Creative Dialogues and African Feminisms Conference postponed to 2021
The African Feminisms Conferences (Afems) are yearly Humanities and Social Science conferences hosted collaboratively by Rhodes University’s Prof Lynda Gichanda Spencer (and the Urban Connections in African Popular Imaginaries (UCAPI) research project), based at the Department of Literary Studies in English, and Prof Sharlene Khan (with the Art on our Mind research project) at Wits School of the Arts.
Afems Digital Events July-September 2020
Cape Town, 30 June 2020
Dear AFEMS Community,
We trust this finds you well notwithstanding this moment we collectively find ourselves in. Our breath is now more than ever at the forefront of conversations. Fighting to breathe in the unequal struggle against COVID, protecting our breath as a preventative act for survival, and the recurring screams, “I can’t breathe,” of black bodies fighting for their right to exist in an antiblack world, are foremost in the safeguarding and upholding of black life. We trust that between Zoom meetings, the economic fallout of the pandemic, and all else you deal with in your life you are taking time to breathe deeply because breathing too, is activism and radical healing.
In this moment of collective anguish and activism, Kharnita Mohamed’s ( AFEMS 2019) words resonate: “There is something about this moment, about the intensity and intensification of violence we cannot hide from, we cannot rest from, retreat from. Not that we ever could, not if we were alert to the world.” The coronavirus felt like a collective trauma until we recognized the longstanding social violence that predisposes some to infection and death; until we were crudely reminded that black bodies continue to experience extrajudicial punishment by the police, and that womxn’s bodies continue to be found in ditches or hung on trees.
We invite you to join the AFEMS 2020 virtual community in reflecting on the refusals of this moment and in choosing feminist healing. Our online interventions are inspired by Mmatshilo Motsei when she writes:
“I choose not to throw up my arms in desperation asking the question: Baba senzani na? [ What have we done?]. Instead, I choose to raise my arms in gratitude ready to receive divine […] feminist opportunities ushered in by the era, of the moment.”
1. #AFEMSMoments – July, August, and September 2020:
Reminding that this moment connects to ongoing feminist activism and reflection, we will share a selection of insightful ( and hopefully inspirational) clips from earlier African Feminisms (Afems) meetings on Facebook (www.facebook.com/africanfeminisms), YouTube (Afems African Feminisms Conference), Twitter (@afemsconference), Instagram (@afemsconference) and the AFEMS website.
2. AFEMS Digital Healing Circle – 17th September 2020:
Facilitated by Mmatshilo Motsei, this Zoom event will include a webinar, breakout sessions, a creative performance, and a feminist wine down. We will share registration information for the digital Zoom event on all our platforms by the end of August 2020.
To be Black, to be womxn, to be non-binary in this world is to live in refusal, in resilience, in a state of continuing to claim our breath. What supports your continued breathing through this moment?
We are excited to be in community with you and look forward to your engagement.
The AFEMS Committee