Top Menu

Mapping My Way Home: Activism, Nostalgia, and the Downfall of Apartheid South Africa 1

Mapping My Way Home: Activism, Nostalgia, and the Downfall of Apartheid South Africa

Stephanie J. Urdang was born in Cape Town, South Africa, into a white, Jewish family staunchly opposed to the apartheid regime. In 1967, at the age of twenty-three, no longer able to tolerate the grotesque iniquities and oppression of apartheid, she chose exile and emigrated to the United States. There she embraced feminism, met anti-apartheid and solidarity movement activists, and encountered a particularly American brand of racial injustice. Urdang also met African revolutionaries such as Amilcar Cabral, who would influence her return to Africa and her subsequent journalism. In 1974, she trekked through the liberated zones of Guinea-Bissau during its war of independence; in the 1980’s, she returned repeatedly to Mozambique and saw how South Africa was fomenting a civil war aimed to destroy the newly independent country. From the vantage point of her activism in the United States, and from her travels in Africa, Urdang tracked and wrote about the slow, inexorable demise of apartheid that led to South Africa’s first democratic elections, when she could finally return home. | more…

And Still They Dance: Women, War, and the Struggle for Change in Mozambique

And Still They Dance: Women, War, and the Struggle for Change in Mozambique

Gaining Independence in 1975, Mozambique’s government proclaimed a progressive approach toward women’s liberation, seeing it as essential for the continued success of the revolution. Stephanie J. Urdang, who traveled often to Mozambique, examines women’s status there ten years later, talking with women in factories and fields, village co-operatives, and state farms. Urdang produces an inspiring yet sobering picture of how African women continued to struggle for their survival and their liberation. Drawing on scholarly research as well as first-hand investigation, And Still They Dance says much about the daily lives of women living in independent Mozambique after the revolution. | more…

Fighting Two Colonialisms: Women in Guinea-Bissau

Fighting Two Colonialisms: Women in Guinea-Bissau

Guinea-Bissau, a small country on the West Coast of Africa, had been a colony of Portugal for 500 years, and with the 1926 rise of a Portuguese fascist dictatorship, colonization of the country became both brutal and complete. In 1956, the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) was founded by Amilcar Cabral and a few country people. At first, PAIGC's goal was to organize workers in the towns, hoping that through demonstrations and strikes they would convince the Portuguese to negotiate for independence. It soon became clear that this approach to independence would not work. Each demonstration was met with violence, until the 1959 massacre of fifty dockworkers holding a peaceful demonstration at Pidgiguiti. This was a turning point for PAIGC: they realized that independence could not be won without an armed struggle, one that had to be based on the mass participation of the people. This book focuses on the way in which PAIGC ideology integrated the emancipation of women into the total revolution: the way it emphasized the need for women to play an equal political, economic, and social role in both the armed struggle and the construction of a new society. | more…