Pumla Dineo Gqola Women's Month author feminist

Image via Pumla Dineo Gqola/Facebook

Women’s Month: Three must-read books by Pumla Dineo Gqola

Dig into the work of a South African feminist author for Women’s Month with these three titles by Professor Pumla Dineo Gqola.

Pumla Dineo Gqola Women's Month author feminist

Image via Pumla Dineo Gqola/Facebook

Pumla Dineo Gqola is a research professor at the University of Fort Hare in the Eastern Cape, a well-known author and a proud feminist who has lectured at several South African universities.

Her written work provides depth and knowledge through her analytical and conceptual style of writing. What better way to celebrate Women’s Month than to appreciate the work of a female South African author?

Three of Gqola books you should give a read:

‘Rape: A South African Nightmare’


South Africa is fighting two pandemics right now: COVID-19 and the social disease of gender-based violence (GBV).

Rape: A South African Nightmare addresses rape culture in South Africa by looking at the patterns of rape, breaking it down into concepts.

The chapters follow an analytical view and Chapter Two speaks about the correlation between race and rape in South Africa, taking the reader back to the apartheid era.

Chapter Four’s title is “The Female Fear Factory”, which addresses the fear of rape and looks into clichés such as: “What was she wearing?”.

The book also takes a political angle as Chapter Five gets into the high-profile trial of former president Jacob Zuma and allegations of rape.

The book further explores child rape, the rape of boys, rape myths and violent masculinities. This book is an informative read, especially for South African women who live in constant fear of GBV.

‘Reflecting Rogue: Inside The Mind of a Feminist’


As the title states, this book takes you on a journey into the mind of a black feminist in South Africa through a personal and an academic lens.

Gqola brings in her perspectives as a professor and a gender activist and each of the 14 chapters is an essay.

The book starts with a description of how feminism began. Chapters like “Disappearing Women” go into the conversation of what it is like to live in a country where women just disappear.

The author also explores concepts such as racism, intersectionality and patriarchy, which she sees as crucial to understanding feminism.

Gqola also speaks of motherhood and parenting in two chapters titled “Mothering While Feminist” and “Becoming My Mother”. This book has depth and variety and is therefore a strong pick this Women’s Month.

‘A Renegade Called Simphiwe’


A Renegade Called Simphiwe is more of conversation with the ideas of an artist’s work and is not purely a biography.

The book looks at the work of Xhosa singer and songwriter Simphiwe Dana, who has several albums to her name.

Drawn to understand and appreciate Dana, Gqola has jotted down eight essays which each make up a chapter of the book.

Gqola looks at what it means to be a “renegade” by rejecting conventional behaviour. It also looks into Dana’s cultural activism and how she rebels against the “norms”.

The book also looks at the politics of Dana’s music and explores her femininity, labelling her a “soft feminist”. It is a must-read for a modern woman looking for inspiration to be strongly and openly herself.