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Special Edition RALF Newsletter: African Feminist Standpoint Issue #5

Welcome to Issue #5: The Cost of Freedom

Welcome to issue 5 of the African Feminist Standpoint!

The Cost of Freedom

In November 2018 CAL launched the very first issue of the African Feminist Standpoint. Aptly called issue #0 – we published content that was produced during CALs’ 10th anniversary in 2015 – content that looked back at where CAL had come from, the politics that had driven her and the politics she hoped would carry her into the future. This issue grounded what we hoped the AFS would become, a space for feminist exploration, reflection and analysis. Over the last four years we have worked with very many wonderful feminist activists and thought leaders to explore themes and issues that are important to us and the movements we create. 

This issue is no different – 

And yet quite different. 

No issue is ever necessarily plain sailing 🙂 and no issue has turned out quite the way we planned. And we are quite well versed in the ebb and flow of synchronising ideas, ideals and deadlines. This issue, though, did challenge this ease we thought we had mastered. There was definitely more ebb than flow and a lot more tension than ease – at least until the very end when everything seemed to come together quite quickly and seamlessly.

In hindsight this makes a lot of sense. It’s safe to say that we at CAL, and the African Feminist Standpoint are much more comfortable in conversations around bodily autonomy, sexuality and violence. CAL was very much borne out of a body and sexuality politic – necessarily and understandably so. And much like the reflections you will find in issue #0, we are constantly revising and critiquing our politics and ways of working so we can adequately respond to changing contexts and fully participate in expanding dreams of feminist futures. So it becomes an important exercise to stand in some discomfort as we expand our analyses. 

And that is exactly what we did with this Issue #5: the cost of freedom – a space where we explored economic justice with wonderful contributors. 

In this special edition of the RALF Newsletter we bring you some of what you can expect to find in this latest offering of the AFS

Economic Justice and Feminist Alternatives

“To be able to assess whether one must destroy or submit out of necessity, one must have full knowledge of the table’s inner workings and who it ultimately intends to serve because if not you and I, then who?” – Siphiwe

To be feminist is to see what’s purposefully hidden and to then dream of something different. In their pieces on feminist economics and COVID-19; feminist economic alternatives and, feminist economics for building sustainable and egalitarian communities Cameron Perumal, Siphiwe and Shinta Jennifer Ayebazibwe walk us through mainstream economics, the inequality and violence implicit in such frameworks and then help us to dream about radical and transformative alternatives. 

The Odes to Mambokadzi

In The Odes to Mambokadzi, Chido Muparutsa reminds us to revive the idea of common good as a form of personal and political resistance; a way of connecting us to our past, the present and fostering a sense of care and community with future people.

“In centering our collective feminist power, pleasure, care and leaning into the African philosophical thinking of communitarianism, these odes are a hopeful and radical address of transformative justice and give praise to a plausible bridge we can co-create from where in our current economies to a world where we can all enjoy our economic, sexual and political autonomy.”

Queer and Eco-Feminist Alternatives 

In Shifting Zimbabwe’s vision 2030 beyond predatory extraction : Feminist Alternatives to Development Chido Nyaruwata analyses Zimbabwe’s Vision 2030 using an Eco-Feminist lens. Chido acknowledges the language and intent behind Vision 2030 may seem progressive but is also aware of the cooption of feminist language by states and state institutions. 

In Economic Justice: A Queer Perspective Sandiso Dladla gives us a clear picture of what social, economic, political and cultural rights actually mean and how states prioritise a certain set of rights over others to the detriment of marginalised populations. 

 Closer to home

Mainstream economics can seem ‘out there’ as a framework, something outside of ourselves and our communities – a topic rather for the professionals, governments and the banks. Feminist economics help us to bridge this gap and helps us understand the personal and intimate effects of economic frameworks on our everyday individual lives. Tash Dowell, Amanda Hodgeson and Nozizwe Ntesang, in their personal essays, help to bring feminist economic frameworks closer to home. 

In Fighting Broke Tash talks about funding for women’s rights and asks how the funding relationship between the donor and the organisation replicates the very structures of oppression that we hope our work will dismantle – does the relationship even promote a dismantling of anything or are our efforts being intentionally thwarted?

In Out with the stock exchange, in with the stokvels sustaining society, Nozizwe adds an air of nostalgia as she takes us back to Sunday stokvels and “communal practices rooted in ubuntu and the importance of solidarity and community” 

In Love? What’s money got to do with it? And many other questions Amanda launches an inquiry into the intricacies of love and money and the importance of realising how capitalist values creep into our ideas and ideals of love and partnership. 

 The poetry of it all

We also have some wonderful offerings of poetry from Donna: 

When the Debt Collectors call
On leaving my job

Read these and other wonderful contributions in this issue of The African Feminist Standpoint