THE RUTH FIRST FELLOWS

PANASHE CHIGU­MADZI, AU­THOR AND EDITOR OF VAN­GUARD, AN ON­LINE PLAT­FORM FOR YOUNG BLACK WOMEN IN SOUTH AFRICA SISONKE MSI­MANG, WRITER AND AC­TIVIST

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - REAL LIVES -

Panashe and Sisonke sparked con­ver­sa­tions about the role of race and gen­der with their talks at the 2015 Ruth First Me­mo­rial Lecture. Panashe ex­plored the con­cept of ‘co­conuts’, while Sisonke fo­cused on au­then­tic in­ter­ra­cial friend­ships. Both women are fear­less in the top­ics they tackle, rang­ing from Marikana to women’s bod­ies.

PANASHE

‘To be a black woman is to con­stantly be at war but at the same time, I wouldn’t choose to be any­thing else. I am at war be­cause my body is not al­ways pos­i­tively re­ceived. I am seen as in­com­pe­tent and in­ca­pable un­til proven oth­er­wise. Right now in South Africa we’re hav­ing a so­cial awak­en­ing: rain­bow na­tion­al­ism is be­ing dis­rupted and it’s some­thing we’re all learn­ing to en­gage with. Lack of priv­i­lege will force you to ght for your hu­man­ity and as much as I am ght­ing for mine, I have also had to learn to shut up and lis­ten to those whose sit­u­a­tions are dif­fer­ent to mine. That is par­tic­u­larly true for the black, queer women who are mak­ing their voices and strug­gle heard now more than be­fore.’ Van­guard­magazine.co.za @panashechig

SISONKE

‘There is a fear­less­ness in many young women in this gen­er­a­tion that I nd in­spir­ing. While you can’t es­cape sex­ism, you can get pretty far if you have the right sort of ac­cess and net­works. But there are still too few women in lead­er­ship po­si­tions and those who are there are of­ten un­sup­ported and have se­ri­ous prob­lems of re­spect and au­thor­ity. It’s es­sen­tial to recog­nise that sex­ism af­fects how women think about them­selves, just like racism af­fects how black peo­ple view them­selves. We may un­der­stand in­tel­lec­tu­ally that we are full and equal hu­man be­ings, but women are part of com­mu­ni­ties that of­ten would rather see us dead than see us suc­ceed.’ @sisonkem­si­mang

TOP R399, SKIRT R1 199 BOTH TOPSHOP; SHOES TIGER OF SWE­DEN

SISONKE WEARS R4 999

JERSEY NICCI BOU­TIQUES; TROUSERS SUPERELLA; SHOES TIGER OF SWE­DEN

PANASHE WEARS R850 R1 000 R5 499

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