Gender violence

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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The problem with ‘emasculating men’

“Gender activist” Mbuyiselo Botha and University of South Africa professor Kopano Ratele recently wrote an article published in the Sunday Independent titled “Capitalism has emasculated black men”. They argue that “the struggle of the mineworkers is part of the long war waged by the black working class and poor men to regain their self-worth”. And…

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An ordinary evening

On a Thursday evening not so long ago I decided to stop by Woolies on the way home. I got off the train earlier, got some groceries, and undertook the walk from Claremont to my house in Harfield. I had underestimated the weather. It was howling with wind and I spent most of the journey…

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The Cape Flats’ gangster women

By Dariusz Dziewanski Gangsterism on the Cape Flats is typically thought of a man’s game. But women have always played an important role in gangs — in the Western Cape and elsewhere in the world. Victimisation surveys estimate that 60% to 70% of serious violent crime on the Cape Peninsula may be gang-related. Authorities approximate…

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