Tag Archives: gender

It’s time to challenge our assumptions about domestic work

Growing up in South Africa I don’t think we realise just how accustomed we are to the sight of domestic workers, nannies and garden workers; people who work for low wages taking care of and cleaning up after individuals that are wealthier than they are. When travelling and experiencing other cultures, this subtle exploitation, which…

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Dewani, Pistorius: Patriarchal masculinity on trial in SA

Gender – although unmarked in many reports – is central to key stories in the news these days. It is gender – in the form of patriarchal masculinity – that is on trial in the high-profile cases currently before the courts. Marianne Thamm is one of those who has drawn attention to the way in…

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Biology is not destiny

South African men’s lives have changed remarkably little over the last few centuries — according to the bulk of my undergraduate students. Such an understanding seems common knowledge in the communities from which most of my students are drawn. Since time immemorial, the dominant narrative goes, South African men have “always” been breadwinning heads of…

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Men in women’s studies

A male student who sued his women’s studies professor for failing him for never attending class was the subject of what I thought (as a women’s studies professor) was an extraordinary report a few weeks ago. The story revealed that, as the only man in a room full of women, Wongene Daniel Kim felt unable…

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For Sunduza, Thulo and other black women who choose life

Written with Gcobani Qambela “It had occurred to Pecola some time ago that if her eyes, those eyes that held the pictures, and knew the sights — if those eyes of hers were different, that is to say, beautiful, she herself would be different.” In the novel The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison writes about the…

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I’ve had enough of Bullard. And so should you

In 2008, proud racist David Bullard was fired from the Sunday Times for a column wherein he denigrated black South Africans. In seems that, after the failure of his many legal matters against the Sunday Times and its owning company Avusa, Bullard found a new hobby. And that hobby is harassing and bullying rape survivors…

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How not to pick up women in SA

Written with Rethabile Mashale* City Press ran a story on December 22 by Charl du Plessis titled “The art of picking up women in SA”. The article on Pick Up Artist SA’s boot camp on picking up women is about “the secret psychological techniques that will help [men and lesbian women] get lucky with South…

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Mandela’s lesson of reconciliation applies to gender divides

As a society on a long walk to making reconciliation a reality, we have already taken significant and decisive strides. Yet, everyday in South Africa is still marked by violence, particularly that of a gendered nature. Today, I offer some reflections on how we might bring reconciliation closer in our everyday experience of being and…

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We need to ‘man down’

On the eve of 16 days of activism for no violence against women, Percy Mabandu got his knickers — sorry, XXL boxers — in a knot. “Manhood is under attack”, was the gist of his protestations in his column (“Why give macho men such a hard time?”). He lamented that masculinity — well, the kind…

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What is a lesbian?

“What is lesbian now?” I begin explaining “queer theory” to my grandmother and the diffusion of human rights and international instruments that hold states accountable. These terms and phrases mean nothing to her. I try to tell her about Michel Foucault and she asks if he is my husband. Suddenly all those hours spent in…

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