How South African Women Are Reclaiming The Headscarf
Over the years, African women have worn headscarves for a range of different religious, cultural, political, personal and social reasons. Its uses or meaning can vary depending on the country and/or religion of those who wear it. There are a variety of different terms used to refer to the headscarf.
A selection of names for headscarves around Africa:
South Africa - Doek
Malawi/ Zimbabwe - Dhuku
Ghana - Duku
Nigeria - Gele
Sudan - Tarha
Sierra Leone - Enkeycha
East Africa (Swahili) - Kilemba
DR Congo (Lingala) - Kitambala
Rwanda/ Burundi - Igitambara
Uganda - Ekitambala (Luganda)/ Latam wich (Acholi)
Zambia - Chitambala
Recently Nontobeko Sibisi, a news reporter for ENCA was taken off air due to the fact that she filmed it while wearing a doek which went against the channels dress code prohibiting on-air journalists from wearing headgear to work. The situation trended for a number of days on social media with the hashtags #RespekTheDoek and #DoekTheNewsroom.
Johannesburg writer, Kamogelo Seekoi, describes her headscarf as a “crown”. She says headscarves are a sign of "Queening" - a term used to refer to a social movement of black women from around the world who are embracing black beauty and power".
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Midwife's Mission to Improve Global Health
Zimbabwean midwife Clara Methie says that “[in order] to improve maternal death rates on the global level, midwifes must be empowered to find their voices and push for change on the institutional and national level”. Through lobbying administrators to provide items such as sterile gloves, she hopes to improve basic medical resources.
Hoping to support and empower the “worlds midwifes to play a greater role in policy dialogue” are major organizations including GE Healthcare and the United Nations Population Fund. These two organizations have announced a collaboration where they will work together to launch “an online midwifery training mentoring and networking platform to connect more than 700 midwifes from 30 countries”.
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