Thando Gumede, Nyiko Shikwambane, Kgomotso Matsunyane and Phinah Kodisang. Piture: Supplied
Thando Gumede, Nyiko Shikwambane, Kgomotso Matsunyane and Phinah Kodisang. Piture: Supplied

Feminist TV series tackles patriarchy and gender violence

By Mpiletso Motumi Time of article published Oct 30, 2020

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Johannesburg - For the next eight Sundays, viewers can tune into a unique South African talk show that will focus on women empowerment.

It’s A Feminist Thing, hosted by Phinah Kodisang, broadcaster Kgomotso Matsunyane as well as activists Thando Gumede and Nyiko Shikwambane, will tackle old and deeply-rooted systems of power that cut across custom, class, culture, politics and religion.

The show, presented by Soul City Institute (SCI), explores violence against women through an intergenerational perspective, and that engages with "patriarchy" not as theory, but as lived reality.

It also explores relationships between women, gives real expression to the ways that women love, support and empower each other, and shows patriarchy’s divisive and destructive power.

The SCI has partnered with SABC Education and the African Women’s Development Fund for the eight-part show.

“There’s nothing quite like it on TV, and we hope that the audience will engage with the issues in a meaningful way that will enable us to find lasting solutions which will make a difference in the ordinary lives of South African women.

“We intend to spark conversations and hope families will watch the show together and take the conversation further in their homes,” said Matsunyane.

The format of the show will include eight thought-provoking public service announcements (PSAs) produced by StoryBoard Productions under the leadership of Pelisa Norman.

The PSAs are 1-minute films that will be exploring rape, domestic violence, patriarchy, religion and custom, among others - in a hard-hitting and provocative manner.

They will be aired at the beginning and end of each episode.

“I’m proud to be a leader of an organisation that continues to reassess and realign its work, remains relevant, and continues to do ground-breaking work that influences and shapes the lives of millions of children, adults and communities in South Africa and the continent.

“I look forward to conversations that will be sparked by It’s A Feminist Thing,” said chief executive Kodisang.

She said the show would deliberately avoid political correctness, quashing dissent, or "male-bashing" and deal with the complex issues driving violence in a way that raises debate and challenges audiences to rethink harmful and deep-seated attitudes and beliefs.

“The SCI believes gender equality is the tide that lifts all boats. We will achieve justice when we confront deeply-rooted narratives that prop up patriarchy and drive violence,” she said.

Kodisang added that the talk show was inspired by women’s rage and the spontaneous uprising of young women galvanised into action by the low-grade civil war being waged on the bodies of women, girls and gender-non-conforming people.

“The show was catalysed by the feminist revolution that took shape as the #TheTotalShutdown, the #SandtonShutdown, and in the protests of women after a 19-year-old University of Cape Town student was tortured, raped and murdered in a Post Office.”

The Star

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