FrankTalk Journal #5: Black Consciousness and Gender

Since the advent of South Africa’s democratic dispensation, discourse on gender, and particularly the role of women in society, has gained prominence. Enshrined in the Constitution are certain inalienable rights that guarantee girls and women equality under the law. The African National Congress, the governing party since 1994, has gone so far as to mandate that women comprise 50% of their leadership; and indeed, South Africa has one of the highest rates of female representation in its parliament globally. Yet, paradoxically, South Africa also has one of the highest incidences of reported rape anywhere in the world. Further, women in our country, as is the trend globally, are disproportionally poor and carry the greatest disease burden.

Confronted with this contradiction, there are moments on the national calendar in which South Africa pauses to consider the role of women in society: to celebrate their contributions and to examine their challenges. As South Africa concluded the 16 days of activism against the abuse of women and children and celebrated the 66th birthday of Steve Biko last month, we at the Steve Biko Foundation take a moment to consider Black Consciousness and Gender.

In this, the fifth edition of the FrankTalk Journal, we reflect on the ways in which the ideology of Black Consciousness (BC) historically contributed to the liberation of women, and the ways in which this philosophy continues to shape feminist thinking in the 21st century. With that said, we also explore the short-comings of BC and the Black Consciousness Movement in advancing gender equality. Our hope is that this issue of the FrankTalk journal will provide another framework through which to understand these topics—and make real notions of equality.

To lead us into this discussion, we are pleased to bring you contributions from four individuals who have reflected on Black Consciousness and Gender in their various capacities as feminist scholars, political analysts and activists.

We look forward to bringing you more perspectives on contemporary socio-economic and political issues in the coming editions of the journal and invite you to share your contributions with us via email: or the FrankTalk Blog Continue the dialogue through Facebook and Twitter .

To access the FrankTalk Journal, please visit .

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