Living While Feminist is a podcast in celebration of living a feminist life. Each week it features feminists from South Africa and the world to hear about and to draw from their experiences to embolden our own.
Hosted by feminist author, writer, and researcher, Jen Thorpe.
S2, E4: Dawn Garisch - The importance of creative practice for feminism and healing
Today on the podcast I’m talking with Dawn Garisch – a true contemporary maverick.
Dawn is a medical doctor and a published writer. She has had seven novels, a collection of poetry, short stories, a non-fiction work and a memoir published. She has had five plays and short film produced, and has written for television. Three of her novels have been published in the UK.
This publishing journey has not gone unnoticed. Her poem Blood Delta won the DALRO prize in 2007; her novel Trespass was short-listed for the Commonwealth prize in Africa in 2010; Miracle won the EU Sol Plaatjie Poetry Award in 2011; and What To Do About Ricky won the Short.Sharp.Story competition in 2013. Her novel Accident was long-listed for the Barry Ronge Sunday Times fiction award in 2018.
Her seventh novel, Breaking Milk came out in 2019, and her next collection of poetry Disturbance (taking note) was out in November 2020.
She is part of the medical humanities movement and a founding member of the Life Righting Collective https://www.liferighting.com/where she runs courses in memoir writing and poetry. Dawn is still a practising medical doctor. She lives in Cape Town and has two adult sons.
Her piece in Living While Feminist is called ‘The Risk’ and it explores the difficulty of speaking up when those around you say harmful things. In that piece she says.
“As a child I was taught to ignore conflict, to pretend that everything should be nice and fine. I have rebelled against that, seeking to understand those things that disturb me and the world – trying to stand up for what is right. Yet there are moments when I fail. Moments where I do nothing but quail. There is a trapped bird in me that is afraid to object. How to protest? How to say what needs to be said in order to understand and be understood? Consequences are hard to predict.”
So today I’m going to be talking to Dawn about speaking up, about writing as healing, and about the Life Righting Collective.
S2, E3: Zangose Tembo - The power of reimagining feminist futures so we can be more human
Today on the podcast I’m talking with Zangose Tembo.
Zangose works in the field of social justice. For the past seven years she’s worked and volunteered for notable social justice/impact organizations including One Young World, Population Council and the Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy (CFFP).
In 2016, she founded The Best of Africa an online media platform that promotes freedom of speech through written and visual content on Africa. The platform has published content 400+ stories from over 150 individuals from 20 countries in Africa and the diaspora. For her work at The Best of Africa, she received recognition through the Young African Leaders Initiative in 2017 and the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme in 2018.
Zangose is a regular contributor on The Best of Africa, and now work independently as a development consultant. She’s exploring new platforms and opportunities to grow as a founder, storyteller and development expert.
Zangose’s piece in Living While Feminist is called Human, and in that piece she says:
“Everyone’s experience is different, but I know that many can relate to being ‘othered’ on a daily basis, based on biological attributes. Through comment and actions that call attention to our skin, body, hair and more, the world reminds us of our race and gender, while questioning our ability to get work done."
So today I’m going to be talking with Zangose about what it means to be human, and who we have to convince that this should be a position we can all occupy.
S2, E2: Juanita De Villiers - Neurodiversity, food justice, the power of queerness, and gothic fiction
Today on the podcast I talk to Juanita De Villiers. Juanita is a collector of hobbies and special interests, and a Masters candidate at the University of Cape Town where her thesis focuses on contemporary gothic literature. Juanita is a massive horror enthusiast, in the process of starting a horror podcast and has a horror Instagram account already. She is currently working on a chapter about autism, folklore and horror cinema.
Juanita describes herself as a ‘queer cat mom cliché’ and as passionate about animal rights and food justice.
She is also a vegan and passionate about animal rights and food justice.
Juanita’s piece in Living While Feminist is called ‘Finding the Average: Neurodivergence, Queerness and ‘Fitting In’. In that piece she says:
“I am a confluence of things that would not fit in. It’s why I hold the label ‘queer’ so dear. I am queer, I am odd. I am out of place no matter where I go. My body will not shrink to fit, and it will not grow to the size that allows me to claim ‘fat’ as a title of honour. I was an outcast at school, quirky as a young adult. I couldn’t curtail myself properly.”
So today I talk with Juanita about body projects, body comfort, and neurodivergence.
SEASON 2 - EPISODE 1 - Relebone Rirhandzu eAfrika - The importance of sisterhood and writing our stories
Today on the podcast I’m talking to Relebone Rirhandzu eAfrika. Relebone is a who is a Tzaneen-born, Makhanda-bred, Joburg-buttered writer. She describes herself as the awkward girl who brings a book to a party but dreams of opening the dance circle.
Relebone won the Blackbird Books / Casa Lorde residency in 2019. She was the social media manager for the Abantu Book festival in 2018, and works as a copywriter and proof-reader.
Her piece in Living While Feminist is called ‘A Salute to Sisterhood: On the Substance of Black Women’s Silent Revolution’ and explores the language, solidarity, the influence of our mothers, and the importance of building a community that understands you. In her piece she says:
“The centre of women’s organising, the whole point of it, is to lift a sister up. To create and escape. To further society … In the workplace and in less professional spaces, sisterhood carries us all through.”
So today I’ll talking with Relebone about all of these topics, and about her journey to becoming a feminist. Follow her on Twitter https://twitter.com/Relebone_
S1 BONUS! - Manage Your Money Like a F*****g Feminist with Sam Beckbessinger
Today on the podcast I’m talking with Sam Beckbessinger.
Sam is the bestselling author of Manage Your Money Like a F*****g Grownup – a guide to help you take control of your money so you can take control of your life.
As her website says “You’re going to earn plenty of money over your lifetime. Are you going to waste it on stupid crap that doesn’t make you happy, or let it buy your freedom and your most audacious dreams?”
In 2020, Sam produced a second version of the book – Manage your Money Like a Grownup – a guide for teens.
But writing about money is not the only writing that Sam does.
She was one of the writers on Serial Box’s and Marvel’s Jessica Jones: Playing With Fire serialized novel. She's also written several episodes for animated kids’ TV show, Team Jay, commissioned by the Juventus Soccer Club and produced and animated by Sunrise Productions, and the family-friendly comedy series Jungle Beat, which has been broadcast in over 180 countries on channels including Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon.
She is co-writing Magpies, a mystery-suspense novel about missing girls who come back, changed, together with Dale Halvorsen (who listeners may know as the extremely talented designer – Joey Hifi).
Sam was a Mandela Washington Fellow for Young African Leaders at Yale University in 2014, and is a partner and co-founder of two financial technology businesses. She also helps people learn to adult better via her website – LikeaFuckingGrownUp.com
In the intro to Manage Your Money Like A F*****g Grownup Sam says:
“We never get an instruction manual about how money work. We never have to pass a test to get our Money License before we can take a new credit card for a drive. Most of what we learn about money comes from advertising or from other people who know as little as we do. No wonder we make such basic mistakes. No wonder we feel disempowered and scared. No wonder so many of us just decide to stick our heads in the damn sand and never deal with it….
You gain control by being more conscious of your choices …Being in control of your money is about making those choices more deliberately because, if you don’t, you’ll end up spending it all on the advertisers’ ideas about what makes a good life.”
S1, E10: Helen Moffett - Investigating feminist silences around infertility.
Today on the podcast I talk to Helen Moffett about reproductive justice, medical misogyny, and reimagining stories.
Helen Moffett is an author, editor, academic and activist. Her publications include university textbooks, a treasury of landscape writings (Lovely Beyond Any Singing), a cricket book (with Tim Noakes and the late Bob Woolmer), an animal charity anthology (Stray, with Diane Awerbuck) and the Girl Walks In erotica series (with Sarah Lotz and Paige Nick). She has also published two poetry collections – Strange Fruit (Modjaji Books) and Prunings (uHlanga Press), with the latter winning the 2017 SALA prize for poetry. She has edited the last three Short Story Day Africa anthologies, Migrations, ID and Hotel Africa. She has written a memoir of Rape Crisis, and two green handbooks: 101 Water-wise Ways and Wise About Waste: 150+ ways to help the planet. Her first novel, Charlotte (a Pride & Prejudice sequel), was published by Bonnier in the UK in 2020.
Helen’s piece in Living While Feminist, it titled Crones and Witches: This Invisible Body and it focuses on how the discovery of feminist language assisted her in understanding her experiences with the sexual and reproductive health medical community and how feminist silences around infertility and early menopause still remain. She says in her piece:
"Feminism gave me a way through the mess, on every level … all through my twenties, it provided a lifejacket, a Kevlar vest, weapons and warm blankets as I battled sexual violence, career-altering workplace sexual harassment, overt discrimination and sexism in medical settings. It legitimised my anger, gave me words and energy, fuelled me…Feminism did not just give me a map for my life; it saved my life, too."