Monday, December 31, 2007

Ending 2007 with Fondness.. Embracing 2008 with Hope & Newness

How does one put in adequate words, the events and emotions, the rollercoaster of wonder that a single year can reveal itself to be? For me and Daughters are Diamonds, 2007 has been such a year. And, in keeping with the incredible splurge of energy, there lingers a promise for the year ahead. Just as 2006 came to an uneventful close, and while I worked patiently for the work-in-progress book to make its way through the grind of the publishing process, I could not have imagined the energy that was about to be unleashed along with the initial spate of launches. I have, of course, every reason to feel both delighted and blessed by the journey that I am being carried along.. and so, heres hoping that the anticipation for 2008 is replaced over weeks and months with much success and pleasurable creative vision.

I have just returned from Durban, and a wonderful week of seminars and booksignings at the Al-Ansaar Souk.. having met and engaged with incredibly insightful people from various walks of life, and from far-reaching places around South Africa and beyond, I will return in a month to the East Coast for a five month stay, and as a guest lecturer at UKZN, this time, to present both and undergrad and postgrad course in Sociology around the themes and theories of Daughters are Diamonds. I cannot, at this point, think of a more fruitful and exciting development for the Journey of this book. In my opinion, this little effort of activism in bringing out the narratives of womens lives, power relations and cultural understandings of life and perception, has just found an amplifier! So then heres hoping that 2008 is going to be a delightfully noisy year!

With Great Cheer and Hopes for a sustained insanity..
A grand farewell to a wonderfilled 2007 that was.. and

An All-embraced and Happy New Year 2008!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Al-Ansaar Souk - Durban

Daughters are Diamonds booksigning at the Al Ansaar Souk in Durban from 23 Dec to 2 Jan 2007.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wits Institute for Social & Economic Research

WISER's Religion and Culture Research Unit reviews Daughters are Diamonds under its listing of new publications. Click Here..

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

SAFM Literature chats to Shafinaaz

SAFM Literature chatted LIVE with author Shafinaaz,

Sunday 23 September 2007

1pm.. with Peter James Smith

Friday, September 07, 2007

Exclusive Books Hosts Daughters are Diamonds

Exclusive Books at the Zone of Rosebank
hosts "Daughters are Diamonds" for a
reading, booksigning and instore promo!

Saturday 8 September 2007
Between 4-7pm


Monday, August 27, 2007

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Women's Month: August

In keeping with the thesis that extends from the themes of "Daughters are Diamonds", August is turning out to be a month of energetic derivations on the path to creating awareness on women's rights and subsequent obligations. Starting off with the Unisa Womens Day events with the Institute for Gender Studies, I was happy to direct a breakfast programme with PriceWaterhouseCoopers in Celebration of Women on Monday 20 August. I thought it a commendable effort and progressive initiative by the management team and the partner in charge for Limpopo and Mpumalanga region, Glory Khumalo. The idea was to acknowledge and celebrate women members of the PWC family and the significant contributions made to various projects; it included every female member of staff from across the province and served as a fabulous staff motivation drive. I was told that various demotivation factors such as harassment in the extended workplace when meeting with disrespectful clients and other such incidents were a regular occurence. While a certain amount of rights issues were discussed, the overall atmosphere was carefree and many let their hair down and took to the dance floor at the end of the breakfast.

I was invited to speak on the challenges facing women in Africa on a show called "We the People", anchored by Fenly Foxen. The broadcast was put together by CNBC-Africa and aired on their Channel 54 slot on DSTV on Wednesday 22 August. The panel discussed various issues and challenges facing women in Africa, themes of honour and the implications for womens autonomy and the role of education and financial independence in womens lives. Also to look out for, "Daughters are Diamonds" will be part of my address on womens' empowerment and poverty eradication, to the Black Management Forum and Business Unity SA at a seminar and gala dinner on Saturday 25 Aug. Future interviews and television viewings to be announced.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Unisa Womens Day Celebrations/Unisa Press& Inst for Gender Studies

Daughters are Diamonds was invited to a showcasing at the annual Unisa Womens Day luncheon in tamdum with projects by the Institute for Gender Studies and Unisa Press. I must admit, I was fascinated by the immense positive regard and the energy generated by speakers, participant musicians and the women in attendance! What a vibe! The Annual Feroza Adams Memorial Lecture was fittingly presented by an emotive Ms Motsei (of Kanga and the Kangaroo Court fame). Guests were treated to gifts of colourful thought and rose-scented turkish delight. All in all a fabulous event! My thanks to Unisa Press and the Inst for Gender Studies for the invitation to represent Daughters..

Entertainment: Basadi le Meropa Marimba Band

Hosted by:
Institute for Gender Studies
Unisa Women's Forum
Department of Corporate Communication and Marketing

PROFILE of FEROZA ADAM (as per UNISA Programme Detail)
-* 16Aug 1961 - 9 Aug1994*-

The Feroza Adam Memorial lecture was initiated by the Institute for Gender Studies in 1994, and is now collaboratively organised annually by the Institute for Gender Studies and the Unisa Women's Forum.
Feroza Adam was born on the 16th August 1961 and died tragically and ironically on National Women's Day, 9th August 1994 shortly after becoming a member of South Africa's first democratically elected government where she served as a member of parliament for the African National Congress (ANC). When we first began working with Feroza as part of the National Coalition for Women's Equality she was the deputy-head of Public Relations for the ANC. She was a spirited and dynamic leader who quickly began to be a key driver in the Women's National Coalition in the Gauteng Region.
Feroza was a women with enormous courage, commitment and passion. She worked hard, and played hard. She had a long history of political activism and advocacy, becoming a political activist in 1976 while she was still a scholar at Lenasia Nirvana High. Later, while studying for the Bachelor of Arts at WITS she became even more active in student politics. During these years she served on many executive committees in the movement to end apartheid in South Africa. She taught for 5years, but between 1988 and 1990 she began to work full time as national co-ordinator of the UDF. Following the unbanning of the ANC, she was seconded to the PWV region of the ANC to assist in setting up the office. After the unbanning of the ANCWL Feroza worked as publicity secretary for the FEDRAW executive (1984-1990).With the first democratic election of a new ANC led government in 1994, Feroza moved to Cape Town to serve as one of the youngest members of Parliament. Her considerable personal power, ability to communicate, organise and speak with conviction in public meant that she was a force to be reckoned with. She identified as a feminist and political activist with pride and an irrepressible optimism.
She died as a result of a car accident in Cape Town on 9th August 1994 at the age of 33. In a statement the ANC said that Feroza had been "a fierce opponent of apartheid and a tenacious fighter against gender discrimination" and that "she was a living embodiment of the struggle that brought a democratic government to this country". It is always with enormous gratitude and humility that Unisa remembers this remarkable woman, who left an indelible mark on every person whose life she touched. Her willingness to speak her mind, to honour her beliefs and live her values made her a very powerful role model for women across all sectors of South African society. To this end, we again honour her life and contribution.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Rounding up July's Reviews..

July has had many moments.. both for Daughters and for the literary world in general..

Daughters are Diamonds has made the Top Ten Best Sellers List with Fascination Books - Savannah, Al-Huda Books and Iqrah Agencies. Aside from the and MV articles, Daughters also features in the African Perspectives media, Brunei Times and Al-Qalam. Channel Islam International aired an hour long review session on 15 July with a fabulous engaged response from listeners, and six complimentary copies were distributed to callers. On 28 July, I was invited to showcase and present Daughters are Diamonds at the Conference for United Muslim Women in Southern Africa; its theme being relevant to the scope of the Daughters research: Contemporary challenges facing women. The event was commendable and held at The University of Pretoria. Guest speakers included Mrs Fatima Allie, Mrs Zuleikha Mayet, Mrs Lubna Nadvi of UKZN, Wiesahl Agerdien Domingo of Wits Universities Law School, Prof Hoosen (Jerry) Coovadia of KZN, and Zuleikha Adam of the core womens group in Gauteng. A range of topics were covered including issues of abuse, muslim personal law and legislation on traditional marriages and legitimacy statuses of children born in traditional marriages; marriage contracts, inheritance according to shariah versus SA state policies among others. The event was supported by the Cultural desk of the Iranian embassy and covered by Iranian TV and I-TV. Look out for upcoming August launches as well as more reviews. Next up: A Showcasing with Unisa Press at UNISA Womens Day celebrations in coalition with the Institute for Gender Studies.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Scripted Lives...

The following review appears in this months edition of the Muslim Views.

PULL QUOTE: It is significant that nowhere in the Wasiyat does the word love occur.

The scripted lives of six Muslim women

Here’s a fancy expression: reflexivity of the self. It simply means having the freedom to determine your own destiny. It’s about making your own decisions that suit your needs, being free to be an individual, to be different from the masses.

Shafinaaz Hassim is a young sociologist who’s just published a book entitled Daughters are Diamonds. It’s an academic study and it deals with the reflexivity issues of six Indian Muslim women in the Gauteng area. It’s called a groundbreaking study because it documents and presents, for the first time, the stories of women whose reflexivity has been undermined by those closest to them.

And for this reason the book can also be provocative. Although the women are anonymous, it is not their names that draw attention, but their unique experience. So it is quite conceivable, for example, that “Salma, 46, Cheated-On”—tagged with this badge of dishonour—is recognised by those who know of her in Johannesburg as a woman married straight out of matric at age 19, as a daughter-in-law who cared for her husband’s younger siblings. They may very well know her as a wife who endures her husband’s infidelity, who chooses not to leave him due to financial dependence and for fear of losing her children. Infidelity may be common, but her case bears the imprint of unique individual experience.

Hassim’s study confronts family and theological structures that uphold these codes of honour and all the practices associated with undermining the self-reflexivity of Muslim women. It questions tradition, culture and custom, some of which date back to pre-Islamic civilisations. However, izzat, or the code of honour that Muslim women raised in these environments are required to observe is often viewed as an Islamic tradition. Hassim, following the arguments of scholars like Lila Abu-Lughod and Asma Barlas, says that a patriarchal reading of the Qur’an as well as political, economic and cultural factors that have nothing to do with Islam are used as a basis for the scripted lives of Muslim women. And the script includes forms of social control, seclusion, subordination and exploitation.

In reading Hassim’s study one encounters various forms and instances of social control. However, there is one that merits closer analysis: the Wasiyat, also known as the “Advice of a Mother to her Daughter on her Wedding day. The author of the Wasiyat is unknown, but it is often distributed to guests at Indian Muslim weddings as an accompaniment to sweets. The actual text has no known reference, but is currently on the website of the Jamiatul Ulama (KZN). Another example is the ten long advices offered to the Muslim wife by Maulana Ajaz Azami, published online by Madrasah Arabia Islamia, Azaadville.

There is no special significance that may be attached to the Wasiyat as a text espousing the subordination of the Muslim wife in itself. It is simply a good example of the kind of discourse that undermines the reflexivity of married Indian Muslim women.

The literal and figurative language of the Wasiyat is telling: “be an earth for him and he will be your sky”. The symbolism is ample. Is the recommended distance between a Muslim man and his wife like that between heaven and earth? Is she the earth to be walked upon and he the unattainable sky?

“Be his bondmaid and he will be your slave” Is slavery an appropriate metaphor for the relationship between husband and wife? There should be no bondage in marriage, only a mutual willingness to serve based on love. The only legitimate bondage is that between the Muslim and Allah.

It is significant that nowhere in the Wasiyat does the word love occur. The Wasiyat does not at all address the very basis on which a marital relationship is supposed to exist.

The physical needs of the husband are granted due recognition. Those of the wife are not mentioned: “Be prepared for him at mealtimes, for the heat of hunger is inflammable. Be quiet when he is asleep, for the disturbance of sleep infuriates.”

This casts the wife in the traditional role of home executive, which, in itself may be a perfectly negotiable arrangement between spouses. However, it explicitly sanctions the gratification of the husband’s hunger and need for rest. None for the wife. It is a crudely unilateral obligation. It also presents a crudely stereotypical image of the despotic husband: given to fury in the heat of hunger and disrupted sleep. This is no tribute to the husband either.

The same applies to the emotional needs of each: “Should he draw near, then draw close to him; should he become distant then stay away from him…dare not be joyous when he is worried, for this will be wrong on your part, and dare not display sadness when he is happy for this will breed hatred.”

These lines reveal the essence of emotional states in compromised self-reflexivity. The wife is expected not only to accept that her husband’s emotional needs are superior and the only ones worthy of gratification, but also that her emotional needs are less worthy and subject to self-negation. Furthermore, the function of depersonalising a deeply personal aspect of the self is delegated to the relegated self. She is expected to deny her own need for love and to acknowledge his. She is expected to become the instrument of her own suffering so that he has no notion of it and therefore no compassion or guilt.

The Wasiyat is quite explicit in its definition of power relations in the marriage. It is a hierarchy and the wife necessarily owes obeisance to the husband. Moreover, this balance of power is given divine sanction. Allah wills that a wife should necessarily be obedient to her husband. The reverse is, by implication, a violation of the divine order.

The point, made so cogently by scholars like Abu-Lughod, Barlas and Hassim, that the Qur’an and the Prophetic model do not endorse these values and practices that diminish the autonomy and self-reflexivity of the woman, should be fully appreciated.

We cannot let a misappropriation of the Qur’an or the Prophetic model be an instrument of social injustice.

Ibn Al Fikr

Sunday, July 01, 2007

An Apology from The Mercury, and More Reviews



The Mercury (29 June 2007) printed an opinion piece and review written by myself (as per previous post); a subsequent apology for the misrepresentation of the book as well as for wrongly attributing the comment about 'irrelevant hijab' to me.

Heres to maintaining writer ethic and the conveyance of truth in the media



Dear Sir

(Un)Lifting the Veil (of Ignorance)

Ms Omeshnee Naidoo's article, ‘Lifting the veil’ (The Mercury, 13 June 2007), refers.

I have had the privilege of actually reading the book Daughter's are Diamonds, by Ms Shafinaaz Hassim, so I consider myself somewhat qualified to comment on it. I have been moved to do so because Ms Naidoo's irresponsible journalism, and as editor you need to take full responsibility, will, no doubt, have undesired consequences. Matters have not been assisted by the manner in which the accompanying photographs to the article were splashed in The Mercury in what can only be described as an act of sensation-mongering.

Turning to the facts: Daughters are Diamonds is based on Ms Hassim's, who holds an MA in Social Science from the University of the Witwatersrand, Master's dissertation. Through the voices of six different women, the author has tried to give expression to the “patriarchal mindset that is able to infringe on the rights and liberties of women, in a number of ways”. The women, who were interviewed extensively by the author, are all Muslim and are all of Indian ancestry.

In her work, which is really a social commentary, Ms Hassim has asked questions about gender and family stereotypes in the Indian Muslim community and has commented on the use of social control mechanisms to objectify women. Since Daughters are Diamonds is merely a social study, it can hardly be contended that Ms Hassim has attempted to prescribe, or even commented on the virtuosity of certain practices, what is and is not culturally or religiously acceptable. Hers is not a religious critique and nowhere in her book has she attempted to cast any normative value judgements on the practices of the Indian Muslim community.

To therefore say that she has declared the headscarf “redundant” is not only spurious but, frankly, is plainly incorrect and somewhat mischievous. (It does beg the question as to why Islam and Muslims are repeatedly misrepresented in the popular press). Not only that, but the comments are inflammatory and have the tendency to defame her since they are false and reduce her standing in the Muslim community. Moreover, her words, and I can only assume that Ms Naidoo interviewed Ms Hassim since she has self-evidently not read the book, have been manipulated and contrived to misrepresent her convictions and has managed to taint the image of Daughters are Diamonds. It disturbs me that a newspaper with the standing of The Mercury's has demonstrated such mediocre journalism.

Even though it focuses on the experiences of Indian Muslim women, Daughters are Diamonds provides a much needed voice for women in our society because it serves to highlight gender inequality, which is steeped in cultural tradition. I would encourage everybody to read it for themselves.

As far as The Mercury is concerned, if any residual integrity and professionalism is to be salvaged from this unfortunate incident, it seems to me that it would only be fair to publish a retraction of the article and an apology to Ms Hassim.


Nazia Peer

Sunday, June 24, 2007

To the Editor: Writer Responsibility and Value Judgments

“Daughters are Diamonds: Honour, Shame & Seclusion- A South African Perspective”. By Shafinaaz Hassim.

Life feature article “Lifting the Veil” dated 13 June 2007 in The Mercury, by Omeshnie Naidoo refers. It is with a newfound irony that I read the acknowledgement section of my new book “Daughters are Diamonds” this week, which states that “my thanks are due to both ‘Indianness’, and to the oft misrepresented Muslim Ummah of which I am an inextricable member”. These words derived special significance after learning of the aforementioned article which has grossly misrepresented the message of the book. I received a short email notification on 12 June 2007 informing me that the feature article had gone into print, but had been ‘changed considerably’.

To state on the one hand that I deem hijab irrelevant and then to state in the next breathe that I argue that women wear the headscarf with pride is contradictory and as I said in correspondence, not in keeping with the scope of the study. To attribute this treatise to my book is largely problematic in that it directly attacks the community represented by the narratives in my study. If you go back to our last correspondence, I also state that the headscarf is not an oppressive structure and that any reference or suggestion to it should be removed! The message of “Daughters are Diamonds” does not relate to the issue of the veil or its abolishment. Women do indeed choose to wear the Islamic dress-code as a form of identification, modesty and pride! Your choice of reference (not taken from my book), AlibhaiBrown, has a completely different theory which was more clearly defined in the article drafts that you showed to me. As a feature article and comparative study, this worked as long as that definition was made. The drafts to which I was made privy, and which were still inconclusive as at our last correspondence dated 23 May 2007, indicate that the AlibhaiBrown research is far-removed from the “Daughters are Diamonds” study and that in South Africa, the hijab is considerably officiated by women’s choice to identify themselves proudly as Muslims.

The case for “Daughters are Diamonds” is not one of dress-code. Instead, it presents itself as an observation of the cultural expectations and stigmas that may affect women’s autonomy- the insidious social control mechanisms that have no place in a progressive religion. And subsequently looks at ways in which oppressive structures may be removed from the sphere of interactions between people. Not about the hijab! Rather, it advocates moving back to a reading of the Quran as a pure text. Islam as a religion, is progressive and encouraging of men and women as spiritual beings to 'enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil' in living a moral life that is in keeping with the traditions of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). While pre-Islamic society was ridden with the gross maltreatment of women and the burial of female children, the advent of the Islamic socio-political structure advocated a progressive bill of rights that ensures that the ideals of equality and morality are upheld. These include, among others, laws governing the individuals conduct and way of life, relationships with others, marriage, inheritance and both business and inter-personal ethics. As an investigative study, my book uncovers a network of features that point to the machine of social control. At the fore of this mechanism is the notion of the family honour code which is awarded to clans and guarded over generations. Those at the weaker end of the social scale may conform by keeping strictly with the modesty code. “Daughters are Diamonds” identifies how, for the sake of family honour, self-conscious emotions such as shame and guilt are employed in order to align people’s behaviours beyond necessary moral tenets. The extreme examples look at ‘honour killings’ that occur in far-removed countries and how the social memory might inform a psychological stigma that operates in the South African setting. It looks at an overview of the origins of seclusion and the patriarchal ideas that fuel both sides of the coin of female subordination and male dominance. And it asks significant questions about the extent to which people as spiritual beings may find ways in which to live autonomously so that they might reach their fullest potential.

The article, “Lifting the Veil, has done much to contort the message of the book in that it makes the simplistic assumption that AlibhaiBrowns thesis is the same as mine. I must emphasize that it most certainly is not. The letter by correspondent SA Jazbhay already confirms that my book has been wrongly linked with the AlibhaiBrown thesis and proves its defamation at length! When I first wrote the thesis for “Daughters are Diamonds”, the sensitive life narratives of the women who form the core of the study allowed me to appreciate the emotional investment made by the women in my book as well as women in the community who may read and identify with these biographies. My concern and request is that these stories be given the respect and sensitivity that they deserve. This request is especially significant and written in urgency with regards to the media. In addition, my request to impassioned members of the public such as Mr Jazbhay is to take hold of a copy of “Daughters are Diamonds” in order to be better informed of its content before making any sweeping statements based on a reading of sieve-like reports such as “Lifting the Veil” has proven to be. If our goal as South Africans is about engaging tolerance and understanding between groups of people then it is about time that blind-sighted mudslinging becomes a thing of the past. I would like to challenge erstwhile readers and academics to an objective reading of the book in question before judgments are passed.

I sincerely hope that the duty to uphold the correct representation of intellectual property is made a priority and steps taken to correct the malign against material that documents often intricate features of any particular group of citizens, in this case South African Muslims.

With urgency
Shafinaaz Hassim

Friday, June 22, 2007

Cape Town Book Fair

Cape Town was fabulous as only Cape Town can be. I happily ambled along the peaceful highways and down the quaint lanes of the City Centre; took in the colours and delights of the colourful wares of vendors and the smiling faces of just about everyone.. A lady at the hair salon at V&A decidedly admitted that it was the energy of the sea and the warm embrace of the mountain that kept peoples spirits up. I found the atmosphere quite addictive! And to add to it all, my reason for this visit to the Mother City: heaven for booklovers: the second international Cape Town Book Fair! Seminars, workshops, booklaunches filled in between by delightful celebrations of poetry in the form of emotive readings at various venues in the Convention Centre. Like a kid in the proverbial candly store, I was filled to overflowing! If it wasnt about the immense reads and recitals it was about meeting and engaging with some of South Africa's and the worlds most celebrated writers and literary peoples. "Daughters are Diamonds" was showcased with much applomb at the Centre for the Book stand and ANFASA*'s. And was sold at the Small Publishers Book Sale Point. It was able to incite much debate and encouraging dialogue from various people. In addition, the Cape launch was held on Sunday 17 June at the Kramer Law Building at UCT's Middle Campus. I was humbled at the response and the engaging audience participation. With this in mind, "Daughters" will most certainly make it to another reading in Cape Town before the end of the year. My thanks go to Muslim Views, Voice of the Cape, Cape Argus, Exclusive Books Airport CT, Wordsworth Books V&A, The Centre for the Book, ANFASA, Books & Leisure, Donald Woodburn (SA's Dr. Seuss), Dr. Nazia Peer (author of House of Peace), the people of Cape Town and my family and friends for their invaluable love and support.

* Academic and Non-Fiction Authors Association of South Africa

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Letter response: Lifting the Veil

Dear (Ms Reporter)

I have just had a chance to read the Mercury article that you wrote, and am sufficiently surprised to see that the article turned out significantly different from what we discussed. The message of Daughters are Diamonds does not relate to the issue of the veil or its abolishment, neither do I say that the headscarf is irrelevant! In our correspondence, I said to you to please not mix-up the issues and also that in no way suggest that I see the headscarf as a form of oppression. Women do indeed choose to wear the islamic dress-code as a form of identification, modesty and pride! Your choice of reference (not taken from my book), AlibhaiBrown, has a completely different theory which was more clearly defined in the article drafts that you showed to me. It was fine as long as that definition was made. On the other hand, case for Daughters are Diamonds is not one of dress-code but of the use of the Quran as a pure text and in its form as a progressive mode of conduct for people to live a moral life. And it is about removing the cultural expectations and stigmas that affect womens autonomy- the insiduous social control mechanisms that have no place in a progessive religion. Not about the hijab!

This article has done much to defame the message of the book in that it assumes that Alibhai Browns thesis is the same as mine. It most certainly is not. On the one hand you say that I state that the hijab is irrelevant, and then you state that I argue that women wear it with pride. This manipulates the message to suit the message that you wish to convey, and I am left feeling appalled at this standard of journalism.

I await your response eagerly. The gross misrepresentation and defamation that your article has afforded my book needs to be addressed in the best possible way and I sincerely hope that you can achieve this. Please mail me as urgently as possible in the hope that we can sort this out.


On Veiling and Unveiling

Embraced by the calmness that emanates from every corner of the Mother City, I can write to say that much of the elegance of the Mountains Beauty transcends in the warmth within the hearts of Cape Towns residents. These few days have been ingratiatingly pleasant. The Cape Town Book Fair has turned out to be an incredible experience and epitomises the celebration of the written word, enticing booklovers of all ages and fancies to its ceremonies. But with writing comes this deepset responsibility, one that has just come to my attention in more stark reference than ever before. In engaging with members of the press and other media, one takes for granted that there must exist a form of writers ethic to convey in truth and good will, the message of the writer of a book in as exact form as possible by the reviewer or reporter. I found that such was not the case in a recent article by a newbie journalist of the Mercury who has grossly misrepresented the message that is "Daughters are Diamonds" for what could be seen as her own ends to perpetuate her rather limited rhetoric, misunderstanding in its entirety the concept of hijab. Ms Naidoo quotes me as having said that hijab is irrelevant in current society. Of course that does not make sense! Especially when she then goes on to say that Hassim argues that Muslim women in South Africa wear the hijab with pride and an awareness of their identity as Muslim. Her choice of title (Lifting the Veil) is the first point of focus for the intention to defame, as "Daughters are Diamonds" is not an issue of purdah and the veil, but an observation on the insiduous forms of social control, stigma and cultural expectations that limit womens autonomy, which is seen as religious obligation. Islam as a religion, is progressive and encouraging of men and women as spiritual beings to 'enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil' in living a moral life in keeping with the traditions of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). I am especially appalled at the idea by the Lifestyle reporter goes on to quote her own references in the form of Alibhai-Brown whose views are both contrary and far-removed from the scope of "Daughters are Diamonds" message. This defamatory article is hardly a conscientious effort at sound journalism and leaves me wondering about the thirst for scandal that half-wit journalists need to rely on in order to make themselves heard.

Monday, June 11, 2007

BookLaunch- Cape Town

" Daughters are Diamonds: Honour, Shame & Seclusion- A South African Perspective"
will be launched in Cape Town this month. The book will be showcased and sold at the Centre for the Book Q3 stand and the Small Publishers stand at the Cape Town Book Fair from 16-19June2007 and an official launch will be held at the University of Cape Town:

DATE: Sunday 17 June 2007
TIME: 6:30pm for 7:00pm
BOOK LAUNCH Venue: Kramer Auditorium LT3 and Kramer Foyer
Middle Campus

Guests Speaker:

Dr. Nazia Peer - Author of 'House of Peace'

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Reviews: Daughters are Diamonds




9May2007 THE POST

Radio Interviews:

Channel Islam International: Julie Ally "Daughters are Diamonds"
Sunday 10 June 2007, 11am

Monday 11 June 2007, 1:00-1:30pm

Voice of the Cape: Adiela F at 2:30pm

Channel Islam International: Daughters are Diamonds at the CapeTownBookFair
Sunday 24 June 2007, 11am

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Buy Me!

Daughters are Diamonds available to purchase at the following stores:-

Adams Campus Bookshop
Howard College

Adams on West Street

Adams Books
Musgrave Centre

Adams Books
Adderley St
Cape Town

Al-Huda Books
Main Road

Clarkes Books
211 Long Street
Cape Town

Requests may be made online or telephonic orders placed with Ms. Dax

Exclusive Books Cape Town Airport
Domestic Departures

Exclusive Books
V&A Waterfront

Fascination Books
Savannah Centre

IQRA Agencies Bookshop
Laudium Plaza
Cnr 6th Ave & Tangerine Street

Wordsworth Books
V&A Waterfront
(opposite CapeTownFishMarket)

Cape Town Book Fair
16-19th June 2007

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Limpopo BookFair 23-26April2007

I have just stepped out of the Limpopo Book Fair on Indigenous Languages, where I was honoured as a local author, even though my work is written in the English language. Having met a stream of interesting people, the likes of Professor Neville ALexander of UCT and Joan De Beer of the National Library, among others, the week turned out more than mundane eventfulness! Seminars, workshops and features in the foyer of the building that houses Polokwanes Main Library and the Museum of Art, made for a memorable artsie few days most delectable to the creative artiste's tastebuds. The festival turned out an excellent platform for speaking about my own experiences during the publishing and regarding distribution of Daughters are Diamonds, and allowed for invaluable feedback. Present were various organisations such as Biblionef, NB Publishers (Tafelberg, Pharos, Kwela, etc), MacMillan, Maskew-Miller, Schuster, and numerous others offering their support and advice on freeing the written word. Of particular interest was the book launch by Bibionef regards a childrens book that has been translated into all the official languages, called: "Brenda has a dragon in her blood", based on the true story of a three year old little HIV/Aids orphan who faced the stigma in her playgroup and pre-school. It hopes to foster understanding of the love and care needs of children who are HIV +v and break the stigma attached to their status. Brenda is now thirteen and lives with her foster parents in the Netherlands. The book was originally written in Dutch by her foster mom.
And. I have my own cherished copy of the book!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Memories from the Limpopo Launch

Signing and Smiling
The Foyer - Book Sales and Signing
Julie, Shafs and Nazi

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Launch - Pietersburg

Amid graceful ambience of sparkly faces and anticipation of what was to take place, Friday 20th April 2007 marked the day of the first official launch of Daughters are Diamonds, in Polokwane where I spent the most formative years of my life. A tribute to inaugurate a current project at my alma mater. Life the Journey, is speckled with reflective spots in the shade. Polokwane is one of these shady places for me, where I can often find time to recollect my thoughts, to paint and to write. The programme for the evening commenced at 8pm, at the Office Suites in Library Gardens, arranged by the property magnates, Moolman Group. About 200 guests were greeted in a lavish foyer amid frivolty, soft drinks and book sales/ signing. The response was phenomenal with above 50% sales on attendance, and the discussions engaged in during the Q&A were charged and deeply encouraging. Heres hoping that the momentum carries forth much energy to the string of an author tour ahead!
Programme MC - Jasmine Patel, CA, PWC
Guest Speaker- Glory - PWC Limpopo Regional Director
"The Challenges Faced by Black & Indian African Women @ home and in the Workplace"
Speaker - Julaikha Kalla / Damelin
Author Shafinaaz HassimIntroducing Daughters are Diamonds; Reading extracts from the book; Q & A

Monday, February 26, 2007

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Journey

' The journey of my life
begins from home,
ends at the graveyard.
My life is spent
like a corpse,
carried on the shoulders
of my father and brother,
husband and son.
Bathed in religion,
attired in customs,
and buried in a grave
of ignorance.'
(Atiya Dawood, Sindhi Poet, Pakistan)

Monday, January 15, 2007


I finally have some covers I can cut my teeth on :)

Its only just a matter of time now, I can feel it!

All about the fonts and the text and the colour.. pinks are so not me, so silver it shall be :P

I am covered to be!


Saturday, January 06, 2007

An Artists Retrieve Where I found Escape, and My Self

Elsabe Moolmans place is a quaint little house in the suburbs, nested in a little garden. Flanked by shady verandas and an extensive outdoor area of built in barbeque, the living arrangements speak much of the extrovert personality of the couple whose habitat this is. Elsabe's work has been documented and exhibited at numerous galleries, and she has a postgraduate diploma in female art formulations. Her studio is a memorial to the delicate art forms that unfold from her psyche over time, and she holds a limited number of classes during the year. During 2005, after an extensive period on the waiting list, I was lucky enough to receive a place in one of these tutorial groups, thus making the aquaintance of an artist of note and a deeply moving human being. After an entire year of not seeing her, it was a pleasure to re-aquaint myself with a visit to her studio.
The shade of the familiar cherry blossom tree embraced my car as I parked. I gingerly approached the entrance to ring the bell, aware that her pet dog might all-too-delightfully welcome me. I tried the buzzer labeled 'Studio Deodando'. And again. Hmm, no reply. Just as I tried the one for the main house, a voice rang out in joyful welcome. I stepped in through the electric gate as it rolled by a few centimetres and closed again behind me, already being smothered in hugs and a waft of perfume, and all the while taking note of the pinkish colour in her face glowing happily and the blue spark in her eyes twinkling with her usual merriment. Amidst kindly compliments and exchanges I was led down the walkway to the studio, already hearing the faint sound of Strauss becoming louder as the cool interior of her art enclosure drew closer. The fascinating faces greeted me like old friends, in similar likelihood of the joy I had just seen on the artist's face. Except for a new addition screaming out of the painting in agony! Her evocative charcoal sketches have always dug deep into my soul to bring out much emotion, and I knew that I wouldnt leave without an extensive discussion about that one! But she scurried me along to the far end of the studio: the business at hand, as we had planned, was for me to see two paintings of a German student of hers, named UtE.
When I called Elsabe two days prior to out meeting, I presented to her my dilemma of finding a suitable cover for Daughters are Diamonds. And she brainstormed and quickly set up this viewing for me. Each were worked in oil with the use of a fine brush. One of a little Iranian girl readin the Quran, in shades of cream, and the other, a rural North African Muslim woman sitting behind a trellace, wrapped in the traditional 'chador'. Admittedly, even though the works I saw were beautifully rendered and an absolute visual delight, they were too random and not in keeping with the content of the manuscript. And to illustrate my view, I proceeded to show Elsabe the picture that I have my heart set on, sitting benignly on my laptop, awaiting the possible permission for its use. And, not only did she agree with my choice, but she pointed out symbolisms in the painting that even I had not discovered. So now I feel like my heart will break if I am not able to make use of it!
But, I left Studio D feeling revitalised by the memory of the creative centre that fueled my soul for some time, classic music, flowing white curtains and captivating masterpieces all etched in my memory for a time past and a glorious future of spurning forth my own creative endeavours.

Friday, January 05, 2007


This is a diSaster!

I have seen a further seven (like thats sposed to be a lucky number!) alternatives for the book cover and they're totally NOT OK!!!

In fact, theyre so bad, I refuse to post them to the blog! Yep. That bad!

I have other plans, needs to start pulling them out the hat, and FASt!

Came across a totally kewl and rather symbolic piece of artwork online, so while thats in the process of being possibly permitted by way of digging into the late artists estate out in what-was-PerSia.. I have to keep the searchlights burning! Hope the torches dont burn down the house while Im at it!

And so the struggle continues...