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The Role of Women in South African Arts and Society
12-12-2016 at 20:00 - 21:30
Over the last few decades the world has been watching the processes of transformation in South
Africa, starting from massive resistance to apartheid, the release of Nelson Mandela, the Truth and
Reconciliation process, and most recently, broadly mediatised student protests. Whatever angle
taken by the media, however, mainstream reports and commentary seldom include insights into the
experiences of women and gender-specific issues. In the meantime, women’s activism, often
engaging artistic forms, has played a crucial role in South Africa’s recent historical process. This
lecture will zoom into several of such interventions since the 1980s, through the lens of literature, art
and cultural work.
Dr. Ksenia Robbe is a lecturer in African and Comparative Literature at the Leiden University Centre
for the Arts in Society. Her current project engages practices of counter-memory of transition in post-
apartheid South Africa and post-Soviet Russia. Her recent book, Conversations of Motherhood: South
African Women’s Writing Across Traditions, offers a series of comparative readings of literary works
by women writers working in different languages and traditions, thus providing a new transcultural
approach to South African literature.