Sisonke Msimang on growing up in exile, family, writing about gender and race

Ruth First fellow and writer, Sisonke Msimang, says she would not call herself an activist because the real inspiration comes from students and struggle of workers.

Sisonke who has rich knowledge on gender, race, politics and democracy issues currently works for the Sonke Gender Justice Network, which advocates for working with men and boys in promoting gender equality.

Her weekly column at the Daily Maverick, a leading South African online news daily, is always thought provoking and digs deeply on issues.

As the daughter of South African activists who were part of the anti-apartheid movement, Sisonke grew up in exile.

Azania Mosaka talks to her about her early life, parents and family.

My sense is that South African women are just incredibly spunky, interesting and risk-taking in ways that I feel like growing up you didn't often see outside of the community of people than those we lived in.

Sisonke Msimang, writer and activist

In some ways, I feel like even though we grew up in exile because we grew up in a very strong community of South Africans who were involved in the liberation movement, what was interesting is that South Africaness was there.

Sisonke Msimang, writer and activist

The objective, for Sisonke, was always to come home.

Now married to an Australian man and the mother of two, Sisonke travels a lot between South Africa and Australia. And she says her son and daughter are "hilarious".

Having my first child was the hardest thing I had ever done and I was completely unprepared for it.

Sisonke Msimang, writer and activist

It changed my life completely. I went from someone who was very focused on work and my career, to someone I realised I need to make space for family.

Sisonke Msimang, writer and activist

Listen to the full interview below....

And, she says she can pretend to be young when listening to Drake featuring Rihanna 'Too good' song.


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