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Ask Gayleen 2 — Publishing Progressive Voices


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): The Good Men Project

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2019/03/04

Gayleen Cornelius is a South African human rights activist from Willowmore; a tiny town in the Eastern Cape province. She grew up a coloured (the most ethnically diverse group in the world with Dutch, Khoisan, Griqua, Zulu, Xhosa Indian, and East Asian ancestry). Despite being a large Demographic from Cape Town to Durban along the coast, the group is usually left out of the racial politics that plague the nation. She has spoken out against identity politics, racism, workplace harassment, religious bigotry and different forms of abuse. She is also passionate about emotional health and identifies as an empath/ humanist. Here we talk about Cornelius Press and progressive voices.

I should preface this with the proclamation that Cornelius is, in fact, my boss, as she is the main person running the, at present, down Cornelius Press. That progressive, not common, publication and voice within South Africa and, in turn, southern Africa.

Her work, along with Takudzwa Mazwienduna, is rare. Cornelius Press went through some difficulties with the publications because of the transition of the website.

Cornelius stated, “The Cornelius Press website was hosted by a huge German tech company in South Africa. We had more than one website hosted by the company but they restricted ads for some content which was considered not favorable for advertisers. This had a serious implication on the website’s potential for revenue and as a result, we ended up indebted to the company with Cornelius Press being suspended.”

Following this, obvious, concern, I looked into the next steps for the publication given the current rebooting issues. Cornelius stated that they are on the lookout for more “wallet-friendly” services at the moment.

I asked about some progressive voices within South Africa. She mentioned the important fact that South Africa is, probably, among the most progressive countries in Africa. This is important and indicative of the non-accidental development of progressive publications such as Cornelius Press there compared to other places in Africa.

“The government alone has been implementing progressive policies since 1994 with same-sex marriage being legalized years before most first world countries caught up. There hasn’t been much cause for activism on a broader scale except for the problem of racism,” Cornelius explained, “Most activists in South Africa today fight against racism and income inequality, our two biggest problems that the end of apartheid didn’t take with it.”

The farther left movements including the Economic Freedom Fighters and the alt-right activists are in the mainstream of the civil discourse and so the civil society within South Africa. There is a huge “rage” of identity-based politics there, too.

Cornelius, on the identity politics, concluded, “… the progress we South Africans take for granted is lost. There is a need for progressive activists to make it in the mainstream and protect whatever liberties are under threat.”


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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