Country: South Africa
Why We Love Her: She is an outspoken ground-breaking intellectual who has managed to create complex books that are accessible and thought-provoking. No easy feat. Not content to sit in an ivory tower, she is an academic of the world, which is refreshing.
Prof. Gqola is a respected intellectual and has published multiple papers on the subjects like womanism and literature; post-Apartheid popular culture; and slave memory in the African world. Outside of the academe she is probably best known for her three successful books: What Is Slavery To Me?, A Renegade Called Simphiwe, and Rape: A South African Nightmare.
A Renegade Called Simphiwe is a collection of essays, critical analyses of singer Simphiwe Dana’s artistry, activism and writing. It also critiques South African popular culture and the sensitivities and biases of the society that have arisen post-Apartheid.
Rape is not a moment, but a language. – Prof. Pumla Dineo Gqola
Her most recent offering Rape: A South African Nightmare, winner of the 2016 Alan Paton Award for Non-fiction, in particular is already considered a classic of feminist and political thought. It gives voice to an endemic problem in South Africa that is often whispered about instead of shouted, despite its prevalence. In the book she explores high-profile cases of rape including the 2006 rape trial of Jacob Zuma and the death of Anene Booysen while trying to make sense of public responses to them and linking rape to its roots in the very heart of South African history and society.
She tweets pithily on political, gender-related and social issues at @feministrogue.