Akcay, AhmetSait

Enigmatic Phase of Past and Present: Reading Modernist African Poetry

In this presentation, I will discuss the ways in which Christopher Okigbo and Dambudzo Marechera deal with the wounds of the past, and how the past becomes the main figure in constituting the modern self in modernist poetry. As the past in the postcolonial poetry never entails a pure essence, it has to be reconstructed through poetry. Using Dominick LaCapra’s distinction between loss and absence, I illustrate the poets treatment of the scars of the past in different ways. While Okigbo illustrates his own project of the past through resurrection of spirituality, Marechera demonstrates the past as a loss which creates a melancholic state of mind and leads to traumatic consequences.


Ahmet Sait Akcay is an African Studies scholar, literary critic, and doctoral candidate in African Studies , and research fellow at HUMA, UCT. He received a BA in Comparative Literature from Istanbul Bilgi University and an MA in History from Yildiz Technical University, Turkey. He also completed an MPhil degree in African Studies at the University of Cape Town, focusing on modernist African poetry. In his PhD dissertation project, he examines the question of hospitality and spatiality in Nuruddin Farah’s novels. Akcay has authored five short story collections and three critical books, including Reading Orhan Pamuk: The Impossible Allegories of Reading, Houris in Mind: A Critical Analysis to Islamic Populist Culture, and Modern African Literature in Turkish.

Alhadeff, Lara

Rewriting Nomonde Calata: A critical analysis of Lukhanyo and Abigail Calatas My Father Died for This

Following the dismantling of apartheid South Africa, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was celebrated for its focus on retributive justice and amnesty following the wake of apartheid violence. However, the TRC has similarly been criticized for its limited scope, focusing on violence concerning death and torture, undermining the everyday violence to which Black people were exposed as well as the enduring nature of trauma. Critics such as Annie E. Coombes and Erin Holliday-Kare have noted the TRC’s gendered narrative, privileging male stories of activism and consequent death over women’s experiences of activism and victimization during the apartheid era. Many women testified on behalf of their deceased male relatives. However, the limited scope of the definition of gross violations to human rights meant that these same women were not afforded the space to testify to their own experiences. This paper focuses on Lukhanyo and Abigail Calata’s memoir My Father Died for This (2018), that concerns the context surrounding the death of Lukhanyo’s father, Fort Danial Nqaba Calata, one of the Cradock Four. I argue that the depiction of Nomonde Calata as an anti-apartheid activist, a victim of substantial police brutality, a widow, and a mother provides an holistic portrayal of a women who was reduced to a signature wail during her TRC testimony. The memoir’s inclusion of Nomonde’s lived experiences of resistance offers a powerful disruption of the media’s overemphasis on her cry. The text not only rewrites Nomonde Calata but offers a space to reimagine the role that women played in the transition to a democratic South Africa.


Lara Alhadeff is a Doctor of Philosophy candidate in the English Studies department at Stellenbosch University. Her current research considers the ways in which the literary, in its broad constellation, represent the challenges of living with Fibromyalgia Syndrome in a world designed for the able-bodied. Her previous research reflects on the effects of intergenerational trauma following genocide and atrocity as it is staged in memoir. Accordingly, her research interests are interdisciplinary, with a common intersection in psychoanalysis and the development of the self in relation to vulnerability and lived experience.

Bester (nee Arendse), Danille

The South African Cape Coloured Corps: Consigned to Oblivion?

The South African Cape Coloured Corps officially came into existence for the First World War and was regarded as a colonial project. Despite the integral role played by these Coloured soldiers, their participation in both the World wars and subsequent military history of South Africa has become marginalised and even forgotten. As a result, these Coloured soldiers have not received the recognition or honour earned by war veterans. This paper aims to critically analyse the suppressed history of the South African Cape Coloured Corps by paying attention to their racialized identity as Coloured men. The racial classification of Coloured was created to divide people of colour as part of a divide-and-rule strategy and to facilitate social control in South Africa. The Coloured classification is however argued to be socially constructed and is complicated by experiences of hostility, inferiority, shame and stereotyping. Furthermore, Coloured identity is burdened by the perception that persons with mixed ancestry have inherently negative traits. Since their identity cannot be separated from their silenced history as soldiers, they are caught up in a continuous wounding. By connecting their silenced history as part and parcel of Coloured identity, the paper grapples with the need for repair and why it is essential for social justice. The author argues that it is necessary to facilitate a recognition of that which is lost and may never return, thereby acknowledging their contribution and restoring dignity to both the veterans and dependents of the South African Cape Coloured Corps. Revisiting the history of the South African Cape Coloured Corps is thus a resistance against being consigned to oblivion.


Danille Elize Bester (nee Arendse) is currently funded under the NIHSS/SU prestigious postdoctoral fellowship. She obtained a BA (psychology), BA Honours degree (Psychology) and MA (Research Psychology) degree from the University of the Western Cape. She joined the SANDF in 2011 as a uniformed member and became employed as a Research Psychologist at the Military Psychological Institute (MPI). She completed her PhD in Psychology at the University of Pretoria in 2018. She holds a Major rank and was the Research Psychology Intern Supervisor and Coordinator at MPI. She is also a Research Associate for the Department of Psychology at the University of Pretoria and an Accredited Conflict Dynamics Mediator. In 2022, Dr Bester was awarded the Diverse Black Africa research grant and travel grant that is affiliated with Michigan State University. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for the Study of the Afterlife of Violence and the Reparative Quest at Stellenbosch University. She has presented and published papers both locally and internationally. Her research interests include ‘Coloured’ identity, mentoring, psychometric assessments, cognitive psychology, psycholinguistics, military, wellbeing, gender and sexuality and decolonial research.

Burris, Greg

Time Bombs: Ghassan Kanafani Between Life and Death


Greg Burris is Program Director and Associate Professor of Media Studies at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, and he is currently a Fellow at the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Study (STIAS). He is the author of The Palestinian Idea: Film, Media, and the Radical Imagination (Temple University, 2019), and his other writings have appeared in such venues as ARTMargins, CineAction, Cinema Journal, Current Affairs, Film Quarterly, The Guardian, Jadaliyya, Middle East Eye, and Quarterly Review of Film and Video, as well as the anthologies Futures of Black Radicalism (Verso,

2017), Global Raciality: Empire, PostColoniality, DeColoniality (Routledge, 2018), and Reel Gender: Palestinian and Israeli Cinema (Bloomsbury, 2022).

Coetzee, Azille

Settler horror, Boer love, and a white future on the land: Reading gender and race in DAM and 8

There is a growing body of feminist scholarship and literature showing that the colonial wound is a sexual wound. In answer to the question ‘what’s race got to do with rape?’, South African feminist scholar Pumla Gqola (2015) answers unequivocally: Everything. Yvette Abrahams (1997) refers to the colonial encounter in South Africa as ‘the genital encounter’ and South African poet Gabeba Baderoon (2018) argues that the South African social system is founded in the epidemic levels of sexual violence that characterised the 176 years of slavery at the Cape. This legacy was clearly present in the regime of apartheid where the regulation of sex was inextricably intertwined with racial ideology and segregation policies, creating an order where racism was highly sexualised and sex was racialised. A core insight emerging from this work is that Western patriarchal technologies of gender differentiation and sexual violence structure the racial categorisation and dehumanisation that define South Africa’s history of slavery, colonialism and apartheid; and that the ongoing project of decolonisation in South Africa requires careful scrutiny of gender norms and systems of gender oppression as a primary site where colonial hierarchies and boundaries are renewed. In this paper I read two contemporary popular culture texts – the series DAM and the film 8 – as examples of what Tuck and Ree term “settler horror.” I use the films to explore the extent to which our sexual lives continue to be permeated by the old violences of slavery, colonialism and apartheid; and how these violences are sustained, repeated, and renewed to safeguard white settler futures on the land.


Azille Coetzee is a postdoctoral researcher at Stellenbosch University. In her work she explores the relationship between gender and race in colonial logic, and the role of gender liberation in the project of decolonisation. Her research is published in various international feminist journals, like Hypatia, Feminist Review, and the European Journal of Women’s Studies. She is the writer of a work of creative non-fiction In My Vel: ’n Reis (2019) in which she explores white Afrikaner identity and national belonging; and a novel Die Teenoorgestelde is Net So Waar (2021), about female friendship, queer love, and alternative modes of kinship.

Croeser, Chan

Phantoms, fears, and the violence of constructing borders: Affect and haunting in “Die huis van die vier winde” and the mythologizing of farm murders.

In this paper I bring “Die huis van die vier winde”, an uncanny Afrikaans short story, written by Eugène Marais and published in 1927 in conversation with Gordonian hauntology and affect theory to explore how it gives notice of the ever-looming spectre of settler colonial violence in South Africa and its far-reaching implications. I explore how this is a haunting which is made manifest through the ghosts born from violence enacted by Afrikaners upon black people over land ownership and property. In the story, distinct affective atmospheres are created that associate the outside space with haunting, blackness and fear. On the other hand, the inside space of the home is associated with Afrikaner whiteness and safety. This distinction constructs and maintains a (false) border between the white Afrikaner self and the imagined fearful black other, but it is also its unmaking. The Afrikaner characters in the story are forced to reckon with the phantoms that are created and precipitated by the violence of constructing such borders that circulate blackness as an object of fear against which the Afrikaner must be protected. I argue that the story critiques and cautions against the outcomes of racial segregation while shedding light on the preceding history of warfare and forcible displacement that shaped and influenced this segregation. By bringing this story in conversation with right-wing mythologizing of so-called farm murders, I consider how the ghosts that permeate “Die huis van die vier winde” still necessarily haunt Afrikaners and remind us that the terror we visited upon black and brown people (in pursuit of land ownership among other things) will return and be visited upon us. Finally, I consider how this haunting persists precisely because the same borders continue to be constructed to maintain Afrikaner identity and land ownership.


Chan Croeser is a writer and literary scholar affiliated with Stellenbosch University. They recently completed their PhD in Comparative Literature. Their dissertation explores the productive possibilities of reading of selected twentieth century Afrikaans uncanny tales and their affective environments from a deviant angle and the queer impulses this might unearth. environments from a deviant angle. They consider how the haunting in these stories remains ever present today. Their research interests pay particular attention to telling queer stories from the margin(s). Chan’s work explores the complex circuits of South African folklore, gender, queerness, affect, whiteness, and spectrality.

Daries, Anell Stacey

Volkekunde Vestiges and Dissident Pasts: The Rise and Shedding of Volkekunde at the University of the Western Cape 1970-1989

David, Stephen T.

Touching Dangerously: Mapping Haptic Negotiations in Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela’s “A Human Being Died that Night”

Stephen T. David is a postdoctoral fellow in the Centre for the Study of the Afterlife of Violence and the Reparative Quest, Stellenbosch University. He holds a PhD in Literature from Stellenbosch University and a master’s degree in African Literature from the University of Ibadan. His research takes the Nigeria-Biafra Civil War and its afterlife as a point of departure in examining the links that exist between nostalgia and political violence in African countries with emotionally charged histories. He is interested in the marginal voices that come to the fore when grand narratives of violence are unsettled by paying attention to the ways in which axes of identity such as gender, class, sexuality, race and dis/ability intersect to generate distinct experiences of violence and trauma. He has won prestigious grants from funders such as Harry Frank Guggenheim, Gerda Henkel, and DAAD.

Grootboom, Lauren

Contextualising Black women’s identity in South Africa through the colonial project and apartheid archive: An intersectional African Feminist analysis of race, class and gender within South Africa’s political history

Black women play a significant role in South Africa’s history while literary accounts of their lived experiences at the intersection of race, gender, and class under colonialism and apartheid are hardly contextualised confining them to the margins of the apartheid national history archive. This research conceptualises their herstographies through centering oral history archives, Black women’s lives experiences, and identities become deeply embedded within the broader social and political systems. Black women have been vocal throughout the apartheid systems through literary accounts that contextualise their lived experiences and how they make sense of their society. Writing against apartheid created avenues for Black women to reconstruct the South African national history archive with their inclusion, making sense of gender roles in the context of oppressive mechanisms of racism, segregation, and neocolonialism. There exists a literary vacuum that fails to effectively contextualise Black women’s silences which is constructed through their erasure and marginalisation. This subverted inferior status prescribed is reflected in the literary vacuum that fails to contextualise the intersection of race, class, and gender under oppressive systems of colonialism and apartheid and continues to police Black women’s emancipation “post-apartheid”. This research therefore writes against apartheid by writing into this literary vacuum on Black women during systems of oppression, not only to find the interconnectedness in hierarchal exclusion constituted through this race and gender marginalisation, but to see how Black women created alternative spaces of resistance and therefore existence. When confronting this silence emphasis is placed on women telling their stories through revisiting the past which offers them a chance to conceptualise their lived experiences to the journey of meaning-making. It is thus fundamental that more research conceptualises this intersection between race, gender, and class in the “post-apartheid” context due to the persistence of structural racial and gendered oppression.


Lauren Grootboom is from KwaLanga in Cape Town. I am currently a Masters in Justice and Transformation candidate in the Political Studies Department at UCT with my research focusing on applying an African Feminist analysis to understanding the effects of Apartheid reclassification on black women and its transgression in the current democratic context. My personal experience of growing up in the Kelin Karoo and township spaces in Cape Town and the matriarchal construction of those spaces informs my efforts to understand how South Africa’s feminised structural inequality and erasure has been intergenerationally transferred and how this contributes to the social economic position black women in South Africa .

Hemson, Crispin and Simóne Plüg

Can education repair? Educating for peace under conditions of trauma

There is ample evidence of the extent of violence that informs our education systems, both physically, structurally and in terms of epistemic violence (Mncube & Harber, 2013; Pérez, 2019). A popular response is to call for peace education in one or other form, but there have been strong criticisms, from a decolonial and critical perspective (Gur Ze’ev, 2005; Palmary, 2015; Davids, 2017; Kester & Cremin, 2017), of the ways in which peace education serves violent ends through imposing a particularly Western framing of peace or allegiance to nation-states, This is a proposal for an oral presentation that draws on a doctoral level, action research study that aims to develop facilitators of challenging dialogues as a means of advancing nonviolence. This study uses a critical paradigm to explore how we can best promote peace through educating teachers (facilitators, academics, school teachers, community educators, etc.). It reflects on key moments of engagement during the programme. For example, a session at which a teacher spoke of his surviving an attempted assassination brought home the immediacy and interconnectedness of trauma, not only his but that of all present. Rather than the positivist emphasis on pushing for peace, we suggest three essential steps: the recognition of ever-present trauma in a society with our history; (2) the need to address the epistemic violence of education fist, instead of assuming that peace education can fit into existing systems and (3) the difficult and complex but essential requirement for creating conditions of safety that enable processes of recovery. In this paper, we will explore critically reflect and explore such issues in relation to the central question: Can education repair?


Crispin Hemson was until recently Director of the International Centre of Nonviolence (ICON) at Durban University of Technology and is now an Adjunct Lecturer in ICON. He was previously Head of the School of Education at the University of Natal. He is currently researching how we can best develop educators in both formal and nonformal contexts with the capacity to advance peace in a violent society. He is also an active environmentalist.

Joseph, Joy

Stinging Bees” in Omawumi Edward’s The Echo of my Piercing Scream: Chikenye Okonjo Ogunyemi’s Womanist Perspective


Joy Joseph is a teacher, researcher, translator/interpreter and a script writer. Dr Joseph is currently funded under the NIHSS/SU Prestigious Postdoctoral Fellowship. She has lectured at the Obafemi Awolowo University (Nigeria) for more than ten years and speaks more than six languages: English, French, Chinese, Yoruba, Igbo, Edo, German and conversational IsiXhosa. A published and an engaged scholar in Gender Studies /African literature, she is a strong voice against the oppression of women. Dr Joseph was the keynote speaker to the 8th Istanbul Scientific Research Congress, (March 2022) is a scientific organizer and has presented several papers both locally and internationally; ICONSOS academic network (USA, 2019), 4th International New York Academic Congress (January 2022), 4th International Congress on Life, Social Sciences and Health Sciences, (February 2022), etc. Dr Joseph has won several distinctions and awards such as the Chinese Government Scholarship award (2007) and the NIHSS Scholarship award (2017).

Kagee, Ashraf

Mental Health and Human Rights in Gaza


Ashraf Kagee is Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Stellenbosch University, co-Director of the Alan Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health, and a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa. His research has focused on common mental disorders among persons living with HIV, psychological and structural factors influencing adherence to antiretroviral therapy, and public mental health. Professor Kagee serves on the Board of Trustees of the Trauma Centre for Survivors of Violence and Torture in Cape Town and does capacity building work at the Gaza Community Mental Health Centre in Gaza, Palestine.

Komane, Kgomotso

The Reconstruction of African Women in Peace Processes: Using An Intersectional Decolonial Feminist Perspective

Peace processes have witnessed low levels of participation of women. Existing literature ascribes this to prevailing patriarchal environments, cultural norms and gender stereotypes, women’s victimhood of conflict and various other factors. However, this research argues that there are certain aspects such as the existing colonial global structures that are overlooked when addressing the continuous exclusion of women in peace processes. In order to account for global power dynamics that regard global colonial history and racial power, an intersectional decolonial feminist perspective is imperative. It rejects racial dominance and the colonial violence of Eurocentric epistemological and ontological macro narratives (Mignolo, 2007; Lugones 2007; Patil, 2013). For example, it shifts narrow focus on women in Global North and incorporates the experiences of women from the Global South. As a result, it negates violating the fundamental principles it was built on, namely of representing the voices of the marginalized. An intersectional decolonial feminist perspective takes into account taking into account the historical, socio- economic and geo-political reality of transnational women (Lugones, 2010; Schiwy, 2007). It promotes the need to investigate power structures that exist in society and why they are resistant to change. Existing literature does not acknowledge gender minorities, intersecting identities, and structural inequalities. The failure to acknowledge this perpetuates and persists, as do the barriers to women’s meaningful participation in peace processes as well as ensuring an inclusive, holistic approach that takes into account gender minorities and intersecting identities and what contributions they can make in peace processes and ultimately to fostering lasting peace.

Kona, Bongani

Were the silences as great as you imagined?’: Notes on a photograph

How does one bear witness to crimes perpetrated in clandestine jails and low-lit rooms where torture is inflicted? How does one write about authoritarian state practices concealed from view? How does one mourn the ‘disappeared’ – the dead who are not acknowledged as such? Drawing inspiration from the imaginative experiments enacted in Nona Fernández’s novel, The Twilight Zone, this essay uses a single photograph – of a plainclothes policeman looking into the distance – to open a portal into the dark ‘places that archives can’t reach.’ It uses a single photograph to take the measure of Zimbabwe’s turbulent post-colonial history and the waves of state-sponsored violence the country has witnessed, from the Gukurahundi massacres in Matabeleland and the Midlands in the 1980s to the wide-spread human rights violations that followed in the wake of the 2008 elections. Through its poetics, the text also argues for a break with conventional modes of writing not only as way of contending with such violence but as itself a practice of repair. Of mourning.

Kruger, Erika and Ramonaheng, Seithati

Pain is a call to action. But who needs to act to effect healing?

Pain is a call to action. Physiologically, it is a brain function compelling us to tend to tissue damage in the body-mind. Rub the bruise, cover the abrasion, stitch up the laceration. Though not always visually obvious, psychic pain experiences can reach intolerable intensity, and will also not be ignored. Our history and the persisting fall-out of colonial violence continues to cause pain. While others in a caring or a therapeutic relationship (human interactions that are itself steeped in colonial power, logic and dominance) can minister to the wounded, the process of healing starts from within. Does this negate the need to hold to account the individuals and communities responsible for the pain? In this presentation two women, one from the former colonised community and the other from the former coloniser community engage in an on-going dialogue to share and interrogate their experiences, expectations and the requirements for reparation that may bring about healing. We start with the question: Does the former colonised need the former coloniser’s involvement to heal and mitigate the legacies of race, gender and class which, like the biofilm of a colonised wound in the body, has degenerated into systemic infection? In our conversations via e-mail, Zoom and otherwise, we seek to understanding and engage issues that affect personal and broader social relationships. As an ongoing conversation between women, this presentation is vignette, a time slice of our lives and the search for a way towards homeostasis, not fully healed but always healing.


Erika Kruger is a research associate at the University of the Free State’s Office for International Affairs. She holds an M.Phil. degree in education from University of Johannesburg and her research focuses on personal and professional wellbeing in South Africa‘s divergent, but entangled, ontologies informing formal economic, health and educational contexts and the lived experience of people. Her work explores the effect of the tension between neoliberal emphasis on development, competition and individualisation, and the philosophy of Ubuntu and the indigenous communal system of students’ and employee’s social organisation. She has presented and published internationally and delights in strategising to incorporate simple, sustainable self-care skills into their lives to benefit the individual, the community and the organisation.

Seithati Ramonaheng is a passionate problem solver with an MPhil in Africa Studies from the University of the Free State. Her research interests include culture, identity, sacred spaces, pilgrimages, and spirituality. She is currently a PhD candidate in Anthropology at the University of Zululand. As a dedicated social scientist, she strives towards inclusivity, empowerment, and education. Her line of work revolves around international students’ administration and immigration where she ensures the compliance of international students. With the experience she has in Higher Education, Seithati aspires to be a holistic internationalisation practitioner who advocates for the recognition of African scholars.

le Roux, Nicole

Oranjezicht Water Story: Tracing Knowledge Production & Resistance to the Colonial Wound

In this talk I will discuss resistances to spatial and structural racial exclusion through stories of water in Oranjezicht, Cape Town. My analysis is informed by the research I am currently conducting as part of a year-long ethnographic study with an LGBT shelter based in Oranjezicht. I will show what water stories are told, how they are told, and what impact this has on present-day narratives of safety, exclusion and access. I argue that thinking with storytelling as method and with water as a geographically grounded metaphor provides a theoretical space for tracing the role of knowledge production and representation in maintaining and justifying the colonial wound. Furthermore, I argue that water can elucidate the less obvious, often underground pathways, of resistance and potential re-presentation in relation to the persistence of spatial and economic exclusion. To show this I will discuss the early colonial seizing of water in the region, how water has been an important site of control, what happened to water access and where it could not be controlled, and how current day struggles of the unhoused are still impacted in relation to water. The water stories I will share draw from archival data about rivers and reservoirs – mayoral minutes, city reports, and so on. To do so I will analyze memorials and public literature about heritage and parks in the neighborhoud: how they are used and what information they purposefully exclude. Finally, I will discuss what this might contribute to thinking about the systemically transformative potential of historical and present day strategies of remembering and memorializing as well as strategies of forgetting and of choosing silence. My talk will bring into conversation recent South African decolonizing scholarship and activism on land history and land rights, South African feminist and queer theoretical scholarship on memory and storytelling, and Cedric Robinson’s analysis of racial capitalism.


Nicole le Roux is a Research Associate at the Gay and Lesbian Archive at Wits University and a PhD candidate in Education at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where they are pursuing a secondary field in Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies. Their PhD research is on heritage laws, land justice, and LGBT+ activism in Cape Town. Their theoretical interests are in post-structural theory, geography, racial capitalism and queer theory from the African continent. They have taught undergraduate courses in trans and queer activism and the history of racialization and sexuality. They hold a master’s degree in international development from Clark University. Prior to pursuing graduate studies in the US, Nicole was based in Cape Town where they co-founded a youth mentorship NGO called “I Am Somebody!”, facilitated storytelling methodologies with various LGBT+ and youth NGOs and served as one of the founding members of the Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition).

Marais, Kylie

Ménage a trois: navigating colonial constraints and sexual subjectivity as contemporary coloured women from Cape Town, South Africa

In South Africa, coloured women’s sexualities / subjectivities emerge out of complex colonial and apartheid histories of racialised sexuality (Robinson, 2013). Caught between representations of both “coloniser” and “colonised,” coloured people serve as unwelcome reminders of past racist and violent sexual conquests. Sex and “race” are thus intimately connected in the construction of coloured sexualities and subjectivities. Today, coloured bodies and subjectivities are no longer confined by discriminatory institutional laws and systems. Instead, ideas of “creolisation” grant legitimacy to coloured subjectivities (Erasmus, 2001). However, our sexualities and subjectivities continue to be “haunted” by colonial legacies in (postcolonial) contexts (Coly, 2019). As subjects gendered as “women” and racialised as “coloured”, we subsequently bear the weight of generational constraints on our sexualities. These constraints make it challenging (but not impossible) to regard ourselves as “sexual beings”. Yet, our sexualities and sexual pleasure are often silenced and rarely researched. For my doctoral research study in feminist anthropology, I conducted individual, in-depth interviews with (self-identified) coloured cisgender women, aged 18 to 40 from Cape Town. I critically examined their subjective meanings and experiences of sex and sexual pleasure, using feminist poststructural discourse analysis to compile their “pleasure narratives”. This paper delves into one womans pleasure narrative, my key informant, Lee. I unpack her various experiences with sexual enculturation, sexual violence, and consensual partnered sex. By examining the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality, I argue that coloured womens sexualities are deeply shaped by not only ideologies of respectability, but also their experiences of (sexual) violence. In essence, colonial legacies continue to haunt our sexual subjectivities. However, as we seek to (re)claim sexual agency, we learn to navigate these challenges over time. In some instances, healing colonial wounds occurs through sexual pleasure and intimacy, helping us transition from being sexual objects to sexual subjects.


Kylie Marais is a feminist anthropologist, pleasure activist, and a PhD candidate at the University of Cape Town. Her doctoral research critically explores the sexual subjectivities of (self-identified) coloured women from Cape Town. As part of her intersectional study, Kylie interviewed fifteen women about their sexual beliefs and experiences, which she compiled into “pleasure narratives”. Through these narratives, she gained intimate insights into how women came to “learn” about sex over time. Kylie is also a proud Pleasure Fellow for The Pleasure Project. She believes that sexual pleasure can act as a powerful tool for healing and (re)claiming sexual agency.

Matiwane, Nosipiwo

How do the intersecting legacies of race, gender and class contribute to an understanding of the colonial condition as a wound?

For Brayson (2019:58), the colonial narrative is not resigned to history, but restructures the temporality of the past, present, and future, which in its socio-epistemic form permeates modes of being in the world. Under this colonial condition, legacies of racism, misogyny, and classism resurface as wounds, as part of the configuration of systems of “radical exclusions” and persist as tools of control for colonial regimes. Thus, as intersectional frames of analysis for the colonial condition, race, gender, and class work to reveal deeply entrenched traumas in the physical, psychological, and spiritual body, as it pertains to the violence imparted by the colonial past. In coloniality, race, gender, and class are constitutive of the strategic use of socially constructed categories as “logics” that render “colonial bodies” visible and invisible under the foundational entanglement of oppression. Under colonial conditions, colonial bodies exist in precarity and in their visibility, are coopted as “instruments of colonial domination” and reveal an enduring political agenda of intergenerational subjugation and violence (Brayson, 2019:64). In their invisibility, colonial bodies are criminalised, for they deviate from white, cis-heteronormative bodies, and in this sense, are wounded through regulatory politics of visibility and invisibility.

Mayisela, Simangele, Stephen Baffour Adjei and Seth Oppong

Dismantling collective transgenerational trauma of corporal punishment in post-colonial African societies

Racism, colonialism, slavery and apartheid have had an unimaginable and pervasive negative effect on the culture, identity and dignity of persons in colonised societies. They have left in their trails meta colonial cognition. One of the vestiges of internalised forms and practices of racism, colonialism and slavery that live on in Africa is corporal punishment. Corporal punishment— the use of physical force or violence as a means of discipline with the intention of causing bodily and psychological pain and discomfort— was a tool used by the colonials or slave masters to subjugate slaves or the colonised, and later internalised by slaves or the colonised as a culturally acceptable tool for ensuring discipline in colonial and postcolonial societies. From the current studies and observations, it is evident that the culture of oppression, through corporal punishment has been internalised collectively, as an attempt for collective mastery of the trauma of colonial whippings, by owning corporal punishment as “our own culture”. This unconscious need for mastery of this trauma perpetuates the continuous repetition of corporal punishment and thus transgenerational trauma of this colonial violence. Intentional exposure to critical colonial history is necessary to awaken the unconscious collective identification of the colonial trauma of corporal punishment.

Motsane Seabela, Motsane

Bulldozing and Violence Disguised in Preservation: Curating the Confiscated Objects at the Ditsong Nation Museum of Cultural History

Largely the earliest national museums were founded from private collections and cabinets of curiosity. Many of these collections enlarged as a result of colonial expansion, imperialism and elitism. At the heart of these museums was the collection and documentation of various cultural objects and specimens claimed to be scholarly and educational depicting values and identities constituting society and cultivated individuals. In this paper I highlight the way in which museums have disguised colonial expansion, disruptions of histories of indigenous people, their traditions and identities through cultural and historical objects being uprooted from their communities of descent. I do so by examining confiscated objects which are indeed objects that were forcefully taken from African communities and have either been documented in the museum accession registers or bearing tags inscriptions emphasizing that they were confiscated and donated to and housed by the State Museum, today Ditsong Museums of South Africa. The paper also suggests an epistemic restitution in that museums should turn to indigenous conservation by exploring dissociation from communities of descent and move away from the obsession with dissociation within museums.


Motsane Getrude Seabela is currently Curator of Anthropology at Ditsong Museums of South Africa. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Heritage and Museums Studies at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Seabela researches the muted narratives pertaining black people in museums and has contributed book chapters and articles researching public museums perpetuating colonial legacies in a democratic South Africa. Her recent creative work includes a co-curated exhibition entitled Inherited Obsessions and seeks to ask questions around the idea of preservation and its purpose. She also deals with attempted erasures and transformation of museums from places entrenched in violence to places of healing. Seabela also is interested in the marginalisation of women in the memory and heritage of the South African liberation struggle.

Naicker, Veeran

Necropolitics and Racialised Trauma: Rewriting Black Consciousness as strategy of repair for the twenty-first century


Veeran Naicker recently obtained his doctorate in Sociology from the University of Cape Town, for a thesis titled, “The Necropolitical Crisis of Racial Subjectivity in the South African Postcolony: Black Technology as a Consciousness of the Self and the Limits of Transformation.” Dr Naicker’s current research into the Necropolitical structure of the Township, racialised trauma and the black body is supported by a prestigious postdoctoral fellowship from the National Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, at Stellenbosch University. His research interests include postcolonial studies, post-structuralism, psychoanalysis, critical theory and the intersections between histories of the Anthropocene, racism, patriarchy and capitalism.

Nazier, Farieda

Arts-based Critical Pedagogy: Artistic socio-education toward healing the wounds of racial trauma

Although 1994 marked the end of 342 years of abject oppression under apartheid and colonialism, ingrained racism continues to hinder the project of transformation. Thirty years on, very little has been done to address the internalized racial trauma that still afflicts millions of South Africans. Given the political nature and sheer scale of the mass atrocities committed, it should be high up on the agenda of the state to address psychological damage caused by oppression. Instead, once the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was concluded, the state closed the book on psychological redress and predominantly focused on economic transformation. The idea of racial trauma-related conditions is by no means new and has been at the center of the work of scholars such as W.E.B Du Bois, Aime Cesaire and Frantz Fanon. But it was in 2004 that Derek Hook first coined the term racial neurosis in his textbook titled Critical Psychology. My Doctoral hypothesis is based on the supposition that Stasis is a manifestation or symptom of racial neuroses. Stasis is a temporal condition that refers to a ‘lack of dynamism’ or ‘moving forward’. In 2019, my Post Present Future art intervention was hosted by the Apartheid Museum (Johannesburg). My main aim with this exhibition was to disrupt representations of stasis in the museum space. The exhibition created a platform for me to engage with museum interlocutors to explore how consciousness-raising could facilitate healing. One of the objectives of this exhibition was to explore my hypothesis: that Art-Based Critical Pedagogy could disrupt stasis by facilitating embedded and affective conscientização. To this end, I propose to offer an art-based workshop (in the medium of collage) at The Colonial Wound and the Practice of Repair colloquium that follows my Art-Based Critical Pedagogic approach developed during my Ph.D. I am interested in furthering the exploration of this approach as part of the colloquium to reflect on and substantiate my thesis, alongside peers within the field.

Ndebele, Makhaola

Cantos of a Life in Exile – Indigenous performance genres as practice towards repair.

Cantos of a Life in Exile is an immersion and engagement with “exile and home”. The personal and political of identity and liberation is key to Ndebele’s work, as is the power of theatre and performance practice, to “assist the exile to inspirit liberatory agency to regain a sense of belonging/home”. The son of academics, Ndebele was brought up, out of Africa. When he returned “home”, he felt an outsider, shut out. “I imagined South Africa to be the place I would find the belonging that I so longed for. But, upon my return, I quickly found that it was more an experience of moving to yet another new place rather than an experience of returning home.”

Ntombela, Nomzamo

Liberation Exile Camps as “Female Fear Factor(ies): Exploring the Politics of Reimagining Violent Histories—a Critical Feminist Lens


Nomzamo Portia Ntombela is a PhD Candidate in Sociology at Stellenbosch University. She holds an MA in African history from Michigan State University, Hons in Social Anthropology and a BA from Stellenbosch University. She is also a Lisa Maskell/PANGEA and an AVReQ doctoral fellow. She currently serves on the executive of the South African Sociological Association and is on the editorial board of the South African Review of Sociology. She has presented various talks and guest lectures, both locally and internationally, on contemporary social justice movements in SA, transitional justice and the history of women’s activism in Africa. Nomzamo was also the first black woman student body President at Stellenbosch University in 2017 and continues to be involved in student organizing efforts.

Palm, Charles

Obscure Stellenbsoch

The natural phenomenon of camera-obscura has been utilised as a scientific tool for studying optics and light since at least 500 BCE. During early student experiments with this medium at S.U., violent shifts within the social order of the 18th century Stellenbosch District were brought to light through the histories of the Stellenbosch Kruithuis Museum. These events motivated a series of creative student interventions directing the lens towards more immediate institutional subjects on Stellenbosch University campus during 2018. The chance discovery of a permanent camera-obscura projection inside the Stellenbosch Kruithuis museum (built in 1777) prompted further research into the building’s historical context. It uncovered obscured histories and ideological discourses in the town of Stellenbosch regarding interactions between the Stellenbosch Krijgsraad commandos and the local Khoe-khoe -/ and San populations. These enquiries illuminated instances of early corporate (social and ecological) externalities in Southern Africa within the broader context of the East-Indian Spice trade and the early development a globalised ‘Western’ hegemony. As the Stellenbosch District of the late 18th century included most of the areas within the current ‘Western Cape’ province, this enquiry provides insights into the mechanisms of early settler expansion and land appropriation throughout this region. It also explores the role and impact of Stellenbosch Krijgsraad commandos with regards to unregulated use and application of V.O.C. armaments. These factors and the primary reasons for the Kruithuis’ existence and its impacts are currently omitted from all official documentation offered to visitors, while the contents of its displays remain unchanged since the apartheid era, emphasising only Stellenbosch settler trauma during the South African War (aka Anglo-Boer War).


Charles Palm is a visual artist from Pniël in the Dwarsrivier Valley, Western Cape. His work responds to the urgency of global conflicts between institutional growth vs. equitable ecological (incl. humyn-) development. These interests resonate from ancestries and local histories woven into the early development of intercontinental trade systems and ecological disruptions across Africa and the Indian Ocean basin. His research-based practice often culminates into site-specific immersive experiences that include camera-obscura installations, light projections, improvisational soundscape performances and sculpture. Institutional catharsis, acceptance and subaltern agency are major threads within his work.

Ramphalile, Molemo and Maxaulane, Gregory

Reconciling Irreparability and Cure: Tending to the Colonial-Apartheid Wound

Progressing from notions of the inextricability of modernity and colonialism wherein the possibility of repair is put into question by the extent to which colonial violence is essential to the foundation and functioning of the modern world, this panel considers different ways in which the idea (and perhaps radical objective) of irreparability can be compatible with the urgent imperative of cure. This particularly in a place like South Africa which not only could be considered a historical settler-colony, but which vividly bears the marks of an apartheid state that intentionally sought to establish a white-supremacist societal logic and culture late into the 20th century. How then is repair truly tenable when institutions and deeply embedded ways of life are structured to reproduce damage, devastation and degeneration? And when the prevalent analytic landscape is undergirded by a rationale that renders this damage, devastation and degeneration as inevitable, intrinsic and innocuous to and in postcolonial regimes? This panel seeks to set concerns of this nature against what is offered us by the traditions of anti-colonial/apartheid resistance and their stance on the machinations of repair essential to building on and from the ruins of colonial modernity. Whether it be the conceptual development of the psychoanalytic subject of death or the Black Islamic subject, the intention is to consider repair in ways that do not accede to the logic of the dominant status quo.


Molemo Ramphalile is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the SARCHi Chair in Gender Studies in the Political Studies department at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. Although primarily trained in Political Science, Molemo’s fields of interest span the Humanities disciplines. He has co-authored several articles including the latest titled ‘Echoes from Africa’: Abdullah Ibrahim’s Black Sonic Geography’ in the Kronos Journal.

Gregory Maxaulane is a lecturer in the Department of Political Studies at the University of Cape Town. He teaches second year and postgraduate courses in social and political theory. His current work focuses on the significance of the concepts of death, madness, and sound in the constitution of the political in the black experience. He is currently editing his two manuscripts titled The Politics of Death in Anti-colonial Praxis and Practices in Myth, Fiction, and Fiction. He has authored two articles titled Reflections on Biko’s Meditations on Death, Fanon on the Dialectic of Madness and Struggle, and co-authored the article titled ‘Echoes from Africa’: Abdullah Ibrahim’s Black Sonic Geography.

Seti, Kitso

Black Here, Black There, Black Everywhere: using theatre to understand what being-black-in-the-world entailed during apartheid South Africa

When a Black person sees a display on stage of a fellow Black person getting killed by a White person, why do they not intervene to stop that killing from happening? One would answer, ‘Because it is just a performance. That Black person is not literally getting killed. It is all an act. Fair enough. Then why does that spectating Black person get a heavy heart when he sees that killing being portrayed on stage? Is it because it is an experience he is familiar to? He has seen his fellow Blacks getting killed in front of his eyes. What does he do about what he sees on stage? What does the play do to his psyche? Richard Schechner, using Goffmans words, argues that the events on stage must be experienced as, what he deems, ‘actual realization: meaning that “the reality of performance is in the performing” (Bennet, 1997:11). Because the violence taking place on stage is only a performance, the spectator does not intervene as he might in an actual violence he would see taking place outside the theatre hall. However, that does not, as Schechner puts it, make the violence ‘less real but ‘different real (Bennet, 1997:11). The imaginary world of theatre is not an entirely ‘unreal world, it is a world based on real occurrences. These real occurrences are taken to the imaginary world with hopes that when they are returned to the real world they will impact it in different ways, in ways set to transform it.

Tjemolane, Leballo

Community wounds are healed by community: An auto-ethnographic approach to religio-cultural narratives and discourses that shape and inform men’s narratives and representation within post-apartheid South Africa.

Many agree that one of the most prevailing conversations since 1994 within South Africa has been that of healing the nation. The racial-based, socially disempowering and under-developing system of apartheid’s aftermath and impact on gendered social dynamics are mostly seen through lived experiences which berate what is captured in the 1996 Constitution of the country. The intersectionality of gender and other socially constructed oppressive systems like race and class is clearly visible in the landscape of South Africa through unjust acts which are seen and experienced on gendered and sexual bases. It is often said that to bring about complete healing, the root of an ill should be treated and not just the symptoms. Research done within the gender landscape of South Africa has shown that there is still a great need to rigorously engage in dialogue where issues of men and masculinities are concerned. Within a context like South Africa, a lot of research still has been done, and a large body of work has been produced, but unhealthy articulations of masculinities and a range of social injustices carried out by men are still prevalent. The actions of men remain a cause for concern and an impediment to social transformation. Informed by my PhD research this paper seeks to highlight the value of a transdisciplinary approach to ascertain our failure to heal the nation in contemporary South Africa in relation to the constitutional right to freedom, equality, gendered and sexual justice. Men’s lived experiences offers a point of entry to identify and engage with the power dynamics present in men’s lives as they navigate between what is called for by the country’s constitution and the norms constructed by and through cultural and religious discourses and narratives. Grounded in auto-ethnographic research methods and collective memory, this paper will employ a postcolonial feminist lens which is a political project of transformation to look at men’s lived experiences and identity politics. The task is to examine ways through which power functions between the political, economic, and social spheres of society. In conclusion, the aim is to create and open spaces for further conversations for a sustainable and visible social transformation which creates better opportunities and new outlooks for all.


Leballo Tjemolane is a researcher and gender advocate with a Philosophy and of Theological background. He holds a Masters in Philosophy of Religion from UKZN with a focus on Religio-Cultural portrayal of masculinities and how these impact on women’s SRHR. His PhD in the Women and Gender Department at University of the Western Cape looks at challenges South African men face in embracing and/or resisting pro-feminist masculinities in post-apartheid South Africa. He worked as a Regional and ITL (iThembalam) Process Coordinated for IAM (Inclusive and Affirming Ministries) where he managed a shelter for GBV victims and victimized members of the LGBTIQ community. He coauthored an article called Inclusivity and the Accreditation of Worker’s Education in the 2020 SAQA publication while working for Ditsela. His other work looks at dismantling toxic masculinity by finding ways of creating space for men to contribute to a gender transformed South Africa.

Tukur, Mubarak

Gambo Sawaba, Women’s Right Struggle and Peacebuilding in Northern Nigeria, 1953-1980

Historically women in Nigeria have fought some of the unpopular harsh colonial economic policies such as taxation as well as right to vote in an election. This paper will examine the important of women’s movement in Northern Nigeria. The struggle of Late Hajia Gambo Sawaba in championing women’s right, fighting colonial social injustice and peacebuilding. First Gambo Sawaba is an astute peacebuilder, a grassroot mobilizer who moves with ideas of Malam Aminu Kano NEPU Leader (Northern Element Progressive Union) a Marxist and leftist ideologist with masses-oriented struggle. Fighting for a century lean religious and conservative cultural believes of women seclusion (Purdah), Gambo Sawaba as the leader of the NEPU women wing leader, embarked on house to house campaign for the expansion of women membership, and also helped in arranging marriages for the unmarried and divorced women among fellow NEPU men. This has made her to be imprisoned several times due to her constant doggedness on speaking truth to power. For example, Gambo Sawaba got inspirations from the Egba women tax revolt in Abeokuta of 1918 as well as the women tax revolt of 1947, was seen as a litmus test of a strong women forces against the imposition of such taxes. The Abeokuta women tax revolt provided one of the significances of the larger history of colonialism, nationalism and decolonization in Nigeria. It is against this background the paper will examines Gambo’s struggle in the anti-colonial and anti-emir’s excessiveness on colonial forced labour towards the poor masses of Northern Nigeria, and follow it up with women’s liberation of the Northern region through peaceful means.


Mubarak Tukur is also Lecturer in the Department of History and Security Studies, Umaru Musa Yar’adua University Katsina, Nigeria. His teaching interests include History of Latin America, History of Modern Nigeria, War and Peace, History of the Middle East and Far East, Gender and Women History. Currently Mubarak is a PhD Student at Makerere University Kampala, funded by the Gerda-Henkel Stiftung. He is currently writing his PhD thesis on “Women and Peacebuilding in Northern Nigeria from 1952-2018”.

Xaba, Wanelisa

In Pursuit of Epistemic healing;` How coloniality in the education system affects the spiritual lives of Black students

In his chapter, Education as Freedom, Rick Turner (1978) critiques the way in which schools socialize learners to conform to rigid ways of being who exist only to obey rules. Turner (1980) also argues that schools in Africa were founded on colonial principles that favored European civilisation. This means that schools, colleges, churches and universities in Africa are sites for the reproduction of coloniality (Ndlovu-Gatsheni, 2010). Debates that have invoked university student citizenship or alienating institutional cultures continuously argue that university cultures are embedded in patriarchy, whiteness and middle-class heteronormativity (Tabensky & Matthews, 2015). The current South African colonial post-Apartheid university (Ratele, 2018), as a heteropatriarchal colonial invention, consequently marginalizes students on the basis of their racial, gendered, sexual or disability identity (Everitt-Penhole & Boonzaier, 2018; Kessi, 2018; McKinney et al, 2018; Munyuki, 2018; Richards et al, 2018; Robertson & Pattman, 2018). The university is often a highly gendered (masculine) and heteronormative space (Bennet & Beja, 2005; Bennett et al., 2007; Hames 2007; Jagessar & Msibi 2015). The less discussed issue, however, is the spiritual impact of coloniality on the souls of Black folk. Much has been written about the psycho-social impact of coloniality. Equally important, is a discussion about how the marginalization of indigenous spiritual knowledges and sciences during colonialism has affected the spiritual lives of Black people. Moreover, I will also discuss how coloniality as a spiritual entity affects the spiritual lives of Black students and how using indigenous feminist methodologies can foster epistemic healing in South African classrooms.


Wanelisa Xaba is a decolonial thinker, storyteller and researcher from `kwaLanga in Cape Town. 18 years ago, Wanelisa Xaba engaged policy makers and the government regarding intervention for orphaned and vulnerable children as a teenage activist. In her undergraduate career at UCT, she was part of a collective called Conscious Conversation which partnered with the Vice Chancellor office to facilitate discussion about race, justice and restitution. She is the founding member of the South African Young Feminist Activists. In 2016, she became a part of the student movements that advocated for decolonization and free education. She holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences and an Honours degree in African studies. She pursued a Masters by research at the University of Cape Town as well. She obtained her PhD in the Women and Gender Studies Department at the University of the Western Cape. Her thesis explored the institutional and spiritual violence(s) of coloniality experienced by Black undergrad students in SA universities. She has also reported and documented LGBTIQ hate crimes in the North West, Limpopo and Gauteng province. She currently conducts workshops and lectures on SOGI, Decoloniality and Intersectionality. She is interested in the spiritual impact of coloniality on Black people and she is interested in decolonial knowledge(s) that promote epistemic healing.