Gender violence

A deep dip in everyday racism/sexism/classism/etc

Cape Town swimming coach Tim Osrin was arrested last week when he allegedly beat up a middle-aged domestic worker, Cynthia Joni, in the middle of the day without the two ever having said anything to one another. Osrin was driving his car along a road, saw Joni, and stopped his car to beat her up….

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Listening in: An Open Book Festival review

I arrive at Fugard Annex 1 cradling a tumbler of red wine and find an empty seat on the second last row at the back. On stage is the host, Ferial Haffajee (editor of City Press), with her guest Maria Phalime, to talk about her memoir: Postmortem, The Doctor Who Walked Away. The room is…

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Emma Watson’s HeForShe campaign just what we need

Emma Watson invited men into “the movement” and the feminist world is in uproar — split into the yay and naysayers. It’s even gone to the extent of fractures along racial (according to one blogger it’s white feminists who support her), regional or even socio-economic background. But identity aside there is some good and bad…

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Anti-homosexuality legislation in Africa: The Hart-Devlin debate revisited

The news this week that The Gambia has passed a Bill that further criminalises homosexual conduct and imposes life sentences in cases of “aggravated” homosexuality, along with the continued coverage of the constitutional fate of similar legislation in Uganda, provides an occasion to revisit the most famous debate about the criminalisation of homosexuality in the…

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Please stop telling me how not to get raped

On Tuesday, the South African Police Service sent a series of tweets detailing safety tips to avoid rape. In an extraordinarily ill-considered turn of phrase, they tweeted that SAPS Northwest “are concerned about escalating contact crimes due to victims who roam the streets late at night”. Just let that sink in for a minute. “Due…

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When the system betrays our children

This was supposed to be a weary and fairly snide thinkpiece lamenting the ridiculousness of having a Women’s Day, a Women’s Month, that is completely associated with pink and flowers and whatever other qualities are deemed appropriately womanly. (Apparently, this includes wearing a doek.) Instead, I was reminded once again that I live in a…

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Like every other day of my life, this morning I woke up female

Once I was a girl, then I was somewhere in between, and now I am an adult woman. What that means for me is not the same as it is for other women. We can know our similarities and differences, but we cannot know any other life as intimately and honestly as we know our…

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Budget votes revealing of state’s agenda

The annual budget speeches delivered by the finance minister provoke a bonanza of commentary and coverage — then the chatter falls silent. The budget speech is really an entrée that sketches the year ahead but does not provide the detail wherein the devil lurks. Flushing him out means paying attention to the departmental budget votes…

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Should we ban boys-only schools?

I’m often accused of making sweeping statements in my writing; as if one were always required to produce a table full of numbers and statistics to underpin one’s thoughts. On the contrary, theory is grounded in thinking – not just numbers and balance sheets and calculations. However, there is often an interesting intersection between what…

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Relationships of violence: Why abuse counts

If you combine anger and power in a petri dish you often get violence and abuse. You can take it further and combine a history of male shame, violence as a means to end oppression, and outdated notions of masculinity and the results are pretty scary: you end up with a nation of angry men…

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