (cis men) in liberation movements that seek to free themselves over-and-
womxnhood is and can be anything that a womxn deems it is for herself.
Womxn have always known that theirfreedom will be true freedom when all other people are free
Before I go any further, let’s take a moment to address what some might think is a spelling error or a typo. I used an ‘x’ in ‘woman’. This spelling of the word (womxn) is an inclusive way of referring to cis, trans* and gender-non-conforming (GNC) women, it is also a political tool used to recognise womxn as being independent of men. Imagine that! I am not a fan of conforming and re-living an oppressive past. In my opinion, womxnhood is (and can be) anything that a womxn deems it is for
divorcee or a GNC womxn is seen as less than by those around her, and is not celebrated. How utterly shameful! People need to do better, honestly. Doing better begins with an open mind (education) and an open heart (love and acceptance).
above everyone else. So, the ideal is that ALL WOMXN are included in the celebration and commemoration of National Women’s Day and Women’s Month. The reality for many womxn is that they are not. Many people are still quite homophobic and transphobic, many others are still racist… or have some sort of exclusionary mindset. This could mean that a womxn who is a
Womxn and Labels 1…2…3 go: MEME WAR! Stephanie Wild
abels are useful. Our brains like labels because they help us to identify and interact with the world. However, they often extend beyond this function to one limiting our experience of humanity. This is where the problem lies.
Such a lack of unity not only harms our ability to break female stereotypes and to achieve in all spheres, but it also undermines the very concept of stereotype- breaking Historically, womxn were reduced to their biological role. Raising children and taking care of their husbands; the housewife had no other prospects in life. The remnants of this past can still be found in contemporary society where womxn are discouraged from entering male spaces in the sports, mathematics and sciences, and ﬁnancial sectors. In fact, the ﬁrst South African womxn of colour to be appointed as CEO of a major bank, Basani Maluleke, has only recently reached this
pinnacle. In order for womxn to occupy these roles in the future, they need to be able to picture such a possibility in the foreseeable future. For this to be possible, role models and encouragement from a young age are needed. Moreover, this entails removing stereotypes of womxn, and subsequently ending their exile from the domestic, arts, and secretarial spheres. However, womxn should also be held responsible for their interactions with the world. The ‘womxn of the world’ have a responsibility to respect and protect the ‘sheltered girl next- door’; the opposite is also true. By further categorising one another, we begin to view each other as being in tension with one another as opposing forces. Such a lack of unity not only harms our ability to break female stereotypes and to achieve in all spheres, but it also undermines the very concept of stereotype-breaking. We cannot simultaneously demand that our labels be removed while placing labels on others. Rather, we must listen and learn from one another so that we no longer stand as separate entities.
DISCLAIMER This section of the VARSITY is a vehicle for expression, on any topic by mebers of the UCT community. The opinions within this section are not necessarily those of the VARSITY collective or its advertisers. Letters to the Editor need to be kept at a minimum of 300 words and can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
CT and Stellenbosch (Stellies) are long-term rivals competing for the title of Western Cape’s most superior university. Both universities have been competing within several functions, primarily academics and sports. It’s di�cult to predict which university would become the victor in any of these functions.
Why not follow in the steps of Wits and UJ and take it to a MEME war Some would say that UCT is better because it’s globally recognised as opposed to Stellies. However, others would say that Stellies holds the best sporting records. So which university should take the throne? Which university should be crowned the most superior university in Western Cape? And how do we discover which university is actually the best? Why not follow in the steps of Wits and UJ and take it to a MEME war. In Johannesburg, Wits and UJ hashed out their long-standing rivalry through a meme war. Both universities composed the funniest memes I have ever seen, and it must have been extremely di�cult to decide which university won. So, why not have our very own meme war to determine which university should claim the throne. Stellies or UCT?
Memes are pictures with hilarious facial expressions that relate to the caption. The main element that makes a meme funny is not just the image, but the caption that is attached to it. Most universities have a social media page with plenty of memes uploaded onto it. For example, UCT and Stellies both have “Just Kidding” pages on Twitter or Instagram. These pages are ﬁlled with funny memes, so competing over which university is the funniest would bring much entertainment.
It’s nothing to take seriously or personally A lot of jokes and laughter can come out of this type of war and they mean no harm, because they are “just kidding”. It’s nothing to take seriously or personally. Every student can become a part of it if they are creative enough to make up memes. Many students participate in sharing hilarious memes. Therefore, a meme- war would bring unity amongst the students in each university; which I would say is a tremendous aspect because it brings entertainment over a rivalry that most would expect conﬂict from.
Lebohang Mafubedi, a BCom Accounting student, relates womxnhood to the idea of ‘being you regardless of what society has set as standards of what a womxn should be like.’ Womxn does not have to look, act or speak a certain way – it’s an idea that is individually malleable.
‘I choose to identify as a womxn and that choice is mine and mine alone.’ – Tshepi Nthlane, a BCom Accounting student.
Sasha Broom, a BA: Mandarin and English student, admitted in her interview that it has taken a long time for her to feel proud to be a womxn.
‘I choose to identify as a womxn and that choice is mine and mine alone.’ – Tshepi Nthlane, BCom Accounting.
What is womxn? - Sandrine Mpazayabo
creative project, womxn-ness, in ways that deconstruct unserviceable ideas concerning gender identity and everything that surrounds it. Up until university, I had always subscribed to the ideas of womxnhood which were fed to me, wholly absorbing and becoming what I thought a womxn was. I cannot blame myself for this – it was, at the time, all I knew. It was mainly the new social landscape, my insights gained from personal reflection and what I learnt in courses such as Gender Studies that caused me to re-evaluate my idea of the term ‘womxn’ and my relationship to it. I had to recognise the spectrum, and try to locate myself in it. I’m a pansexual womxn who sometimes identifies as non-binary. My pronouns are she and they. Sometimes I feel like a womxn, sometimes I don’t, and that is a part of my identity that I don’t see value in denying. This project, manifested as part of Womxn’s Month, has involved speaking to a group of people about their experiences either/both as a womxn, or relating to conventional ideas of being a womxn. Questions have included ‘how have you experienced womxnness and/or how do you relate to it?’, ‘how have you battled with the term “womxn” and what’s your current relationship with it?’ ‘Do you see yourself as womxn? How does this relate to other parts of your identity in shaping your life experiences?’ as well as ‘What is your idea of womxnness?’ The second part of this project had to do with capturing these figures in ways that they feel point to their experience as a womxn or reveal their relationship with womxnness. We explored a diverse range of colours and textures to point to the spectrum that each of us exist in, and the manner in which ideas and understandings of aspects of our identity such as gender cannot be defined according to insular modes of thought.
ften womanhood is challenging because of all of the violence, erasure and shame that womxn have to endure, and the fact that any deviation from cis-heteronormative ideas of womxnhood are often met with even more contestation. On a deeper level, there are groups of womxn, who are more marginalized, are vulnerable to violence and discrimination than others. A cisgendered, heterosexual, able-bodied white wxman has vastly different lived experiences to a
transgendered, differently-abled black womxn, for example. Womxn who are refugees are inherently at deeper risk compared to those who are citizens. Gender identity is a complex, nuanced phenomenon. It has no standard shape or form, no definitive feeling, and it can have everything, or nothing, to do with the ways one is externally coded or expresses oneself. Engaging with this whilst having to exist in a cis-hetero-patriarchal society can be extremely challenging.
Lebohang Mafubedi, a BCom Accounting student, relates womxnhood to the idea of ‘being you regardless of what society has set as standards of what a womxn should be like.’ Womxn does not have to look, act or speak a certain way – it’s an idea that is individually malleable. Sasha Broom, a BA: Mandarin and English student, admitted in her interview that it has taken a long time for her to feel proud to be a womxn.
Khanyisile Lesedi Kubeka is a BSocSci Politics and Gender Soc student
Miriam Aurora Hammeren Pedersen, a PhD student in the department of Anthropology, explains that ‘womxnness is something that’s in my soul’. How can we put that feeling in a box? What do we call it?
ince entering university, my relationships with my gender identity as well as with the societal understanding of gender identity has transformed in many ways. This is not unlike most of my peers’ conversations which are fostered in a university space . This space forces us to ask ourselves questions regarding gender, not only as a social construction and component of everyday societal dynamics, but as well as an element of our identity or force within our personal lives and day-to-day interactions. It is fundamental, then, to interrogate the concept of gender, and in the context of this
‘Womxn move through the world with an elegance that demands attention.’ – Sinead Mason, BA: Fine Arts.
Miriam Aurora Hammeren Pedersen, a PhD student in the department of Anthropology, explains that ‘womxnness is something that’s in my soul.’ How can we put that feeling in a box? What do we call it?
These questions are not meant to necessarily have answers, but to point at the idea that the only criterion that exists for a someone to be a womxn is for her to feel that she is one.
‘Womxn move through the world with an elegance that demands attention’. – Sinead Mason, a BA: Fine Arts student.
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Resigned or Usurped: The Case of De Lille
image from georgeherald.com
n the 5 th of August 2018, the Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia De Lille, announced that the 31 st of October will be her last day in office. Following the heated debates surrounding the accusations that were leveled against her late last year, the community of Cape Town was surprised by her next move; resignation. De Lille left citizens with this: “I realised that this fight against the DA cannot continue forever. I’ve decided to step aside and look to the future.” The Democratic Alliance (DA) leader, Mmusi Maimane, then continued to repeat during the briefing that the party only wants to show the public that they are very serious about accountability.
This makes it questionable if the charges were founded on real evidencer designed to push the now former mayor out of office However, her statements and sangfroid appearance at the DA media briefing begs the question: Is there more to the story than what she’s letting on?
All disciplinary charges have been dropped against De Lille when she agreed to resign and provide an easy transition for the next Mayor of Cape Town. However, this deal makes it seem as if the charges (some as serious as bribery and abusive behavior) were brushed under the rug by a simple resignation. At the beginning of the infighting, the word accountability was closely tied to a sense of justice and discipline for bad behavior. Yet now, the party seems to be singing a different tune. This raises the question of whether the charges were founded on real evidence or designed to push the now former mayor out of office. Further, it appears that former DA parliamentary leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko, was hinting at this in her recent interview with the Cape Town Press Club on 31st of July. Before saying she would continue supporting the party in future elections, Mazibuko expressed concern and even came to the defense of De Lille against the unclear accusations. Mazibuko has a history of being very vocal about the sexism and, sometimes, racism she experienced as a former DA parliamentary leader. She mentioned that this could have been the cause of the vague accusations and investigation in De Lille’s case. “I smell a rat. A woman who is accused of having a ‘bad management
style’... I’ve never heard of a man being accused in politics of having a bad management style. Politicians are leaders, not managers.” Mazibuko says, “So, she is ‘uppity’? She’s an ‘uppity’; woman of colour. Is that what the accusation is?” Mazibuko herself has had a turbulent relationship with her former party since leaving her position to pursue a Masters degree at Harvard University in the United States.
She’s an ‘uppity’ woman of colour. Is that what the accusation is? Helen Zille, former national leader of the DA, used her tell-all book to expose Mazibuko as being ‘unadvisable’ to both herself and her colleagues, and further mentioned that there was more to her resignation in May 2014. Considering the lack of evidence supporting the allegations brought against De Lille as well as how quickly the charges were dropped after a “no confidence” vote, the mayor’s resignation seems suspiciously orchestrated.
A Womxn’s March in August T he month of August, better known as Womxn’s month, started with a bang when a total shutdown took place on the 1st of the month. This was a movement orchestrated by a collective of womxn and gender non-conforming bodies, as the motive behind this movement was to raise awareness of the genderbased violence that weighs heavily upon young South African womxn, and the LGBTQI+ community. The march was also a response to the
It is very shameful that this country has nothing positive to commemorate anymore. alarming increase of femicide, which may be defined as the murder of womxn by current or ex- partners, and even potential partners. Womxn of all races and ages, flooded with emotion, joined together from across the country to march in unity. In my opinion, the university should encourage students to participate in marches that concerns our well-being, such as this one. It shows moral awareness
and concern for our fellow family members and school mates who have been victims of this terrible crime. It is very shameful that this country has nothing positive to commemorate anymore, other than mourning deaths caused by brutal murders, kidnaps, rape and abuse of all forms. Bear in mind that many deaths go unreported almost every day. These femicides are usually caused by intimate partners owning guns and other weapons, which they use to intimidate their partners. This problem is further worsened by the incompetence of the SAPS and all systems that are meant to protect us, especially as womxn. It is very common that those who by any chance get arrested, get released in the blink of an eye! We see these perpetrators roaming around the streets, posing threats to potential partners, or even current partners who report them. The point is that our higher institutions of learning are turning a blind eye when it comes to matters that concern us the most. It would, therefore, be a good idea to encourage students to attend such movements, without lecturers penalising for absenteeism because we are living in sad times.
Images by Aaliyah Vayej
Buhle Khumalo Image by Phumzile Konile
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Ishani Lala & Nwabisa Mazana email@example.com
A Guy’s Gift to the Gals
Body positivity, today Tiyani Rikhotso
ody positivity is a movement that advocates for the acceptance and appreciation of all human body types. It was birthed during the ﬁrst wave of feminism where womxn deﬁed the standard of tiny waists and advocated for the end of body modiﬁcation through corsets. The movement has come a long way since then. Womxn of colour are resisting Eurocentric beauty ideals and accepting themselves while the barriers of what a womxn’s body should look like are being broken, making space for transwomxn on the body positivity train.
Remember that community is an important art of the body positive movement. Create your own or join one Body positivity is important because your body is your home. You deserve to experience life without hiding, comparing or punishing the vessel that allows you to experience the world. The way your body looks doesn’t matter, but your relationship with it is everything. Although it’s a personal journey, it is important that our self-esteem is nurtured and strengthened in the spaces in which we exist. In trying to create safe spaces, the body positivity community has done a lot to revolutionise the content on social media. If social media is doing harm to your selfesteem, unfollow the accounts that trigger and catapult you into a spiral of comparisons or self-hate. Replace the negativity with people who are being vulnerable and real online. These are people like model, Iskra
Lawrence, who refuse to be photoshopped, blogger theslumﬂower who started the #saggyboobsmatter movement, or Grace F Victory who shares her self-love journey and passion for fashion regardless of her size. Because of how powerful images are, when we see our bodies, skin colour, stretchmarks, body hair or insecurities reﬂected online, it helps us embrace and accept ourselves. Remember that community is an important part of the body positive movement. Create or join one, and lean onto it. So many womxn around you are going through the same things. You can open up about thoughts or feelings that pull you away from self-acceptance and hold each other accountable on your journeys of healing. Amidst the stress and pressure of university life, make time for self-care. Looking after your body will help you appreciate and cultivate a postive relationship with it. And if your lack of self-acceptance or self-
Body positivity is important because your body is your home. hatred manifests into self-harm, eating disorders or mental health disorders such as depression or social anxiety, it is okay if your healing needs to be held in a professional environment. You can reach out to the therapists and resources made available to you through student wellness.
25aug Vodka Fest An Event that includes vodka tasting, an ice bar and epic live music? Yes,please! Where: Hillcrest Quarry Tickets available at computicket
Soul Fest - Enjoy a night of soulful music. Where: GrandWest Casino sept Tickets are available from www. suninternational.com
Jimmy Nevis Live at the Raptor RoomWhere:Raptor Room Enjoy the evening jamming to the smooth voiced Jimmy Nevis. Tickets available by the door and quicket.com
The word feminism tends to make most guys uncomfortable and has come to be associated with ‘man-hating’ or ‘the feminazi’. Yet, many men who don’t believe in feminism, do believe in equal rights. It’s a struggle to choose a word for a group of people who believe the same core principle. Nevertheless, no matter your view on feminism as a whole, boys, if you believe in womxn empowerment, here’s what you can do to support: 1. The most obvious, but also one of the most overlooked actions is to treat womxn with respect. Womxn have often been silenced or dismissed due to being perceived as weak or naïve. Treating someone according to their potential instead of their gender or femininity is essential to building the conﬁdence womxn have lacked for centuries. Womxn are ﬁnally being given a voice, make sure you’re listening. 2. Stereotypes still persist everyday. Slut shaming, locker room talk and other stereotypes of the womxn’s role at home and in society subdue countless womxn across the globe. Point them out and speak up so they can slowly be ameliorated and rejected as truths. 3. What a womxn goes through on a daily basis cannot be comprehended until experienced ﬁrst-hand. It’s hard to understand the small jokes, looks and touches she undeservingly experiences due to her gender. Denying someone’s experiences or claiming it to be an overreaction makes them feel helpless and alone. 4. Men are often shamed for being ‘feminine’. Phrases like ‘pussy’ or ‘did you get your period’ when they wear nail polish, wear pink or are openly emotional portray a womxn’s features as negative and creates an underlying stigma of womxn being inferior. Besides not shaming other men for their femininity or using toxic phrases, sharing in the more historically feminine activities and rituals encourages everyone to be who they want to be instead of who they are expected to be, free from rules and constrictions. Sexism is something we face daily, being deeply ingrained into our society, but in order to break it down we need both men and womxn working together.
Two Weeks Tonight
Western Cape Youth Music Festival The 47th Western Cape Youth Classical Festival hosted by ARTSCAPE and the CAPE TOWN PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA featuring young classically trained performers. Young singers and solo instrumentalists are offered the opportunity of performing with the Orchestra on a professional stage. Where: Artscape Theatre Tickets available on Computicket
Obama: A Legacy of Ashes Documentary Screening - A critical evaluation of the Obama Presidency, its relationship to the Military Industrial Complex and the consequences for the modern world Where: The Drawing Room Time: 7pm
31 aug Mojo Market Oyster and Bubbly Expo A weekend of sophistication and fun with live music, great food, oysters and loads of Bubbles at the beautiful indoor venue. Where: Mojo Market Tickets available from quicket. com
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5 empowering films to watch this Mahlatse Phasha women’s month
Image from foxmovies.com
n the spirit of women’s month, these movies range from fiction and fantasy to biographical dramas. This selection represents films which are either directed by women, portray female lead characters, or are based on the biographies of real women.
Hidden Figures (2016)
Set in the 1960’s, Hidden Figures is based on the story of three black female mathematicians who worked as human computers for NASA. Katherine Johnson, as portrayed by Taraji P. Henson, calculated the trajectories to launch the first American into space; together with Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) who became the first female engineer, and Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), the first supervisor.
Image from denofgeek.com
A Wrinkle In Time (2018)
This is a science fantasy film directed by Ava DuVaney. The cast includes philanthropist Oprah Winfrey and newcomer Storm Ried. Based on the novel, a young girl sets out to rescue her scientist father, who mysteriously disappears into an outer world through a teleporter.
Queen of Katwe (2016)
Directed by Mira Nair, this Disney film is set in the slums of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda. Queen of Katwe, is based on the true story of Phiona Mutesi, a chess champion who changed her life, as well as her family’s, through chess. It centers on how she played around with the idea of ‘queening’ when winning a game.
The Danish Girl (2015)
Simply explained, this film narrates the story of a transgender woman who undergoes a sexual reassignment surgery sometime in the 1920’s. The film is based on the novel The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff.
This one is not nearly as popular or recent, but nonetheless a necessary feature to the list. This feminist francophone film addresses the subject of female genital mutilation. Directed by the legendary Senegalese director, Ousmane Sembene, it showcases heroism and defiance in an African village. Image from youtube.com
Image from wikipedia.org
The Intersectionality of Girl Power C hances are, if you’ve been at UCT long enough and have encountered movements or causes fighting for marginalised people, you have heard the term “Intersectionality” used, particularly when identity politics is acknowledged. “Intersectionality” is a term coined by American civil-rights activist Kimberlé Crenshaw, which she used to illustrate the dual-oppression, particularly through bias and violence, that African-American women face within society, stemming from both gender and racial discrimination. The term’s use has expanded with the acknowledgement of various other reasons people are oppressed such as class, queerness or disability.
Intersectionality is used to illustrate the dual-oppression, particularly through bias and violence, that African-American women face within society stemming from both gender as well as racial discrimination “Girl Power”, a phrase credited to pinkband Bikini Kill, is one often employed to capture the force of women who are empowered in various fields – whether as social activists, professionals, personalities or advocates, for further female empowerment. It is important
to note that “Girl Power” often identifies certain types of women to be viewed as girl-bosses, who are viewed as empowered, independent and confident. While these traits are admirable and to be worked for, if “Girl Power” is not intersectional, it risks disempowering the very women it should uplift and it often does this when it excludes women with disabilities, trans women and poor or working class women from narratives of success and autonomy.
if “Girl Power” is not intersectional, it risks disempowering the very women it should uplift If we are to look at “Girl Power” beyond its façade of women in suits leading in male-dominated fields, and embracing their sexuality (which are all good things); we can ask questions about who gets to be the face of “Girl Power” and why. We can ask whether women doing emotional labour and caring-work can be lifted as highly as their formal-economic peers, and can be viewed as leaders in their own right. We can also question who of us gets to express themselves and their sexuality freely and safely, and why. “Intersectionality” is a useful way for us to acknowledge the oppressions that different women face, how these oppressions are interconnected within our South African society to form a
matrix of oppression, and how to go about enabling and empowering all women to fly their “Girl Power” flag high.
Mokgadi Marishane Image from za.pinterest.com
@VarsityNews | 21 August 2018 | V77 E7 | Page 15
Images courtesy of Lebohang Pascal
Nwabisa Mazana Lebohang Pascal Mafubedu is a 23-year-old transwoman who was born and raised in Gauteng’s the Vaal Triangle. She describes herself as a very kind and sweet person who loves hanging out with friends. When not busy with school, Lebo also runs a fashion blog and considers herself a social media influencer. Where do you think your passion for fashion stems from? I have had a passion for fashion from a very young age. I remember taking my notebook and sketching outfits, and dreaming of becoming a well-known fashion designer. But in 2010, I remember watching The Devil Wears Prada and this movie ignited my passion of one day being in the editorial industry. I eventually ended up deciding that when I grow up, I want to become a fashion editor at major fashion publication; American Vogue. This is a dream that I would still love to achieve one day as it has been a dream of mine for the longest time.
We hold our truths back because of the fear of being judged by society You run a blog while also being an influencer, tell us more about that… I’m still a student and don’t have much access to the industry I want to be in, so I thought it was best to start my own blog and focus on fashion - that’s how my blog came to light. My passion for being an influencer on the other hand, came from my love for Instagram. I enjoy posting pictures of my favourite outfits and outings on Instagram, that kind of sparked the passion in me to become an influencer. Let’s talk about binaries and gender essentialism. Do you think they hold us back? I absolutely think that binaries and gender essentialism hold us back, because we get afraid to express ourselves in ways in which we want to. This
is because we think that people are going to laugh at us or judge us. We hold our truths back because of the fear of being judged by society. How do you feel about women’s month? (do you feel like there is a certain level of erasure or exclusion?) I feel as though months like these are important because they remind us that at some point in time women were treated a certain way. Although we have come a long way since then, there are still issues that need to be dealt with when it comes to how women in SA are treated. I do however feel like it does exclude certain groups such as transwomen, because I have never seen anything been done to celebrate transwomen and deal with issues that concern us. At the end of the day we are women as well, and we deserve to be treated with the same respect, and given the same recognition as cisgender women. What do you think we can do to dismantle the exclusion? We can do this by giving transwomen the same rights and recognition that cisgender women are given. For instance, on months like this one, transwomen can be given a platform to express issues that they have in relation to their treatment by men and society in general. Finally, what does it mean for you to live authentically? Living authentically to me means living in your truth no matter what anyone thinks or says to you. It means loving yourself enough and not being afraid to be your authentic self, no filter, no cover-
ups. Nothing but your true self and being happy with who you are. To keep up with Lebo, you can follow her on IG: _justleh. Blog: stylebypascal.wordpress.com
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5 Womxn to watch in the Arts
here has never been a better time to be a creative and a womxn. The local creative industry is on the rise, and womxn are in no doubt claiming their seat in its ascendance. Here are 5 womxn doing just that:
Karabo Poppy Moletsane is a mural artist
whose work can be found on the Zoo Lake courts in Johannesburg, as well as the Nike Training Football center in Soweto. She describes her murals as “quirky and feel[ing] like home to people who grew up in Africa.” A game-changing moment for her was the appearance of her work in a Grammynominated music video, Makeba by JAIN, earlier this year. Image by yomzansi.com
Medicine (2015), which won the 2016 K.Sello Duiker Literary Award. Her conviction for the feminist agenda led to the creation of Vanguard magazine, for which she is the founding editor. Born in Zimbabwe and raised in South Africa, Chigumadzi has been featured in locally-loved publications including Elle and Between 10 and 5.
Gabrielle Kannemeyer, a Cape Town and
Jo’burg based stylist and creative director, has been featured in local and international publications including i-D, Dazed, and Flaunt. She has cast as well as creative directed for powerhouse brands such as Adidas and G-Star RAW, and has styled music video wardrobes for Spoek Mathambo. Image from zkhiphani.com
Images from amazon.com
Dada Khanyisa, a multi-disciplinary artist, is
another womxn to watch. The Jo’burg-raised and Cape Town-based artist most recently exhibited at the acclaimed Art Basel Miami with Stevenson gallery. Her diverse body of work includes “reconstructed Converse All Stars,” exhibited at Guild Africa, a mural for Constitution Hill and sculpture-like artwork which featured at this year’s Cape Town International Art Fair.
Petra Collins, based in New York, is no doubt an impactful creative womxn. She has been featured in Forbes 30 Under 30, Business of Fashion 500 as well as the US and Italian Vogue. Her exciting work includes photography, styling, modelling and curating. Business of Fashion cites her as “one of a group of young female artists leading a new wave of femalegaze led photography.” She released her ﬁrst photo book titled Babe in 2015 and has exhibited in the likes of the Museum of Modern Art.
Panashe Chigumadzi is raising her voice in the
Image from themightywhale.co.za
South African literature space. She authored Sweet
Small- town gay body
alking into a tut-room can be quite overwhelming. Normally, your fellow peers will have made the assumption that you’re gay long before you have said a word, or have used any hand gestures. The assumption is based solely on the clothes you wear. For me, it is no di�erent. Coming into such a diverse yet such close-minded space like UCT was an adjustment, not just mentally but also emotionally, due to having predominantly heterosexual bodies around me.
whispers made me realise that people will always stare, and they will always gossip, so why not give them something to talk about?
Sharing a room with one was even more daunting! I was placed in an all-male residence which taught me a lot of things, including not to feel intimidated by the stares and whispers I got when I walked into the dining hall with my doek, when I went to formal wearing a black jumpsuit, a fur coat and heels, and when I wore a traditional doek with a pair of hoops. This encouraged me even more to wear my doek with conﬁdence and to walk in those heels with elegance. The gossip, the stares and the
I began drowning in a black hole whenever I went home. Coming from a small town, which is a 2 to 3hour drive from Cape Town, made me write poems as a form of escape from reality. In my home- town, people are not as heavily exposed to queerness as they are in Cape Town, so a male dressed in heels and who is wearing make-up is still something strange. I still get called “mo�e” and “bunny” back at home, but I found a way to block it out through my poetry.
we have to accept the narrative that people come from different backgrounds, but that does not mean that we have to police ourselves
I write queer-poetry to LitNet (an online website) and use it as a source of liberation to stop feeling sorry for myself. However, I am not writing queerpoetry to become famous and to publish a collection. I write for that little queer body who can’t explore their true identity and sexuality due to small minded people. I am also writing for heterosexual bodies - to explain the pain queer people have to endure from ignorance and judgement. My 3 years’ experience here has taught me that it is true that we have to accept the narrative that people come from di�erent backgrounds, but that does not mean that we have to police ourselves regarding the clothes we wear, the way we speak and the way we walk. Be proud of who you are.
WITS SCHOOL OF LAW
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Applications close: 30 September 2018 For more information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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@VarsityNews | 21 August 2018 | V77 E7|Page 17
LIFESTYLE & FITNESS
Simba Mariwande firstname.lastname@example.org
Boks against the wall
Image from wikimedia commons.com
team has got many good backs but pitted against the likes of Waisake Naholo and company, it is looking like a tough hill to climb . The Boks are lacking in the wings naming only three, to the Championship squad and with reports coming out that Sbu Nkosi has left the squad due to injury, the prospects in the backline might be looking a little meek.
The issues come at the back with selection dilemmas for coach Rassie Erasmus.
he Boks go into the rugby champions as the highest-ranking African side at the moment but only as the third highest-ranking team in the tournament of four.
With more quality upfront at prop and solid ﬂanks like captain Siya Kholisi leading the pack, the Boks are good upfront. The Boks boast a stellar forward’s line up with big boy Eben Etzebeth coming back from injury to feature in the squad, as well as Synman and Mostert holding down the fort whilst the lock was away. With more quality upfront at prop and solid ﬂanks like captain Siya Kholisi leading the pack, the Boks are good upfront. The issues come at the back with selection dilemmas for coach Rassie Erasmus. The
As the Boks face Argentina home and away in their ﬁrst test, they will fancy their chances against the Argentina side as they come up strong favorites. Thereafter, the Boks host the Wallabies; this is looking like a tough encounter as Australia is always looking for a ﬁght. Lastly, they will face arguably the greatest side in rugby, The All Blacks- this will be the toughest encounter because the All Blacks do not come to play games . Catch the Boks at Kings Park Stadium on the 18th of August, then at Nelson Mandela Bay on the 29th of September against the All Blacks, and lastly against the same opposition on Saturday the 6th of October at Loftus Versfeld Arena. Odds are stacked against the Boks, but we are hopeful for a performance from the boys. Go Bokke!
Caster Semenya: SA’s sporting legend
aster Semenya once again emerged dominant in the athletics scene, when she won gold in her 400m event on day three of the 21st African Athletics Championship in Nigeria.
Not only is she a sporting icon, but she is also a graduate, spouse and an all-rounder. She typiﬁes all that is excellence as a black African woman in our lifetime. Semenya, World champion, Olympic Games champion, African champion and Commonwealth games 800m victor can now add the 18-year-old national record to her collection. The sports icon stopped the clock at 49.96, clipping 0.09 seconds o� the previous national record, held by Heide Seyerling. Despite constant conﬂict with the International Association of Athletes
Federations (IAAF) regarding the regulation of testosterone levels amongst female athletes, Semenya continues to thrive above it all. She now holds national records in the 400m, 800m, 1000m, as well as the 1500m events. The sporting legend’s love for the track will not be deterred. “I am Mokgadi Caster Semenya. I am a woman and I am fast,” she said. The sporting great commented that she is passionate about her career and that her career plans are far from done. Caster’s resilience is both admirable and motivating. “My goal is to run till 40 years (old), probably three more Olympics to come,” she said. Not only is she a sporting icon, but she is also a graduate, spouse and an all-rounder. She typiﬁes all that is excellence as a black African woman in our lifetime. Caster’s signiﬁcance to the youth in South Africa is essential as she is living testament that one can overcome challenges and still come out top.
Serena, The Queen Mother
erena Williams is no stranger to the tennis court, nor are her achievements any less surprising.
Williams is known for her exceptional tennis skills and the level of dedication, hard work and professionalism that she has dedicated towards her career. This is evident in the numerous achievements she has received thus far. From the US open tournament to Wimbledon, she has excelled in every area and has obtained 23 Grand Slam titles to that e�ect. However, despite her continuous stellar work in the tennis court, her performance is constantly being called into question. Williams is said to have taken more drug tests as opposed to her other counterparts. To the extent to which, there was an unannounced USADA drug test at Williams’ residence in Florida. According to the USADA database, Williams has been subjected to a drug test, ﬁve times so far this year, which has been reported to be more than twice of the other top American
women tennis players and top ﬁve American male players. This frequent drug testing is not the only form of discrimination that Williams has to endure, but also the constant scrutiny throughout the plight of her career. These range from body-shaming to racist remarks that have been reported to being from the public and her acquaintances. Yet, this did not stop her from excelling in her career and now also, in motherhood. Her dedication to get back into the game and be a good mother to her daughter has been an inspiration to many mothers. Conveying a message of love, understanding, support and most importantly, appreciation. Appreciation to all the mothers, those that put their careers on hold to take care of their children, and those that have the endurance to tackle both. Irrespective of the mommy-shaming Williams received for going back to work, there are undoubtedly a number of mothers that are empowered and delighted by the ﬁerce, dedicated and strong woman that is Serena Williams.
THE BACK PAGE
@VarsityNews | 21 August 2018 | V77 E7 | Page 18
In this Issue Trailblazer:
Being a womxn
Students share their deferral
8 The Subtleties of Patriarchy
womxn? 10-11 Resigned or Usurped:
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Tip: eat multiple small meals throughout the day as opposed to three standard large meals. Eating large meals results in your metabolism slowing down between each meal, meaning your body is unable to break down foods effectively. Physically eating food can increase your metabolism via the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) which is caused by the extra calories required to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meal. Additionally, eating protein rich food increases your TEF by 15-30%. The following foods are good to incorporate in your diet: 1. Mixed nuts (almonds, cashews etc.) 2. Hummus 3. Popcorn
The Case of De Lille
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Here are some quick and easy recipes to consider as well:
Roasted sweet potato and butternut seasoned with cinnamon
5 empowering films Ukuthunakala to watch this womxn’s month
Ingredients: sweet potato, butternut, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper Directions: cut up the sweet potato and butternut as desired and mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Place contents on a baking tray and bake at 180°C for 35-40 minutes (roast for a further 5-10 minutes for extra crispiness)
Ingredients: 1 cup of kale leaves, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, half a teaspoon of salt Directions: mix all ingredients in a bowl, place contents on a baking tray and bake at 180°C for 10-15 minutes
Quick help guide for Summer Season
Karl Meier Mattern
irst year spread – some of the most infamous and frequently used words at UCT, yet the term extends past just first years and finds a way to creep into everyone. Below are some ideas for short workouts that just about anyone can do and some food/snacks that won’t have you feeling guilty.
Workouts The general perception is that more time spent working out correlates proportionately to increase in performance (i.e. losing weight,
building muscle). This is a fallacy for most people, except those training at an elite level or for endurance sport. For most people, far more benefit can be found in short interval training which is performed at high intensity and constantly varied. This type of training has the effect of increasing your metabolic rate both during and post training (meaning you keep burning calories even after the workout is complete). A second fallacy is that you need lots of equipment to work out; you don’t.
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@VarsityNews | 21 August 2018 | V77 E7|Page 19
Exclusionary stereotypes that silenced me, writes Noloyiso Mamputa
am a self-proclaimed hoe who was raped twice in university and had to have abortions for them. The first time I “was asking for it”, was when I visited my ex-boyfriend for a friendly chat. It was a hot summer’s day and I was wearing shorts. To him, that translated that I wanted him, that I was being provocative and flirty by showing off my legs. It didn’t matter that I told him to stop, it didn’t matter that I cried, it didn’t matter that he put his hands over my mouth to shut me up and it didn’t matter that I fought him off. All he could see was an ex-girlfriend wearing “provocative” clothing and he had a right to my body because he once dated me.
It is the stereotype that people you are married to/dating can never rape you, that silenced me The second time it happened I was too drunk and this guy promised my parents to take me home after the night out. One moment I was at a bar in Camps Bay and the next moment he was on top of me, thrusting. See, I had blacked out and from what I could remember, I didn’t even flirt with this man. The last thing that I could remember was that I wanted to go home. But he told me a different
version, said that when I was drunk, I couldn’t keep my hands off of him and this was his way of justifying having sex with a very drunk/passed out woman. In both cases, it was hard speaking out about it. The first rape was hard to explain because I have had sex with this man before; so to other people it would seem like I wanted the sex and I had missed it. It is the stereotype that people you are married to/dating can never rape you, that silenced me. The second rape I did not fight nor do I remember giving consent. Since I could not remember, that silenced me. To my friends in university I was normal during that period and because of this, it was harder to believe the rape.
I was a selfproclaimed hoe. Who would believe me?
‘Oh you’re a girl, you must…’ Sumona Bose
e celebrate Women’s Day with the objective to celebrate the empowerment we symbolise, yet every day I am dumbfounded by some of the amusing perceptions society validates on our behalf. Being a woman, stereotypes are not unusual and somehow, we have internalised these external identities fervently attached to us. It is not new, but it sure is eye-opening to see how others think for us, advise us and abuse us. To the ‘social media butterflies’, don’t go offline. I mean, I always assured myself that social media has its own share of vices, but I didn’t think we needed a collective round of consensus to use it. My filters should do exactly what I want, drill others out of my personal frame. It really is heartwarming to get likes, but moreover to understand where they are coming from; so, if you don’t like it, don’t click on it! Women have become more active on social media as a means of conscious solidarity of expression and we don’t really need to be told how or when to use it. To the ‘Slay Queens’, keep at it. The hovering discussions on make-up, cosmetic aesthetics, general self-acceptance and care through beauty routines are eligible for both praise and criticism. The morale of selfacceptance and self-love stems from independent expression. So, we have the ability to conduct our representation in our own chosen manner. You are powerful enough to choose what you want at the end of day, and that is all that matters. To the ‘Overachievers’, listen, be proud of your achievements because there is no limit to assess our success and no one else can do it for you. As women, the path to success has always been categorised as one of tremor, struggle and sorrow. And it is much more, the least to begin with is inequality in work and educational spaces. We aspire to enrich ourselves, not to supply others. Empowerment begins from within, and with confidence comes essence and our achievements remain ours and only ours. So, let’s live as who we are and not as inaccurate prescriptions, we aren’t living stereotypes anymore.
bout a month ago I was contacted by a comrade asking me to assist in mobilising for the #TheTotalShutdown Intersectional Movement against Gender-Based Violence. I was reluctant because my experience with spaces like these always retraumatise me rather than bring me healing. However, I agreed to do the work because I knew that the fight is bigger than me. I knew that survivors and activists were tired of putting their bodies on the line only for you to end up in a dark place, all alone with nobody to help you heal. Time went by, people joined, asked questions; some opposing, others in favour. After all efforts were made to start the conversation, we realised that the day had come.
It is clear that one day of a shutdown is not enough The 1 st of August was here and I felt a huge lump in my throat. My excitement subsided, voice trembled more and I suddenly felt immobile. We arrived in song: angry and excited for the day has finally come. Suddenly everything stopped and all the memories of the pain resurfaced. On the one side, someone was speaking over a mic and another testing the sound. I tried to find myself in the space and realised that those who looked like me were everywhere but nowhere. I just felt intense pain and sadness. Everybody had a personal story to tell yet little space was available for them to express it. During moments of silence you could almost taste the thick tensions and pain. I decided that I would sing and sing and sing so much that I couldn’t sing anymore. I looked for disabled people, old people and black people. I went around listening to their feelings about being here as a way of validating myself and them in the space. It is clear that one day of a shutdown is not enough. The events that unfolded as we marched to and upon arrival at parliament validated the need for constant engagement. So much of the experience brought tears to my eyes. Tears of joy because I was part of such a moment but also for the people that continued to be excluded in spaces that they seek solace in. I need more engagement to happen
so that we can learn the concept of ukuthunakala. I believe that our activism needs to be radical but also cognisant of each other’s experiences. Ukuthunakala means to revive the pain of a sore that had already existed. Ukuthunakala can cause more damage than the initial pain because you are aware of what is happening yet you do not have control over the feeling of the pain. A lot of the events on the 1 st August opened up wounds that had already existed. In moments of silence, I wept for our healing. I needed people to know that our experiences were valid and will continue to birth us into healing. The more we talk, the more we resist, the more sithunakala means the more we can take charge of our healing processes. And even when we cannot mobilise we remain valid. The experience has left me open, hurt, yet a little bit lighter. I wish that we can find better ways to fight this without putting our bodies on the line. I pray that my body
can exist without constantly fighting to be seen as a human rather than an object. A commodity. A disposable thing that exists purely for consumption.
Image by Zoe Austen
@VarsityNews | 21 August 2018 | V77 E7| Page 20
Black Girl: we may be magic, but we are real
he most prominent buzzword for the last few years has been #BlackGirlMagic; the initial intention of which was to celebrate the resilience and power of black womxn. Most people will agree this is a noble and appreciable endeavour seeing as we have a long history of being marginalised in society. But is that all there is to it? I was raised by womxn, exceptionally strong womxn, with barely a man in sight. The ﬁrst of these was my late grandmother who, even as a young child, I had a deep respect for. The second was my single mother, who, despite her own limitations, managed to give me a world of opportunity. The third being a collective of womxn who have been maternal ﬁgures to me through the years.
this notion. Truth be told, there is nothing all that magical about us black girls. We are very much real. And so are the myriad of stories
behind all the ‘magic.’
By calling it magic, it strips away all the years we’ve spent ﬁghting I grew up knowing what a matriarchy looked like because of these womxn. This kind of leadership, by womxn, is borne largely out of necessity rather than a need to be in a position of power. The bulk of these womxns’ stories are made up of a combination of life dealing them a bad hand as well as the men in their lives and society failing them when they were needed. Even tradition systematically disempowered them. Being strong for them was never about choice – it was about the primal need to survive. Young as I am, I share in this part of each of their stories. The truth is, what we have come to celebrate as #BlackGirlMagic is the result of a complex number of experiences that are characterised by years of su�ering in silence for many of us. By calling it magic, it strips away all the years we’ve spent ﬁghting for what we now have, long before it was recognized as magic. The notion of remaining silent as womxn, even in strife, is hereditary. Black Girl Magic indirectly perpetuates
Continued from page 2
No limits to womxnhood
I have strength because we have strength
Blair Inglis Khanyisa Hobyane
e have overcome the idea of womxn restriction. But, then appeared a now-popular word “feminism” where society expects feminists to hate the opposite sex—Yet another restriction that womxn must abide by. It is the numerous challenges that womxn must go through to show that they’re beyond societal expectations that makes me feel most like a womxn. Matriarchy would be a beautiful environment to live in, but would we still have stories about how powerful we were to go through being sexualised by men while going through period cramps and labour pains? Relating back to limitations, one main issue I go through is the politics of my hair. A bald black man once questioned why I wore a weave when I had an afro under it. It is the thought of people thinking I’m looking good for someone when, in fact, I am comfortable looking good both ways, so why should I have to choose?
feel most like a womxn during shared experiences (good or bad), that cannot be expressed in words, with fellow womxn. It is the hug of safety between two strangers when some guys at a party just won’t leave her alone. It is the smile of joy and pride shared between womxn when one of us succeeds beyond expectations.
How I choose to live my life, how any womxn chooses to live her life, should not be a topic of constant scrutiny. My personal experience of womxnhood is partly due to having a congenital heart defect. I have had to tolerate (brilliant) male health-care professionals, becoming increasingly sexist. I have a petite ﬁgure, but my health has taught me to be strong. I’m expected to be fragile, but many men are scared of my self-conﬁdence. Thus, they try to demean me. Remarks such as “Don’t you think it’s a bit unrealistic to be so ambitious.” “But what about having children?” And lastly, “Why don’t you have a boyfriend?” Little can they even begin to understand that my chosen future is exceptionally tailored to the fact that at the age of eighteen I was informed that bearing my own children one day, is ill advised. How I choose to live my life, how any womxn chooses to live her life, should not be a topic of constant scrutiny.
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