Afems 2017

Afems 2017: Six Mountains on her Back: (Re)Thinking African Feminisms

In 2017, the first Afems Colloquium entitled Six Mountains on her Back: (Re)Thinking African Feminisms was held on the 21st and 22nd July 2017 as a collaboration between Finding Africa (Thando Njovane), the Rhodes University Department of Literary Studies in English (Dr Lynda Gichanda Spencer), and Fine Art (Dr Sharlene Khan and the Art on our Mind Research team). Although planned as just a one day symposium, the overwhelming number of presentation local and international applications required its development into a two day full colloquium. Twenty-nine papers were presented, and the colloquium was attended by over 100 people. The keynote was presented by Dr Danai Mupotsa on “Feminism is Sensational”.

The colloquium also hosted a two hour creative dialogue Thinking Through, Talking Back: Creative Theorisation as Sites of Praxis-Theoryhosted by Dr Sharlene Khan with Prof Pumla Gqola, Dr Yvette Abrahams, Dr Betty Govinden and Prof Neelika Jayawardane. Dr Sharlene Khan also launched her artist book I Make Art (2017), with a reading of poetry by Dr Betty Govinden and a performance by Siphokazi Jonas. The evening also featured the opening of the exhibition Being Here, Becoming Her curated by Refilwe Nkomo and Thato Mogotsi of the !Kauru Contemporary Collective (and co-curated by Ms Buhle Siwendu and Dr Sharlene Khan). The exhibition showcased African women artists from across the continent, staff and students from Rhodes University. The colloquium was videoed and all material made available online on Facebook. The project was funded by the National Research Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Rhodes University.