News Brief

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.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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