This International Women’s Day, join Shanthini Naidoo, the author of Women Surviving Apartheid’s Prisons (Just World Books, 2021) alongside Dr. Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons and Bill Fletcher Jr., for a timely and lively conversation on the role of women in South Africa’s anti-Apartheid struggle and the transnational and transgenerational connections that can be drawn from their activism.
About Women Surviving Apatheid’s Prisons : In 1969, South Africa’s apartheid government arrested anti-apartheid leaders and activists nationwide for a key planned show trial. Among them were seven women, three of whom (including Winnie Madikizela-Mandela) have since died. This book by South African journalist Shanthini Naidoo uses rich interview material to share the previously unknown stories of the four imprisoned women who are still living: Joyce Sikhakhane-Rankin, Rita Ndzanga, Shanthie Naidoo, and Nondwe Mankahla. These four freedom fighters were held in solitary confinement for more than a year and subjected to brutal torture in a bid to force them to testify against their comrades. But they refused to do so, which forced the whole trial effort to collapse. Women Surviving Apartheid’s Prisons explores how women from different oppressed communities in South Africa defied traditional gender expectations and played a key role in the overthrow of Apartheid.
Shanthini Naidoo is the author of Women Surviving Apartheid’s Prisons (Just World Books, 2021) originally published in South Africa under the title Women in Solitary: Inside the Female Resistance to Apartheid (Tafelber, 2020). Naidoo is an established South African content strategist, with 18 years of content, media and management experience and holds a Master’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of Witwatersrand. Currently, Shanthini is a Content Expert within the award-winning marketing team at Discovery Limited. She lives in Johannesburg with her husband and two daughters.
Dr. Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons is an assistant professor of religion at the University of Florida, where her primary academic focus is on Islamic law and its impact on contemporary Muslim women. Dr. Simmons has a long history in the area of civil rights, human rights, and peace work. For 23 years, she was on the staff of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker peace, justice, human rights, and international development organization headquartered in Philadelphia. During her early adult years as a college student and, thereafter, Dr. Simmons was active with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and spent seven years working full-time on voter registration and desegregation activities in Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama during the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.
Bill Fletcher Jr. is a long-time racial-justice, labor, and international activist, scholar, and author. Fletcher is the former president of TransAfrica Forum, a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies, and has served in leadership positions with many prominent union and labor organizations, including the AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union. Fletcher is the author of “They’re Bankrupting Us!” and the co-author of “The Indispensable Ally” and “Solidarity Divided” as well as a syndicated columnist and a regular media commentator on television, radio and the Web.
Order your favorite meal and beverage from Busboys and Poets, set your table and tune in for a special author gathering!