News

A South African Writer is Helping Women Share Their Abortion Stories

South African women are sharing their abortion stories to shed light on the stigma still attached to abortion.

In her column for the Sunday newspaper City Press, South African freelance writer Joonji Mdyogolo has written extensively about how women are portrayed in the media. She has also written about the lack of female voices in print media, among other issues mostly concerning women. Last week, she wrote about the stigma attached to abortion.


The piece came with a call to action for women to submit their abortion stories. Told by the women themselves, the stories would then be posted to a Facebook page Mdyogolo has started, titled Joonji Langa.

“Joonji Langa is a content platform for African women stories,” says Mdyogolo via email. “My stories are anti-glossy magazines, by being more investigative, more home-grown instead of copy and paste from overseas glosses.”

One of the reasons Mdyogolo started the initiative is, as she writes in her piece, “because I think women’s stories must cease to be portrayed in sharp moral rights and wrongs – good girls versus bad girls – especially because it tends to pathologise young black girls and their experiences.”

Abortion has been legal in South Africa for 20 years, but there’s still a stigma attached to it. As the statistics she quotes in her piece indicate, a reasonable number of South African women are still not aware that abortion is legal. The piece also touches on how the state doesn’t market abortion services, and makes a contrast with the backstreet abortion posters that are posted on many walls in urban areas in South Africa.

Beyond abortion, Mdyogolo will continue to share other stories affecting African women of all races and backgrounds. “My mission is to move African women's concerns and conversations, thoughts and secrets into the mainstream using storytelling and journalism,” she says.

Read the stories and share your own on the Joonji Langa Facebook and Twitter pages.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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