by Mardiya Siba Yahaya
Writing the Self, Re-telling and Positioning
Surfacing is an anthology that unravels, expands and rebuilds feminist practices as we know them.The book highlights the realities and thoughts of South African feminists and actively makes use of “writing the self” (Baderoon 2015) as a literary tool, but is not limited to it. Surfacing challenges its readers to consider ways their own distinctive and intersecting identifications may hold multiple contradictions, and how they shape our lives, experiences and environment. The compilation also explores shifting power structures and ways feminists in South Africa resist and diagnose normative capitalist and patriarchal dominance.
According to Desiree Lewis and Gabeba Baderoon (2021), the book is motivated by a need to address omissions and fractures in knowledge, especially within the feminist literature of black South African women. This collection gives feminists the space to “recover” narratives of iconic women figures while identifying themselves within a “range of possibilities of blackness” (Lewis and Baderoon 2021, 3). The book begins with Sisonke Msimang’s (2021, 15-27) essay on “Winnie Mandela’s Archive”, explaining the patriarchal hijacking of Winnie’s story and Msimang’s mission to redeem her history through the biography. Msimang’s piece focuses on what women lose when sexist narratives strangle our real-life stories and categorise us as monolithic instead of complex beings. Hence, embarking on the journey to redeem Winnie Mandela’s narrative is her way of recovering history.
Read the full article below or download HERE10.FA_2023_Vol4.2-Book-Review_-Yahaya