1st Edition

Guerrillas and Combative Mothers Women and the Armed Struggle in South Africa

By Siphokazi Magadla Copyright 2024

    Guerrillas and Combative Mothers is a narrative of women participating in the armed struggle against apartheid from 1961 to 1994 and their lives in a democratic South Africa. Focusing on their agency, commitment, beliefs and actions, it describes how women got politicised and the decisions and circumstances that led them to join the armed struggle in South Africa and exile.  

    Siphokazi Magadla discusses the forms of military training they received, the combat activities and their transformation as women and soldiers. Magadla also talks about their participation in the South African National Defence Force-led demobilisation process and their contributions to the democratic transformation of the SANDF. By illuminating the different eras and arenas of their participation, this book shows the broadness of the armed struggle against apartheid as a historical truth and as a matter of gender equality and justice for an inclusive and more democratic future.


    Foreword by Thenjiwe Mtintso



    Introduction: ‘Our Lips No Longer Sealed’

    1 Mzana: Transnational Guerrillas

    2 Combative Mothers, Bantu Authority and Ungovernability

    3 SANDF Integration, Demobilisation and Gender Transformation

    4 From Ukuzabalaza to Ukutabalaza: Life after Apartheid

    Conclusion: ‘Where Their Seed Can Fall and Grow’

    Select Bibliography



    Siphokazi Magadla is Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Political and International Studies at Rhodes University.