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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Gender Myths and Citizenship in Two Autobiographies by South African Women
Author:Lewis, DesireeISNI
Periodical:Agenda: Empowering Women for Gender Equity
Geographic term:South Africa
Ethnic and Race Relations
Equality and Liberation
About persons:Mamphela RampheleISNI
Ellen Kate Kuzwayo (1914-2006)ISNI
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10130950.1999.9675735
Abstract:Citizenship is usually explained only in terms of legal and formal rights, implying rights to individual freedom, justice, the exercise of political power, etc. But citizenship also confers 'belonging' and embeds the notion of recognizing individuals' social standing. This article explores popularised definitions of women's 'belonging' in the nation as this defines their citizenship. It considers how in South Africa the anti-apartheid struggle's legacy of defining women in relation to the community and nation has reinforced traditions in which women's citizenship is mediated by their subordination to men and their symbolic roles. This is done by analysing two autobiographies, Ellen Kuzwayo's 'Call me woman' (1985) and Mamphela Ramphele's 'A life' (1995). Dealing with major political struggles and events from the 1960s, both autobiographies deal primarily with the apartheid context of black struggles for political participation and civil rights. It is precisely by exploring this period that the texts point to a legacy which continues to shape popular perceptions of women-in-the-nation, of women as citizens. In their representations of motherhood, the family and marriage, the texts reveal pivotal ways in which women's citizenship is mediated. Bibliogr., notes.