The voice of women? : the ANC and the rhetoric of women's resistance, 1976-1989.
This thesis is an examination of the African National Congress Women's League publication Voice of Women, from 1976-1989. The Voice of Women was the only regular publication produced in affiliation with the ANC that was directly targeted at -- and primarily produced by -- women. Through an examination of the articles and images within this publication, supplemented with meeting minutes, published interviews, ANC press statements and newspaper articles, this work attempts to understand the relationship between the ANC Women's League as an auxiliary body dedicated to the overall aims of the parent body of the ANC and the Women's League as an organisation capable of forwarding women's rights while putting women's concerns at the forefront of the political landscape. The history of the publication's inception, funding, audience and editorial concerns during the 1971-1979 period are covered in Chapter One of this dissertation, as the language of the publication was honed and refined to a militant pitch. Images of women as mothers and militant fighters are explored in depth in Chapters Two and Four, particularly the use of the term "mother of the nation" as an image promulgated by the ANC as the ideal type of "woman" involved in the liberation movement. Chapter Three covers the negotiation between the ANC Women's Secretariat's desire to launch a campaign against Oepo Provera while simultaneously forwarding the aims of the ANC by altering the scope of the campaign to encompass the National Party's family planning programme. Finally, the epilogue of this dissertation briefly addresses the subsequent failure of the Women's League to enact effective women's campaigns inside the country after the unbanning of the ANC in 1990. The political turmoil that the ANCWL experienced under the leadership of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela can be examined as a dissolution of the carefully negotiated landscape the ANCWL tread with the ANC throughout its period in exile as portrayed in the pages of VOW.