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.