Ukuvula Isango: “Opening the Gate” to Women’s Empowerment and post-pandemic reconstruction in rural South Africa.

WOMEN RISE Workshop 2: Innovation and Amplified Possibility

The Women RISE (Research, Innovation, and Societal Empowerment) project recently held a workshop in Chintsa, Eastern Cape, focused on “Fieldwork Learnings and Ethnographic Imagination.” The workshop aimed to foster the creation of “peoples science,” a new approach that explores sociology and anthropology through everyday practices. Professor Leslie Bank emphasized the importance of imagination in social science, encouraging participants to reimagine the world through the lens of the mundane.

​The workshop included fieldwork reports from eight Eastern Cape communities, addressing various issues related to women’s lives and struggles. One key topic discussed was the impact of trauma on rural women after the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the disconnect between women’s own experiences and the classifications used in biomedical and mental health contexts. The workshop also introduced Canadian interns from McGill University, led by Professor Kate Rice, who presented her new book on personhood, rights, and responsibilities in rural South Africa.

​Several speakers provided valuable insights during the workshop. Dr. Tim Hart from the HSRC discussed policy and changing rural livelihoods, while Dr. Vuyokazi Sharpley from UKZN shared her research on uncovering hidden women’s voices through community engagement and policy action. Ziyanda Xaso, the director of Jika Uluntu, a gender violence NGO, spoke about trauma and disruption in women’s lives. Additionally, Mr. Ian Assam from the Eastern Cape Socio-economic Consultative Council (ECSECC) provided an overview of the current post-COVID policy landscape, and Zama Nkosi, a demographer from Walter Sisulu University, discussed the upcoming release of the 2022 census data.

The Women RISE workshop was a platform for knowledge sharing, innovative thinking, and exploring possibilities for a better world through understanding and addressing the challenges faced by women in the Eastern Cape.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *