It’s A Feminist Thing Talk Show

It’s A Feminist Thing is an 8-part, uniquely South African talk-show, that captures the zeitgeist of the contemporary South African women’s movement – a feminist which has patriarchy squarely in its sights. The talk-show 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.

It’s A Feminist Thing is 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 who took to the streets after a 19-year-old University of Cape Town student was tortured, raped and murdered in a post-office on the 24th of August 2019.

It’s A Feminist Thing is hosted by Phinah Kodisang, veteran broadcaster Kgomotso Matsunyane, Thando Gumede and Nyiko Shikwambane - an intergenerational group of fiery intersectional feminists who tackle old and deeply-rooted systems of power that cut across custom, class, culture, politics, and religion.


Episode 1: Feminism 101

What is Feminism and why do we need it in S.A.?

This episode takes a look at feminism and the feminist movement in South Africa. What has been achieved and what still needs to be done. This episode answers the question, “why do we all need feminism?”.


  • Table Guest: Gail Smith - Feminist Writer & Journalist
  • Elders Corner Guest: Heidi Grunebaum - Activist & Acting Director at the Centre for Humanities Research, UWC 
  • Allies Corner Guest: Mthetho Tshemese - Clinical Psychologist

Language Term

Feminism: Tumelo mo ditshwanelong le kgololesego ya bomme/basadi


  • Feminism is for everybody. - bell hooks
  • You must never behave as if your life belongs to a man. Your life belongs to you and you alone. - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Take up the battle. Take it up. It's yours. This is your life. This is your world. - Maya Angelou
  • I am a feminist because I am a woman living in a world where if I am not vigilant, I will be erased, exploited or dehumanised. – Siphokazi Mthathi
  • There is a rich tradition of feminism in Africa - it needs to be documented and publicised! – Hakima Abbas
  • Women have found their personal will to stand up and be counted by refusing to be victims and spectators in a world of inequality. – Mabel Ule
  • Women are the people who are going to relieve us from all this oppression and depression...It is the women who are on the street committees educating the people to stand up and protect each other” - Albertina Sisulu

Episode 2: Unpacking Patriarchy

What is Patriarchy and how does it manifest in our day to day lives?

Unpacking patriarchy and the insidious ways it has been built into our societal structures. We look at the different ways in which patriarchy manifests and harms not just women, but men as well.


  • Table Guest: Dr. Vashna Jagarnath - Senior Research Associate, Centre for Social Change, University of Johannesburg.
  • Elders Corner Guest: Barbara Masekela - Political Activist, Poet and educator
  • Allies Corner Guest: Prof. Kopano Ratele - Director, South African Medical Research Council Men, Injury and Violence Research Unit

Language Term

Patriarchy: Tsamaiso kakaretso ya setšhaba, e e fang banna marapo le maatla a go busa le go gatlaka basadi


  • The greatest external threat to women, and by extension humanity, is the growth and acceptance of a misogynistic, authoritarian and violent culture of militarism- Amina Mama
  • When a group has internalised their oppression, they may find themselves unable to imagine living without it - Malebo Sephodi
  • I know that I have the right to be free, and to do what I like. – Aminata Dieye
  • Having more feminists in government and public spaces would change thinking towards a better livelihood for all. – Asma’u Joda
  • I am trying to unlearn many lessons of gender I internalized while growing up. But I sometimes still feel vulnerable in the face of gender expectations. - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • There is no true social revolution without the liberation of women - Thomas Sankara

Episode 3: Culture & Customs - Effects Of Patriarchy

Exploring the ways that Indigenous cultures encourage the oppression and mistreatment of women and queer people.

Episode 3 highlights how African customs and culture encourage the oppression of women and queer people. We discuss the Tswana translation of the term Male privilege and the role it plays in customary beliefs. Author of A man who is not a man, Thando Mgqolozana, exposes some of the unhealthy and dangerous practices within male initiation schools. Ntsako unpacks lobola from a heteronormative and same-sex marriage practice, while Dr Nokuzola Mndende shares her contentious views on the evolution of lobola from a cultural and womanist perspective.


  • Table Guest: Thando Mgqolozana - Author of A Man Who Is Not A Man
  • Elders Corner Guest: Dr Nokuzola Mndende - Director of Icamagu Heritage Centre
  • Allies Corner Guest: Professor Kopano Ratele - Psychologist

Language Term

Male privilege: “Tlotlo e e faphegileng e fiwang banna, fela ka gore ke ba bong boo


  • The difference between a broken community and a thriving one is the presence of women who are valued. - Michelle Obama
  • If you wish to know how civilized a culture is, look at how they treat its women. Bacha Khan
  • The overwhelming majority of women accept the patriarchy and protect it. Traditionally, the violated wife offloads her aggression onto the daughter-in-law. Men dominate women through the agency of women themselves. - Winnie Mandela
  • We need to live in a culture that values and respects and looks up to and idolizes women as much as men -  Emma Watson

Episode 4: Religion And Patriarchy - Effects Of Patriarchy

What role does Religion play in perpetuating patriarchy?

Whilst our constitution protects every human being irrespective of race, religion, sexual identity and orientation, our culture(s) and religions have a long way to go in catching up. Pastor, clinical psychologist and sangoma, Anele Siswana, joins the conversation on the intersections of religion, african spirituality and patriarchy. Ntsako discovers what peoples perspectives are on the ground on the problematic issues of Proverbs 31, and we are in discussion with Dr Miranda Pillay who speaks on interpretations of the bible; answering the question around what value there is in maintaining a religious system that excludes so many people?


  • Table Guest: Anele Siswana, Clinical Psychologist and Spiritualist
  • Elders Corner Guest: Dr Miranda Pillay, Theo-ethical feminist and biblical scholar
  • Allies Corner Guest: Mthetho Tshemese, Clinical Psychologist 

Language Term

Nonbinary (gender nonconforming): “Motho o tebego ya gagwe e sa netefatseng bong ba gagwe”


  • Democracy cannot long endure with the head of a God and the tail of a   demon. Josephine Silone Yates
  • And what would our ideas of God, of religion, be like if they had come to us through the minds of women? - Tom Robbins
  • Minister to the world in a way that can change it. Minister radically in a real, active, practical, get your hands dirty way. -  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Episode 5: Rape And Rape Culture

Rape and rape culture in South Africa

A discussion about the rape crisis in South Africa with a focus on consent and how a misunderstanding of teen sexuality puts teenagers at risk. This episode also explores how rape culture permeates our judiciary and legal system which leads to the re-victimization of victims when they try to get justice, and the conversation explores rape in relationships, and problematic myths about rape being a “family matter”.   


  • Table Guest: Prof. Deevia Bhana, DSI /NRF South African Research Chair in Gender and Childhood Sexuality, University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • Elders Corner Guest:  Delphine Serumaga, UN Women Country Representative to Zimbabwe
  • Allies Corner Guest: Prof. Kopano Ratele -  Director Men, Injury and Violence Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council

Language Term

Rape Culture: “Mekgwa e setšhaba se nolofatsang kgonagalo le tiragalo ya petelelo le kgokgontsho e amanang le tsa thobalano.”


  • Take up the battle. Take it up. It's yours. This is your life. This is your world. - Maya Angelou
  • I am a feminist because I am a woman living in a world where if I am not vigilant, I will be erased, exploited or dehumanised. – Siphokazi Mthathi
  • If you are silent about your pain, they'll kill you and say you enjoyed it. - Zora Neale Hurston
  • If you are to free yourselves you must break the chains of oppression yourselves. Only then can we express our dignity... Any acceptance of humiliation, indignity or insult is acceptance of inferiority - Winnie Mandela
  • Rape myths do dangerous work. They can embolden perpetrators and re-traumatise victims and survivors. Rape myths and excuses are at the heart of what is keeping rape culture intact. - Pumla Gqola
  • We must send a message across the world that there is no disgrace in being a survivor of sexual violence- the shame is on the aggressor! - Angelina Jolie

Episode 6: Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate Partner Violence and domestic abuse in South Africa

A look at domestic violence with a focus on unpacking the psychology of Intimate Partner Violence and the various ways in which it manifests outside of physical abuse. In this episode the hosts also look at the scale of the IPV problem and explore driving forces with a leading epidemiologist and IPV researcher.


  • Table Guest: Vanessa Govender, Journalist and author of “Beaten but Not Broken”
  • Elders Corner Guest: Prof. Naeemah Abrahams - Director,Gender and Health Research Unit, SA Medical Research Council
  • Allies Corner Guest: Mthetho Tshemese, Clinical Psychologist

Language Term

  • Domestic violence: “Kgokgontso ya mo malapeng”
  • Femicide: “Dipolao tsa bomme/basadi”


  • No-one is your friend who demands your silence or denies your right to grow. - Alice Walker
  • Let’s shift the intergenerational cycle of violence to an intergenerational cycle of caregiving - Kopano Ratele
  • When I witness the resilience of women all over the world, rising above the most difficult situations,  I am reminded that I can never give up. - Zawadi Nyong’o
  • Yet, by publicly speaking out against domestic violence, together we can challenge attitudes towards violence in the home and show that domestic violence is a crime and not merely unacceptable. - Honor Blackman
  • It is in col­lec­tiv­i­ties that we find reser­voirs of hope and optimism. - Angela Y. Davis
  • A house where a woman is unsafe is not a home. - African Saying

Episode 7: Transactional Relationships & Decriminalisation Of Sex Work

Defining transactional relationships and the ways in which they can empower and disempower women and decriminilzation of sex work.

Kgomotso Matsunyane and her feminist co-hosts discuss transactional relationships in the context of blessers/sugar daddies, marriage & sex workers. They host Professor Azwihangwisi Helen Mavhandu-Mudzusi, who speaks about the impact of blessers on young women and queer people and expands on the idea of marriage as a transactional relationship. They equally explore the risks that come with undergraduate students in blesser/ blessee relationships and women’s agency in these kinds of relationships. The Elders corner hosts 2 guests with opposing views on the topic of criminalisation and decriminalisation of sex work.


  • Table Guest: Professor Azwihangwisi Helen Mavhandu-Mudzusi - Professor and Researcher.
  • Elders Corner Guest 1:  Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge - Former Deputy Minister of Health and Defence and founder of Embrace Dignity.
  • Elders Corner Guest 2: Constance Mathe - National Coordinator of the Asijiki Coalition for the Decriminalisation of Sex Workers
  • Allies Corner Guest: Professor Kopano Ratele, Clinical Psychologist

Language Term

Transactional relationships: Dikgolaganong tsa marato tseo di ungwelwang tšhelete.


  • Intimate justice touches on ideas of gender inequality, violence, bodily integrity, physical and mental health - Peggy Orenstein
  • African womxn in general need to need to know that it’s okay for them to be the way they are - to see the way they are as a strength, and to be liberated from fear and from silence - Wangari Maathai
  • No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her own body -  Margaret Sanger
  • Why is it immoral to be paid for an act that is perfectly legal if done for free? - Gloria Alred
  • It is not enough to have laws that protect young women… they need to have agency over themselves and their bodies and can claim those rights at any time, unapologetically. - Refilwe Madumo
  • No country can boast of being free unless its women are free. - OR Tambo

Episode 8 - Social Media

Reclaiming our voices through social media

Social media has become a powerful tool for women and feminists to tell their own stories and document their unique experiences with patriarchy. It has enabled the feminist voice to become more visible and unapologetic in addressing systemic issues affecting women. Episode 8 looks at the power of social media - online naming and shaming, the pros, the cons, the reasons and the dangers. In addition, Dr Dev Ditsie shares some insight into the abuse in the film and television industry. Mona Eltahawy a feminist giant takes us through her off and online feminist activism journey, the impact of social media and hashtags on the feminist movement.


  • Table Guest: Dr Bev Ditsie -  Lesbian activist, artist, and filmmaker
  • Elders Corner Guest: Mona Eltahawy - Feminist author, commentator and disruptor of patriarchy.
  • Allies Corner Guest: Mthetho Tshemese - Clinical Psychologist

Language Term

Defamation of character:  “go bua maka ka motho” or “go senya motho leina go sena bosupi”


  • Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women. - Maya Angelou
  • I write for those who don’t have a voice, because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We’ve been taught that silence will save us but it won’t. Audre Lorde
  • The most difficult thing is the decision to act. The rest is merely tenacity [perseverance] - Amelia Earhart
  • There is something so healthy about young people speaking up in unity. - Robert Robertson
  • Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter - Martin Luther King, JR
  • I will never understand why it is more shameful to be raped thatn it is to be a rapist. - Unknown
  • There is no timestamp on trauma… Be patient, take up space, let your journey be the balm. - Dawn Serra


Public Service Announcements

The Power of Social Media

The power of social media - online naming and shaming, the pros, the cons, the reasons and the dangers.

Transaction Sex

Do you know what transactional relationships are? Have you been in a transactional relationship?

A letter to men and women on GBV

Lilian Dube tells us about the letter she would write to women about the world they deserve to live in and how she tells men how they can do better.

Intimate Partner Violence is all of our business

We can’t drink water and mind our own business when it comes to fighting GBV.

Does religion have space for women?

We look at how religion and patriarchy intersect and how together they give women and queer people a cold shoulder.

Tradition and Culture: If not the groom, why the bride?

Why do our customs and tradition only apply to women?

Running for your life

On your marks, get set...It's never just a run for South African Womxn. A normal run can turn into womxn running for their lives.

South Africa’s war against womxn

There is a war going on in South Africa.

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