Agenda: Autobiographies, biographies and writing lives

Date: April 14, 2014
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Against the marginalisation and silencing of women by the dominant male depictions of life and lived experiences, feminist writing such as the stories in this special issue seek to cut across an androcentric, mono-dimensional view of the world. The question of who speaks and who can speak for whom continues to raise the issue of unequal power relationships between women and men and different groups of women in the act of writing by women. The critical practice of deconstructing and challenging mainstream versions of history disallows the possibility of apolitical or neutral interpretations of women”s lives under patriarchy.
As the guest editors of this issue, Drs Nyna Amin and Betty Govinden, say in their Introduction: “This particular issue of Agenda cast its net widely to haul in different forms of life writing, and gives us a great mix of experiences to ponder over, whether of institutional life, history and historiography, sexual orientation or feminist research methodology … Each piece of writing makes a profound contribution to our understanding of the battles won, of those still being fought and those still needing to identify the battlefront” (p. 3).
How fitting, then, that we start the issue with an article titled ‘HERstory: Writing women into South African history’, by Muziwandile M. Hadebe, Mthunzi Zungu, Nozipho Manqele, Thato Molefe and Calda de Vries of the Oral History Unit of the Department of Arts and Culture. They draw attention to some of the less celebrated heroines in South Africa, women who played an active role in the struggle for liberation. These women – such as Nokuthela Dube, Princess Magogo, Charlotte Manye Maxeke, Victoria Mxenge, Bessie Head, Phyllis Naidoo and Phila Ndwandwe – were at the forefront of key points in our history.
It is also fitting that our cover bears a portrait photograph of Nokuthela Dube, who shaped history through music and education, yet whose story only came to light recently.

ISBN: 1013-0950
Publisher: Agenda Feminist Media
Edition: No 99; Vol 28 number 1
Year of Publication: 2014
Download : 18483_10130950%2e2014%2e891808.pdf

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