The ReaBua Critical Dialogues: HerStory, Race, Gender and the Political Economy of Health Care in South Africa.

Pursuant to Tekano’s mandated commitment to health equity and to catalyse debates that re-imagine and promote action to increase health equity, The ReaBua Critical Dialogues comprised a campaign that began on 9 August 2021 and culminated in September 2021 with a day of critical dialogues at which politically informed and socially conscious leaders from various sectors discussed historic and current structural, economic, social and cultural barriers to the attainment of health equity. The ReaBua Critical Dialogues campaign recognized critical milestones of women’s contributions to the realization of an inclusive and more equitable South Africa, including Women’s Day on 9 August, Heritage Day on 24 September and also recognized Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s 85th birthday on 26 September 2021.

Speakers at The ReaBua Critical Dialogues, included Dr Tracy Naledi, Tekano Board Chairperson, Ms Sipho Mthathi, Tekano Board Member, Ms Lebogang Ramafoko, Tekano Chief Executive, Egyptian feminist Mona Eltahawy, musician Thandiswa Mazwai, author Sisonke Msimang, Dr Makgoale Magwentshu, and other leading social change leaders, spoke to the themes of health equity and erasure across various disciplines.

Five Short Films

Tekano commissioned and premiered 5 short films to highlight histories routinely forgotten, overlooked or suppressed.  Each film explored a person or issue that illustrated the power of individuals and collectives to achieve social change and their struggles to dismantle systemic causes of injustice and socio-economic inequality:

Lauretta: And They Did Not Die

Lauretta: And They Did Not Die explores the work and legacy of literary giant, Lauretta Ngcobo.  The 10-minute documentary, directed by Kethiwe Ngcobo, Lauretta Ngcobo’s daughter, tells the narrative of Lauretta Ngcobo’s transformatory impact on black women’s literature and her own struggles to be a writer and an activist.

Altared States: Brandfort

Directed by Lesedi Mogoatlhe and Yumna Martin, Altared States: Brandfort is a poignant and powerful exploration of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s banishment to Brandfort, the relationships she formed and her impact on the community, featuring writer Sisonke Msimang, author of The Resurrection of Winnie Mandela.

Winnie: The Banishment

Directed by Twiggy Matiwana and Palesa Sibiya, Winnie: The Banishment is a poignant exploration of Madikizela-Mandela’s banishment to Brandfort and her radical and transformatory impact on a town meant to break her – but, which she broke and built in equal measure. 

The Undocumented: Women On Mines

Directed Lesedi Mogoatlhe and Yumna Martin, The Undocumented is a poignant and powerful indictment of the mining industry and its impact on women. The film illustrates the impact of a political economy built on the extractive industry and the long-term impacts on women and children, who are often the forgotten ‘victims’ of the mining industry.

Celebrating Winnie Through Song

Directed by Sihle Hlophe, Celebrating Winnie Through Song is a moving film exploring the songs dedicated to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, featuring the iconic song by Thandiswa Mazwai, Nizalwa Ngobani.  The film explores the role that music and art have in revolution, but also the role of art as a contributor to health and wellbeing, of an individual and a nation.


Recognising that women’s lives are complex and comprise many facets, including art, Tekano commissioned the celebrated performance poet, actress and theatre-practitioner, Napo Masheane and award-winning author and poet and social anthropologist, Nova Lebogang Masango, to write two poems dedicated to the themes of The ReaBua Critical Dialogues, themed HerStory: Race, Gender and the Political Economy of Health Care in South Africa

We Women

Award-winning author and poet and social anthropologist was commissioned to write a piece in honour of the ‘forgotten women’ who contributed to liberation.  The poet attended remotely and gave a powerful recitation of We Women.

For Nomzamo

Poet, Napo Masheane was commissioned to write a piece in honour of the ‘forgotten women’ who contributed to liberation.  The poet was in attendance at the event and gave a powerful recitation of For Nomzamo.

Five Critical Conversations

The theme of the campaign and critical dialogues – Race, Gender and the Political Economy of Health Care in South Africa was to address past and current structural and socioeconomic injustices that militate against the attainment of health equity and justice.  To this end, the critical dialogues, informed by feminist principles of intersectionality and the complex nexi of power that impact women’s lives, comprised five panels on the following topics:

Welcome and Context

Tekano ReaBua

Conversation 1

Black Women: Erasure, Resistance And Persistence

Conversation 2

Social Work As Resistance - Brandfort

Conversation 3

Race & Healthcare Under Apartheid

Conversation 4

Mine Work & Extractive Industries And Their Impacts On Women

Conversation 5

Nizalwa Ngobani : The Role of Art in Revolution

Tekano CEO shares the importance of REA BUA Critical Dialogues and what it means

When I grew up, I was often told that I talk too much, especially for a girl. I was told I will never find a husband to marry me because I am stubborn, argumentative and question everything. I was a smart girl and often in my Sub A class the teacher would ask me to “teach” the class but when I did wrong I was told it is because I think I am smart. These mixed messages and being told I was “wrong” in the way I thought, the way, I expressed myself as a girl worried me until I came across a magazine called Agenda. Suddenly, it gave expression to this confusion and self-hate I was developing for being told often how wrong I was in just being myself. I learnt about feminisim, patriarchy and that women had a voice. Suddenly, I did not feel alone. There were words that described who I was and why I was being told I was a problem. The REABUA Critical DIALOGUES are personal for me. They speak of a legacy of ERASURE of the contribution of women by the Apartheid system and the system of patriarchy evident in democratic South Africa. It is a reminder of the work that needs to be done and the many others who are still marginalised and forgotten. It is also a celebration of the resilience of women, their legacy building and the gifts that those who came before us left us. Memory is a gift; it is a strong signal to those left behind when they suffer the same fate, to remember what the struggle is for, to not be deterred by the insults, marginalisation and erasure. Memory is a gift because it reminds us of whose shoulders we stand on, the strength of those who birthed us and even though we stand alone, or may be persecuted, we know we are not alone.
– Lebogang Ramafoko, Tekano CEO

Reflections on ReaBua

Dani Bowler & Lebogang Ramafoko

Media Partners