In this article, I agree with Nyanungo’s perspective by challenging cultural expectations and their sometimes contradictory actions; examining the imbalance between the disciplinarian and caring roles that cultural mothers have.

In my feminist lifespan (both as a self-naming feminist and also as a young girl who knew instinctively that girls didn’t have to wear skirts), I have often struggled with how to speak about female genital mutilation and/or female circumcision. I find myself hampered by the limitations of language in prescribing a framework from which to understand these practices. For each linguistic construction predicates a path within which to think about, talk about and create understandings and meanings for these practices.

By Margaret Chipara and Gibson Ncube - “If we are to free ourselves from the dead weight that has once again been made out of femaleness, it is not ballots or lobbyists or placards that women will need first; it is a new way to see” Naomi Wolf (1990: 19).

I often feel defied by the reflection of my own body when I look in the mirror, because what I see in the mirror brings me to the realisation, whether I am conscious about it or not, that like most young African women I have little or no control over my own body and sexuality.

Fashion is viewed by some as retrograde, profligate, superficial, even anti-feminist, while others have a deep passion for fashion and describe themselves as ‘fashion addicts’ or ‘fashion junkies’. Fashion – being a largely female dominated sphere – generally affects women’s lives more than it does men’s. Drawing on Erik Erikson’s theory of development and identity formation in which an individual’s development spans his or her lifetime, this paper explores the different ways in which women’s identities are shaped by, and expressed through, fashion.

The latest edition of Buwa! is out now focussing on Feminism and Culture in southern Africa with great articles from across the region

Latest BUWA! is out

Leah (not her real name)’s parents were born in Malawi and emigrated to Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) in search of greener pastures in the early 1970s. They got married in Zimbabwe through an arranged marriage union. Her father was 15 years older than her mother and had left a family back in Mangochi in Malawi. He started his new family in Zimbabwe and as he was a practicing Muslim, Leah became Muslim by default. During the early years of her life, Leah could not distinguish between religion and culture as the two are often intertwined.

Over recent years, the Festival has provided an unprecedented opportunity for organisations and networks of young women to convene and share strategies and critical information about young women’s lives across southern Africa - and to do so in a space that's safe.

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