JASS Southern Africa

I read Ngugi wa Thiongo’s The Trial of Dedani Kimathi years back when I was still in lower secondary school. The character that sticks with me most since that time is the woman political activist who works to support the liberation movement. She smuggles a gun into the courtroom by storing it in a loaf of bread with its insides removed expertly for that purpose. She is an ordinary market woman but uses her agency as part of the formidable people’s liberation movement to unseat colonialism in Kenya.
Winnet Shamuyarira and Maggie Mapondera recall seven striking things about the Stop Rape Now peaceful protest in Zimbabwe that saw hundreds of women take to the streets to end violence.
Young Zimbabwean feminist writer shares how her mother’s resilience inspires her to write women’s stories: "When I tell my mother’s story, I tell it with power and courage, not from the point of view of a sobbing, helpless and defeated being. She is a role model and an inspiration. But most importantly, she is the hero of her own story and not just a victim."
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JASS Southern Africa's Bridgette Magqaza explores the strange dynamics of mixed gender spaces and asks why it's so important to create women's only spaces for movement building.
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"The effects of rape mostly affect women; who because of their biological make-up get easily infected with HIV, they get bruised and hurt in the process, they live with permanent hurt and shame, and worse still, in a country where abortion is a crime, they are forced to live with unwanted children of rape, a permanent reminder of the erosion of their dignity."
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When a woman has been living life like that of ‘[a] rat on a treadmill,’ tired and resigned; in a state of hopelessness, helplessness and despair, on the brink of giving up—it is hard to see a way out.
Shereen Essof reflects on the commodification of struggles for freedom and the power of women's mobilizing in South Africa, and lessons we can take to revitalize and re-energize collective organizing across different contexts.
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Sometimes you just don’t know where things will end up. In 2009, JASS held a series of movement building institutes (MBIs) in Southern Africa that were attended by feminist activists in the region. These institutes catalysed energy and intent in different ways. The young women from Zambia who participated in the MBIs returned to their homes determined to ensure that their societies and communities transform. As Wala Nalungwe says, “The flame that was lit at the MBIs it would not end there. We did not want that.
As we step into 2021, we are celebrating womendriven solutions in transforming power and creating lasting change. We would like to share with you inspiring words from our partners and staff in the regions we work. We hope these words fuel your spirits, reignite your imagination and agency to join us as we continue to cross the line and build a more just world.
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