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The Interaction of Nationalist and Feminist Goals with Reference to the South African Liberation Movement

Catherine Ndinda, Korwa Adar


This paper discusses the interaction of nationalist and feminist goals in South Africa.[1] It traces the pursuit of feminist objectives of African women and White women in South Africa and illustrates how feminist goals took a secondary position until nationalist objectives had been achieved. The divisive nature of feminism becomes evident in the racialised nature of the suffragist movement which, although claimed to fight for the rights of women, was contented with the disenfranchisement of Black women and men. The pursuit of black womens rights occurred alongside the pursuit of their nationalist goals. The cases of India and Ireland suggest that feminist goals have always had to wait until the achievement of nationalist goals. Although the need to address feminist goals was recognised early in the liberation movement, it is only after the transition to democracy in 1994 that we see progressive legislation and policies addressing feminist concerns. As this paper argues, achieving feminist objectives needs to move from paper to practice.

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JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies. ISSN: 1530-5686 (online).
Editors: Nkiru Nzegwu; Book Editor: Mary Dillard.

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