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HSRC Press :: Representation & Reality

Representation & Reality
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Representation & Reality

Portraits of women's lives in the Western Cape 1948 - 1976

Helen Scanlon

Format148mm x 210mm
ISBN 100-7969-2181-4
ISBN 13978-07969-2181-9
Publish Year2007
DescriptionRelated ProductsEmail To A FriendProduct RatingCustomer Reviews

Representation & Reality :: Portraits of women's lives in the Western Cape 1948 - 1976Free DownloadRepresentation & Reality :: Portraits of women's lives in the Western Cape 1948 - 1976


Drawing on the personal narratives of women from across the political spectrum in the Western Cape, this book presents an unusual and regional perspective on the political history of South African women. Within the context of the broad social and political processes affecting women at the time, the study examines some of the local social and political forces that informed womenís lives in the Western Cape. The womenís narratives provide nuanced insights into how issues of identity, race, class and culture intersected with politics in their lives, and demonstrate the sometimes painful intersections of the public and personal realms. This well-researched account of the struggles of diverse women is an engaging contribution to academic literature in the area.


1 Introduction

2 Trying to stop the sea: Gender, influx control and the Coloured Labour Preference Policy

3 Women and politics in the Western Cape: Ideology  and survival

4 Upholding peopleís rights and liberties

5 Strategies for Survival

6 Portraits of Ray Alexander and Eulalie Stott

7 Portraits of Dora Tamana and Mildred Ramakaba Lesiea

8 Portraits of Elizabeth van der Heyden and Elizabeth Abrahams

9 Women and politics in the Western Cape: Representation and reality

Appendix: Brief biographies of Western Cape women

Select bibliography


About the Author/s

Helen Scanlon is Africa Coordinator of the Gender Program at the International Center for Transitional Justice in Cape Town. She holds a PhD in African history from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. Helen worked at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, between 2002 and 2007 in both a teaching and research capacity. Prior to joining the ICTJ she was a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Conflict Resolution.


Extract of review by Kathleen Sheldon (University of California, Los Angeles) in African Book Publishing Record, Vol. XXXIV/2/2008 pp 98-99:

"Helen Scanlon focuses her study on 30 years in the midtwentieth century in Cape Town and the Western Cape Province. The first half of the book is a useful overview of the political situation in the years immediately following the expansion of racial oppression after 1948. ...The second half of the book narrows the scope of the study even further by presenting brief but informative biographies of six women from varied racial backgrounds. ... In an appendix, Scanlon includes briefer profiles of nearly 30 further women activists. In all of the biographies Scanlon emphasizes the influences that encouraged these women to become politically involved and in most cases to continue that activism over a period of difficult decades.

"These books [Representation and Reality and Women in South African History] are recommended for university libraries with holdings on womenís history and African studies."

Extract from review by Sheila Meintjes (University of the Witwatersrand) in Feminist Africa Issue 9 (2007) pp.131-138:

"This is a beautifully-written political history that, through both organisational histories and a personal narrative approach, explores how the intersection of the intimate and the personal with the everyday issues that shape womenís lives, such as rents, wages, housing and food, can catapult women into political activism and organisation."

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