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Guerrillas and Combative Mothers Women and the Armed Struggle in South Africa

October 11, 2023 at 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM

Audience:Anyone, Carleton Community, Staff and Faculty
Key Contact:African Studies
Contact Phone:613 520 2600 ext. 2270

Author: Siphokazi Magadla, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Political and International Studies at Rhodes University.


Pumla Dineo Gqola, Research Professor at the Centre for Women and Gender Studies and Chair for African Feminist Imagination, Nelson Mandela University.
Rachel Sandwell: Assistant Professor, Cornell University


Shireen Hassim, Canada150 Research Chair in Gender and African Politics, Carleton University

Guerrillas and Combative Mothers is a narrative of women participating in the armed struggle against apartheid from 1961 to 1994 and their lives in a democratic South Africa. Focusing on their agency, commitment, beliefs and actions, it describes how women got politicized and the decisions and circumstances that led them to join the armed struggle in South Africa and exile.

Siphokazi Magadla discusses the forms of military training they received, the combat activities and their transformation as women and soldiers. Magadla also talks about their participation in the South African National Defence Force-led demobilization process and their contributions to the democratic transformation of the SANDF. By illuminating the different eras and arenas of their participation, this book shows the broadness of the armed struggle against apartheid as a historical truth and as a matter of gender equality and justice for an inclusive and more democratic future.