AT THE FOREFRONT: HISTORIES OF AFRICAN WOMEN’S RESISTANCE
Women’s leadership and participation in radical organising against oppression is often overlooked, forgotten, or made invisible when history is written and taught. This is particularly true for women in Africa, who are largely excluded from narratives of women’s resistance, as well as narratives of African resistance. But the truth is that women in Africa, who bear the brunt of violence, poverty and inequality under global capitalism and patriarchy, have a long history of collective organising against many forms of injustice. From early anti-colonial uprisings, to the protests that have erupted during the COVID-19 pandemic, African women have shown themselves to be a decisive and formidable force in challenging systems of power.
The selected histories in this calendar, representative of a much broader history of women’s resistance on the continent, reject conceptualisations of African women as submissive. These stories show that African women have a rich history of resistance, have played important roles and have developed innovative tactics in building, defending, and advancing emancipatory struggles. Our organisations and movements can draw strength and inspiration from these histories as we wage our own struggles.
In the fight against colonialism, apartheid, capitalism and patriarchy- African women have always been at the forefront!
The artworks in this calendar were produced in collaboration with Artist Proof Studio (APS), a Johannesburg-based community arts education centre that specialises in printmaking.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Lesego Ditshego was born in Thohoyandou, Limpopo, and grew up in Daveyton, Ekurhuleni. In 2013, Ditshego matriculated from Hoërskool Hans Moore in Benoni. She studied drawing under Taryn Drazek in Springs, Brakpan, in 2014 in order to improve her skills. Later, she was under the mentorship of Xolani “Galaxy” Ngwenya at Rhoo Hlatshwayo Art Center in Daveyton, to improve her skills further. In 2020, Ditshego enrolled at Artist Proof Studio in Johannesburg. She is currently completing her second-year in printmaking
Welile Dube is an emerging South African female artist. She was born and bred in Utrecht, KwaZulu-Natal, and relocated to Johannesburg in 2011. Dube studied art and design at the Design school of Southern Africa and graduated in 2016. She is currently doing her 3rd year in printmaking at Artist Proof studio and specialises in etching, dry point, and linocut techniques. Dube also has a strong interest in photography, sculpture, portraiture, and graphic design.
Nadine Mathenjwa is an emerging artist born and raised in the East Rand, Tembisa, South Africa. In 2018 Mathenjwa matriculated from Rhodesfield Technical High School. She is currently completing her third year at Artist Proof Studio. Mathenjwa aspires to be a well-known innovative and contemporary South African artist in the creative industry. Her goals are to exhibit her works not only in South Africa but also internationally.
Gugulethu Mnguni was born in Soweto, Johannesburg South Africa. Mnguni matriculated in 2018 at Lux College where she took art. She is currently completing her third year at Artist Proof Studio. In 2020, she exhibited her work in Vancouver as part of a group exhibition on Climate Change. Recently, Mnguni has joined the Art in Action (AiA) Online Exhibition. She aims to finish her 3rd year at APS and become a practising international African female artist.
Born in Thomo village, Limpopo, Hlavutelo Ngobeni was nurtured and encouraged by all in her community to pursue her passion for art. Philemon Hlungwani, a renowned artist and APS alumnus hailing from the same village as Hlavutelo, has been an instrumental influence in her chosen career path of printmaking. Ngobeni was inspired by Hlungwani as well as her former teacher Mr MM Mthombeni. Art is a fundamental part of her life, and she continues to be motivated and engaged by all aspects of art-making. She is currently in the Senior Graduate Programme and doing her internship in the Pro-shop at APS.
Phillipah Rumano was born in Harare, Zimbabwe. Shortly after her studies, she attended part-time drawing classes at the National Art Gallery of Zimbabwe and later ventured into fashion design. Rumano is currently residing and studying in South Africa. She is completing her second year at Artist Proof Studio where she is specialising in printmaking, drawing and visual literacy. Rumano aims to continue her academic studies and achieve a Masters and PhD in Visual Arts.