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Constructing South African feminism(s) : a case study of Agenda, 1987-2007.

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This dissertation provides an analysis of the Agenda construction of South African Feminism(s). Agenda is a feminist, peer-reviewed SAPSE journal that was launched as a publication in 1987 in South Africa. The Journal provides a forum for a number of issues: the most important being the representation of women's voices towards transforming unequal gender relations; and women's unequal position in society, their visibility, struggles and problems in relation to gender inequalities. The Journal also uses a format that encompasses creative writing and original research that is intended to be accessible to a broad readership. Over the years, the Journal has published broadly on issues ranging from health, violence, sexuality, the media, poverty, labour, HIV/AIDS, rights, sustainable development, citizenship, etc. This dissertation analyses how some of these themes have been addressed by Agenda in terms of editorial content and the subsequent impact these choices have had on creating a uniquely South African Feminism. To determine the 'impact', the study adopts a content analysis of the Journal, (Neuman, 1997). The content of the Journals, especially during Apartheid (pre-1994) reflects a focus on the lived experiences of South African women. It is hypothesised that Agenda has shifted its focus since Issue 20 (the first Issue of 1994 aptly titled "Politics, Power and Democracy"). The argument in the dissertation demonstrates that with the inclusion of South African women, Agenda has steadily and consistently developed a discourse that is collaborative and participatory, reflecting a hybrid of various earlier strands of Western originating feminisms (such as radical, liberal, Marxist, socialist). This new discourse could be labelled South African Feminism(s), and such a conclusion is investigated through close analyses of selected themes and issues covered by the Journal copy.


Thesis (M.A.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2008.


Agenda (Periodical), Women in mass media--South Africa., Feminism in literature., Theses--Gender studies.