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By Nancy Richards
Welcome to WOMAN ZONE – connecting women through their stories.

Woman Zone is a Cape Town based organisation designed to bring together women of all different backgrounds and cultures, to get to know and understand one another by sharing stories. We have two series here, one with authors and other artists called WOMAN ZONE STORIES, the other FINDING HERSELF when women share their journeys. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do. Give us your feedback on Happy Listening!
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FINDING HERSELF - Willemien de Villiers


WOMAN ZONE STORIES - Marita van der Vyver - A Long Letter to My Daughter
Fans of award-winning author Marita van der Vyver now based in France, will love her latest book.  In A Long Letter to my Daughter (Tafelberg) she shares, with 21 year old French-speaking Mia, stories and secrets from her childhood and youth in South Africa - as well as books and quotes that shaped her world and writing. It’s an Exclusive Books Homebru choice for all of July and Marita is one of two WZ Book Club guest authors for June.
June 3, 2021
WOMAN ZONE STORIES - Dominique Malherbe - Searching for Sarah
Who was this woman Sarah Goldblatt to whom literary icon CJ Langenhoven bequeathed his literary legacy? Why was she so important in his life? Author, lawyer and great niece to Sarah, Dominique Malherbe, set out to uncover the story that had been the subject of family gossip and much speculation over many decades. Searching for Sarah (NB Publishers) is a poignant reminder of identity, commitment, dedication and love. Dominique is one of two WZ Book Club guest authors for June.
June 3, 2021
WOMAN ZONE STORIES - Christy Weyer, owner Liberty Books
Finding freedom in books in a different way, Christy Weyer gave up an academic career to follow her dream, and start a book shop. Liberty Books. You can find it at Peregrine Farm Stall – but listen here for the whole story.
May 28, 2021
WOMAN ZONE STORIES - Dr Sindiwe Magona - May Book Club
Writer, storyteller Dr Sindiwe Magona has been declared a South African Living Legend. She’s received an Ikamanga award for her literary and humanitarian work, amongst many other awards and honorary doctorates too numerous to mention. As a founding friend of Woman Zone she has honoured us often with her words and her presence. This time we honour her - her life of writing and her new book, When the Village Sleeps (Picador).  
May 20, 2021
FINDING HERSELF - Willemien de Villiers
Her prolific Instagram account refers to #subversive stitching – but artist WILLEMIEN DE VILLERS work, combining beauty with brutality, speaks volumes about so much more than vintage cloth and thread.
May 4, 2021
FINDING HERSELF - Dawn Garisch, writer
For writer, author, poet, doctor and teacher Dawn Garisch, writing is life. Listen as she explains how it’s helped her navigate her own journey – and also how it’s worked for so many others who have found themselves through her Life Righting Collective. Dawn is both our Finding Herself candidate and WZ Book Club Guest Author for April. Her latest books, Breaking Milk and Disturbance, an anthology are published by Karavan Press. 
April 20, 2021
FINDING HERSELF - Nonikiwe Mashologu
Literacy Director at the Otto Foundation Trust, an IBBY SA judge and on the board of Nal’ibali, NONIIKIWE MASHOLOGU has been celebrated as one of 12 women in South Africa working hard to drive early literacy change. Listen as she shares her journey from daughter of activist, academic parents exiled in in Lesotho, to where she is now…
March 10, 2021
WOMAN ZONE STORIES - Anne Biccard - March Book Club
Saving A Stranger’s Life: The Diary of an Emergency Room Doctor is an eye-opening peep into one woman’s highly-stressed working environment clouded by the deadly shadow of COVID 19. Written between March and Sept 2020, it’s a tale told with honesty, humour and non-holds-barred insight.
March 5, 2021
WOMAN ZONE STORIES - Resoketswe Manenzhe - February Book Club
Scatterlings is Resoketswe Manenzhe first, and award-winning, novel. Legendary, historical, thoughtful. Woman Zone Book Club's February guest author, Shoki herself is also an engineering student at UCT. Enjoy the story of all her stories right here. 
February 25, 2021
The EVERYWOMAN Project is an ambitious initiative linking three Cape Town organisations: WOMAN ZONE, ARTSCAPE and the ZEITZ MOCAA. The end result is destined to be one giant textile art installation – still to find a name – that will ultimately be presented to the Artscape Theatre Centre on the occasion of its 50th anniversary on May 19th 2021. Many hundreds of women have helped, and are helping, to create it. The Education Department of Education at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Africa Art has supplied limitless enthusiasm as well as the venue for the construction workshops. Da Gama Textiles in East London supplied the iconic shweshwe fabric and Artscape has supplied support all along the way and will be the artworks final showcase. As we reach the halfway mark of its completion – listen here to how it’s been going….
February 22, 2021
With a lot expected from her when she was a learner, educator Gugu Radebe, expects, or hopes for, a lot from other young women. Listen to her journey and the philosophy behind the organization she founded called GALE, Girls Advocacy Leadership and Education based in Langa.
February 6, 2021
WOMAN ZONE STORIES - Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu
Zimbabwean born writer-filmmaker Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu weaves magic in her books. The latest is The History of Man, the first was the award-winning The Theory of Flight. Nancy Richards spoke to her about them both.
January 19, 2021
WOMAN ZONE STORIES - Jackie May - twyg sustainable fashion awards
twyg is an online platform designed to inspire and support a modern, eco-conscious and forward-thinking lifestyle – focusing on fashion, food and places that don’t harm the planet. Founder Jackie May talks about its origins, its ethos and its awards.
January 12, 2021
Trudy Rushin’s is the beautiful voice and gently haunting song that opens every episode of this FINDING HERSELF series. Find out here how despite a number of challenges, she came to be doing what she loves best, singing.
December 18, 2020
In her book Death and the After Parties - a memoir (Karavan Press) JOANNE HICHENS shares the full range of emotions she felt following first the death of her mother, then in quick succession her husband, her father and her mother-in-law. Recovery after the death of loved ones is a life-long affair – but what she deals with here is coping with the raw early stages and the agonising aftermath. It is a book to which every one can relate, on many different levels.
December 13, 2020
WOMAN ZONE STORIES - December Book Club: Femicide in South Africa
Our December online Woman Zone Book Club marked this year's 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence. Our speakers, NECHAMA BRODIE author of Femicide in South Africa (Kwela) and TRACY GOING author of Brutal Legacy - a memoir (MFBooks) shared some invaluable insight and information on the scourge of violence that affects so any women in our country. 
December 8, 2020
FINDING HERSELF - Jessica Hewson
At roughly half way through her life – Jessica Hewson is, broadly speaking, a journalist. But media in all its in many forms, past and present is her passion. Despite a disability she has taken her future very much into her own hands on a journey that has been sometimes seriously bumpy, but never dull.
December 1, 2020
WOMAN ZONE STORIES - Xoliswa Nduneni-Ngema
Each year the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence renews the fight against this national scourge. But GBV is not new. XOLISWA NDUNENI-NGEMA’s shocking history of mental and physical abuse goes back 30 years to the days of Sarafina! the musical. In Heart of a Strong Woman she shares her own side of this high-profile story. NB: Our apologies for the poor quality of the sound in this episode.
November 23, 2020
Just turned fifteen, Lea Lukoji has her whole life ahead of her - with so much more to discover about the world, and to find out about herself. But she’s a thoughtful young woman – with her very own brand of wisdom, and care. This episode has been kindly sponsored by Emma Numanoglu, childbirth educator, midwife and lactation specialist at 
November 20, 2020
WOMAN ZONE STORIES - Unf*ck Yourself UnF*ck the World
Kagiso Msimango is the sort of woman many of us would just love to be. She’s bright, beautiful, funny with a multi-layered media career, a caring partner and two lovely daughters. But her third book 'Unf*ck Yourself Unf*ck the World' describes how it all very nearly came crashing down around her. She doesn’t profess to have all the answers, but in it she shares much hard-earned wisdom.
November 17, 2020
FINDING HERSELF Professor Shirley Zinn
Following an impressive career in Human Resources, Professor SHIRLEY ZINN now has her own Consultancy specialising in HR, Transformation, Leadership and Education. But getting there is a longer story as she explains in a memoir called Swimming Upstream. Beryl Eichenberger of Woman asked her first, what she orginally hoped to be. This episode was kindly sponsored by Charlene Yared West, Doula Hypnotherapist and Hypnobirthing practitioner at
November 6, 2020
WOMAN ZONE STORIES - #DearUs Matric 2020
Multi-disciplinary arts coordinator, curator, writer, FAYE KABALI-KAGWA talks about #DearUs Matric 2020 – her WhatsApp exhibition featuring six learners. It is in included in the Fak’ugesi African Digital Creativity Festival.
October 31, 2020
WOMAN ZONE STORIES - 30 Money Mistakes Women Make
Jo’burg based Financial Planner KIM POTGIETER talks about her new free e-book called 30 MONEY MISTAKES WOMEN MAKE & WAYS TO GET BACK ON TRACK. She also shares her own money journey. 
October 9, 2020
WOMAN ZONE STORIES - The Karen Book of Rules
‘The Karen Book of Rules’ takes a good hard look at what it means to be ‘a karen’ – the rather unflattering, relatively new name, or meme, associated with women of a certain type and attitude. Sub-titled ‘Harness your INNER KAREN and use your power for good’, it’s been put together, ever so slightly, but only just, tongue-in-cheek, by writers Karin Schimke and Karen Jeynes – both of whose name certainly qualifies them to comment.
October 2, 2020
WOMAN ZONESTORIES - Feminism in Writing
JEN THORPE is a feminist. She describes it as a being and a doing word. But for her its also a thinking word – and to help share the concept she has focused on capturing it as a written word. Most recently this has been through the two anthologies she has edited called Feminism Is and Living Whilst Feminist, Our Bodies Our Truths. I’m NR and I asked Jen when she first came across the word…..
September 2, 2020
WOMAN ZONE STORIES - We Don't Talk About It. Ever
DESIREE-ANNE MARTINS book We Don’t Talk About It. Ever talks so honestly and openly about her utterly dysfunctional life of addiction, abuse and agony as a child and young woman, that you just want to hug her – then give her a medal for surviving it. She has come out the other side, 16 years clean, a counsellor and award winning writer. Her life, her story is complex, compelling – and for many will be so very, very familiar.
August 27, 2020
WOMAN ZONE STORIES - Lansdowne Dearest: My family's story of forced removals
The forced removals of the apartheid era in Cape Town saw communities ripped apart, families damaged and the hearts of many individuals irreparably broken. Decades later, as a journalist BRONWYN DAVIDS covered many forced removal stories but was always reluctant to tell her own. Until one day the floodgate opened. Writing first on facebook, then on a retreat, with the input of a number of people and several drafts later, she finally put together Lansdowne Dearest: My family’s story of forced removals a book that’s filled with rich memory and colourful narrative. It begins in 1920 with the house that great-grandpa Joe McBain built and tracks the family members that follow with passion, honesty and humour. Bronwyn has written for the community and for her family’s legacy – but more than anything, to free herself.
August 24, 2020
WOMAN ZONE STORIES - The Trouble with My Aunt
HEDI LAMPERT'S novel The Trouble with My Aunt – deals primarily with the issue of Fragile X Syndrome. A condition as common as Down’s Syndrome, but less well-known, and often linked to autism. In real life it affected her own Aunt, Aunty Vi – as well as her whole family one way or another. Hedi’s novel, while based on the experiences of her own family, offers both an entertaining love story, uncovering long held family secrets as well as a well-researched and informed approach to the condition itself. She's in conversation here with Beryl Eichenberger, Woman Zone’s chief librarian at The Women’s Library at Artscape.
August 20, 2020
WOMAN ZONE STORIES - Women's Day Radio Show on FMR
On Women's Day, August 9 2020, as happene every year as part of Artscape Theatre Centre #WomensFest2020, Theresa Smith hosted our Women's Day Radio Show on Fine Music Radio Inc.  She interviewed some of the artists involved in this years virtual Festival including: Siphokazi Jonas poet, Nadine McKenzie of Unmute Dance Company, Vuvu Nompetshini of Jazzart, Bianca Flanders actress and songwriter and of course Artscape's very own CEO Marlene le Roux. Good news, you can listen to it right here, right now. Enjoy......
August 17, 2020
WOMAN ZONE STORIES - What Story Gives me
If you’ve been listening to earlier episodes in this WZ podcast series, you may have wondered about the siren call at the beginning and at the end. Well that lovely voice belongs to PHILIPPA KABALI-KAGWA – singer, storyteller – facilitator and long-term member of Woman Zone who has shared many a story with us at the Women’s Library at Artscape. I’m NR and when I asked Philippa for a title for this her very own episode, she suggested ‘What Story Gives Me’…. So I suggested, she tell us a story….which she does, but first she gives us the story behind the story….
August 17, 2020
WOMAN ZONE STORIES - Because I Couldn't Kill You
Kelly-Eve Koopman is a multidisciplinary artist – and author of Because I couldn’t Kill you described as a memoir on her Feminist Struggle, Missing Father and Myths of Memory and published by Melinda Ferguson.  Kelly-Eve herself also describes it as a ‘queer manifesto.’ Here in conversation with Desiree-Anne Martin, she explains more of its origins and process. These two have much to share because Desiree-Anne Martin is also an author - a poet, a counsellor and integral member of the Woman Zone Book Club which meets once a month at The Women’s Library at Artscape inviting a guest author to come and share her story. Desiree also recently won the Arts24/Kwela Corona fiction award for her story Delirium. But here, she asked Kelly-Eve first, to describe herself…
August 12, 2020
WOMAN ZONE STORIES - My Mother My Madness
Welcome to WOMAN ZONE – connecting women through their stories At Woman Zone, an organisation designed to bring together women of different backgrounds, we find that one woman’s story often resonates way beyond her, her community, town or country. Through these podcasts we hope to spread such stories wider. In this episode we talk to COLLEEN HIGGS, founder of Modjaji women’s publishers and author of MY MOTHER, MY MADNESS in which she reveals the very personal story of her complex mother, and mother complex. Maybe you have a story you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it. Find us on or facebook Woman Zone CT.
July 23, 2020
WOMAN ZONE STORIES - The Africa Cookbook
Welcome to WOMAN ZONE – connecting women through their stories. Woman Zone is an organisation designed to bring together women of different backgrounds – to get to know and understand one another through their stories. Based in Cape Town we meet sometimes in our Women’s Library, sometimes in one another’s homes or communities. But women’s stories often resonate beyond one woman, one town or community and in this podcast we’re taking the opportunity to spread them wider. In this episode we talk to mother and daughter team, PORTIA MBAU and LUMAI MIRA DE SMIDT who put together THE AFRICA COOKBOOK, a delicious collection of Portia recipes from Cape Town's famous Africa Cafe. They talk us through the journey of this visual feast. Maybe you have a story you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it. Find us on or facebook Woman Zone CT.
July 7, 2020