Kaunda Selisho
Lifestyle Journalist
4 minute read
30 Oct 2020
2:47 pm

SA’s first feminist talk show addresses ‘deep-seated attitudes and beliefs’

Kaunda Selisho

According to show host Kgomotso Matsunyane, South African men need to watch the show because patriarchy hurts them almost as much as it hurts women.

The hosts of SABC2's new show, It’s A Feminist Thing, Phinah Kodisang, Thando Gumede, Kgomotso Matsunyane and Nyiko Shikwambane | Image: Supplied

South African men should make it a point to watch the country’s first unapologetically feminist talk show, It’s A Feminist Thing, when it airs on Sunday.

Presented by the Soul City Institute (SCI), It’s A Feminist Thing will hit TV screens during SABC2’s early prime slot on 1 November 2020.

Speaking at a virtual launch in the week, one of the show’s hosts, Kgomotso Matsunyane, said South African men need to watch the show because patriarchy hurts them almost as much as it hurts women.

According to the producers, It’s A Feminist Thing is an eight-part, uniquely South African talk show “that captures the zeitgeist of the contemporary South African women’s movement – a feminist movement which has patriarchy squarely in its sights”.

“The talk show explores relationships between women, gives real expression to the ways that women love, support and empower each other, and shows patriarchy’s divisive and destructive power.”

Due to an unfortunate lack of understanding, feminism, especially in South Africa, is often assumed to be a form of misandry (hatred of men) and perceived as  “unAfrican”.

As a result, South African men often become highly defensive and uncooperative in female-led feminist discourse.

There also seems to be a widespread misconception that “men are under attack” when they are simply being held accountable for the roles in play in the issues plaguing society.

It’s A Feminist Thing will provide all the information necessary to correct this misunderstanding.

“The show eschews political correctness, squashing dissent or ‘male-bashing’ and deals with the complex issues driving violence in a positive way that raises debate and challenges audiences to rethink harmful and deep-seated attitudes and beliefs,” a statement says.

According to the SCI, It’s A Feminist Thing is inspired by women’s rage and the spontaneous uprising of young women galvanised into action by the low-grade civil war being waged on the bodies of women, girls and gender-non-conforming people, citing events such as the #TheTotalShutdown march and the demonstrations sparked by the murder of Uyinene Mrwetyana.

The show will be hosted by Matsunyane alongside Phinah Kodisang, Thando Gumede and Nyiko Shikwambane.  It will bring an intergenerational group of fiery intersectional feminists around a table to tackle old and deeply-rooted systems of power that cut across custom, class, culture, politics and religion.

“There’s nothing quite like it on TV and we hope the audience will engage with the issues in a meaningful way to find lasting solutions that make a difference in the ordinary lives of South African women.

“We intend to spark conversations and hope families will watch the show together and take the conversation further in their homes,” said Matsunyane in a statement.

“We’re not listening to each other, we’re talking past each other but ironically it’s always men doing most of the talking and we have to listen to them,” added activist and filmmaker Bev Ditsie, who will be one of the show’s many guests.

The SCI is of the belief that South Africa’s scourge of femicide and gender-based violence will not shift unless every individual and sector of society plays their part, including the media – an industry that has a role in influencing social norms. It is this important role that the SCI hopes to use as a vehicle to address the norms, behaviours and dominant notions about masculinity and aggression driving the epidemic of violence against women and girls.

Each episode will also be accompanied by “gritty, high-value, thought-provoking public service announcements (PSAs), produced by StoryBoard Productions under the leadership of Pelisa Norman”.

The PSAs will explore topics such as rape, domestic violence, patriarchy, religion and custom, among others, in a hard-hitting and provocative manner at the beginning and end of each episode.

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