Girl Guides and Gender Discussion

Girl Guides and Gender Discussion June, 1996


Query From Julie Parle 13 June 1996

I am posting this on behalf of Mumsy Malinga, who is an Honours student, and who is researching the life of Daphne Tshabalala, a remarkable woman from the township of Edendale, which is just outside Pietermaritzburg, here in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Tshabalala was a teacher, community worker and was a prominent figure in the SA Girl Guide movement. Do any members of this list know of any references which concern the Girl Guide movement in general, in Africa or the Commonwealth, and with regard to the construction of gender/femininity(I seem to recall some mention of Boy Scouts in an earlier thread?) Any leads would be most gratefully received.



>From Megan Cook 14 June 1996

I recently found an early 20C novel called "Greenie and the Pink'Un", based around the Girl Guides and set in England. This, while not as useful as a secondary source, is interesting-it presents GG's as moving in very happily women-centered social groups, independent, able to look after themselves when in danger, and strongly bonded across class.

Excuse the lack of author's name-the book's at home and I'm not. If it sounds useful and Mumsy Malinga has difficulty finding it, she can have my copy via snail mail.

>From Miranda Morris 14 June, 1996

Olave Baden Powell's autobiography Window on My Heart (Hodder & Stoughton, 1973) mentions her visit to South Africa in 1926. "Scouting and guiding were going ahead with great enthusiasm, despite there still being some anti-British feeling(...Mrs. Hertzog, the Prime Minister's wife would not support the work.) So far however, membership of the two movements was allowed to the white population only. The coloured and African people were restricted to 2 related organisations for girls and boys know respectively as "Pathfinders" and "Wayfarers". Once again as in India in 1921, we had tactfully but firmly to urge the policy of 'one country, one movement'". p.166

and in 1936: "...I experienced on January 11th what I described as 'one of the thrilling, history making moments':the Wayfarers were accepted into the Guide Association of South Africa." This book unfortunately has no bibliography so I can suggest no leads. Good luck.