Book Review – Reflecting Rogue


Reflecting Rogue – Inside the Mind of a Feminist by Pumla Dineo Gqola (MFBooks Joburg) ISBN: 978-1-920601-87-4

Gqola is a professor of African Literature at Wits University and a renowned feminist and gender activist. She wrote What is Slavery to Me?, A Renegade Called Simphiwe and Rape: A South African Nightmare, for which she won the 2016 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award.

Reflecting Rogue comprises 14 chapters of autobiographical essays in which Gqola reflects on her feminist origins, other feminists, and feminism in the context of maternity and matrimony. The book educated me about feminism and about patriarchy, racism, and colonialism. I earmarked several pages where an elegant turn of phrase resonated, or inspiring role models, such as Alice Walker, featured. I enjoyed the chapters on feminism in marriage and maternity more than literary analyses of feminist artists (the change in voice jarred).

I was interested in Gqola’s experience as a professor and Blackwoman (her representation) in academia. Her perspective sheds light on an educational experience some may be oblivious to, which asks: What are the implications of being taught by someone who looks and sounds different to you?

This is not an easy book to read – the status quo for South African women is depressing – but it is thought-provoking, informative, and well written.

Deborah Minors
3/5

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