Gender and racism: Double jeopardy for women

Race issues challenge fundamental issues of identity and beliefs. When race and gender intersect, there is a need for caution so all race groups are included.  This booklet contains papers […]

The South African poet who advocates for gender equity, peace and non-violence

The South African poet who advocates for gender equity, peace and non-violence

Maputo, 14 December: South African politician, Bernedette Muthien is one of the 12 members of South Africa’s Constitutional Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities. She was appointed to this part-time five-year renewable post in March this year, following South Africa’s fifth election held in the country under conditions of universal adult suffrage since the end of the apartheid era in 1994.

International: Whose lives matter?

International: Whose lives matter?

Johannesburg, 5 December: When friends and family ask why I am busier than usual, my response is rather morose and bitter: “Sixteen Days of lip service keeps me super busy.” Spammed with emails, phone rings off the hook-the media suddenly cares about gender-based violence and gender equality. Governments’ speeches, which have begun to echo the sluggish monotony of test cricket commentary, are undoubtedly recycled from years prior. But for a little novelty, they add a sexist faux pas here and there- to keep us agonised or entertained? I have no clue.

Blackface is not funny, it is racist

South Africa celebrates women’s month this August. This month comes amidst outrage on the portrayal of black women as objects of ridicule. Two white students from the University of Pretoria recently appeared in images on social media with their faces painted black, wearing domestic workers’ outfits and with pillows stuffed into their outfits’ in a stereotypical depiction of black women’s buttocks.

August 15, 2014 Themes: Racism Programs: Gender and Media Diversity Centre (GMDC) | VRC Clippings

Incidence and gender differences in bullying behaviour in a South African high school

There is widespread concern for the mental wellÀ“being of adolescents. Various studies have indicated the deleterious consequences of bullying for both victims and bullies, implying the serious need for interventions to lower the incidence of bullying in schools. Descriptive data must inform the development of intervention programmes. The present study aimed to provide such data and to add to existing research on bullying in South African schools. This quantitative study investigated bullying behaviour in a parallelÀ“medium, multiÀ“racial high school in the NorthÀ“West Province. The specific research aims were to examine the total incidence of bullying experiences and, specifically, frequency levels of being bullied according to age group and race group. Furthermore, gender differences in frequency levels of individual and group bullying, as well as genderÀ“specific frequency levels of use of direct and indirect bullying tactics were examined. A oneÀ“shot crossÀ“sectional survey design was employed. A randomly selected representative sample of 635 learners, comprising 274 boys and 361 girls, completed a selfÀ“report survey instrument, the Peer Relation Questionnaire (Neser, Ladikos and Prinsloo 2004), with regard to their bullying experiences. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to calculate frequencies, crossÀ“tabulations and chiÀ“square statistical tests. Results indicated that 52% of participants reported to have been the victims of bullying. A significant difference in distribution of bullying frequency was indicated for race groups, but not for age groups. Black and coloured learners in this school experienced a higher frequency of bullying than white learners, which indicates that racial dynamics has an important impact on bullying behaviour in this school. Bullying frequency in this high school is not significantly lower in senior secondary learners (learners 16 years and older) than in junior secondary learners (learners between 13 and 15 years), as was predicted by literature. In terms of gender differences, boys in this school were found to bully significantly more than girls. Furthermore, group bullying was found to be more prevalent than individual bullying in both genders. In this school boys and surprisingly girls too were shown to favour direct verbal bullying tactics (unpleasant teasing) and direct physical bullying tactics (hitting, kicking or pushing). This finding is a cause for concern as it is contradicted by literature which describes girls as preferring indirect bullying tactics (isolating the victim or threatening harm) to direct physical tactics, indicating that girls in this school use higher levels of physical aggression in bullying than the findings of other literature. The found high incidence levels of being bullied and bullying behaviour trends indicate a need for an antiÀ“bullying intervention in this school, which includes learners of all age and race groups. The study’s findings imply that such an intervention should include a focus on bullying of black and coloured learners and address racial dynamics in bullying. Furthermore intervention should address group and individual bullying, as well as the use of direct bullying tactics among both boys and girls, particularly direct physical tactics. Altough these findings are not generalisable to other South African schools, the need for further South African research to investigate unique trends in bullying behaviour is stressed.

Southern Africa: Women in power! What power?

Johannesburg, 6 September: A male minister in Sri Lanka offers to marry the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe tells South African envoy Lindiwe Zulu that he loves her, after calling her a street woman. The chief whip of the African National Congress tells the parliamentary opposition leader that she can’t walk into the House wearing a short skirt. The list goes on. Despite the growing number of women in decision-making, it’s still a man’s world.

Imagining “whiteness” : an ethnographic exploration into fantasy and experience of young women (and men) seeking bazungu partners in Kampala, Uganda

In one of Uganda’s main national newspapers, the New Vision, women and men advertise that they seek ‘white’ partners. Using emergent design, this study set out to explore this yearning for local – ‘white’ relationships. I conducted exploratory and semi-structured interviews with 20 of these women and men. As I started conducting the interviews, it became clear that this was a topic which provoked emotionally charged responses and a great deal of ‘identity work’, with participants identifying with, or disidentifying from, particular groups and categories, notably ‘prostitutes’ and ‘traditional’, ‘cultural’ or ‘modern’ women and men. Engaging critically with post-colonial writings and contemporary feminist research, I argue that my respondents provided important insights into the broader dynamics of gender, sexuality, race and power, as well as processes of identity construction in post-colonial Uganda. I explore the fantasy constructions and stereotypes perpetuating beliefs in ‘white’ superiority and address the various influences upon which respondents draw to bolster constructions of ‘whites’ as superior. These are marked by explicit beliefs in racial hierarchy, as well as ‘modernisation’ and ‘developmental’ discourses which positively associate ‘modernisation’ with ‘Westernisation.’ I discuss respondents’ negative constructions of local, ‘black’ men and women born out of past experiences with local partners. Male respondents expressed frustration with Ugandan women, whom they constructed as ‘money minded’, whom they believe forfeit dignity, for love of money, in their search for modernity. ‘Tradition’ and ‘culture’ were often invoked by men against women, who were seen as failing to live up to presumed cultural standards of femininity. I also explore female respondents’ appeals to ‘tradition’ and ‘culture’ which they feel benefit Ugandan men to the detriment of women and romantic relationships. I show that female respondents draw on discourses of Western ‘modernity’ and human rights, to illustrate the extent of gendered inequalities in Uganda, and find that Western humanism, embodied in the ‘white’ male, is constructed as a solution to their relationship dilemmas.

South Africa: A letter to my father

South Africa: A letter to my father

Dear Daddy,
It’s been over a decade since you left my brother, sister and I, but it seems like yesterday that you collapsed while pinning up protest posters in Harare in support of an independent state of Palestine. On the afternoon of 5 April, 2001 you were hospitalised and diagnosed as exhausted, although the post-mortem would show that the cancer that you had been fighting had spread to every inch of your body.

History is about the powerful and the mighty. For the most part, they destroy and plunder amid brief spells of enlightenment. It is another cast of characters that make history: the little people who, eschewing power, work on the ground floor to make a difference to the lives of people around them. You are one such “big littleÀ person.

South Africa: The inhumanity of dividing identities

Gauteng, March 21: On this day 53 years ago, thousands of people went to the Sharpeville police station to hand in their passes in a peaceful protest against Apartheid pass laws. The South African police opened fire on a crowd of protestors killing 69 people. As we commemorate Human Rights Day today, not only should we be reflecting on our own emancipation but we should also be thinking about human rights around the world.

While we look back on the oppressive pass laws, we should be thinking about all the Palestinians who still have to carry permits while going through Israeli Defence Force checkpoints on a daily basis. While we think about our own Bantustans and forced removals, which still define the geography of our country, we should remember the people in Gaza who continue to live in what is referred to as the biggest open – air prison in the world.

When we remember the whites-only train carriages and schools, we should think about Israeli-only roads and buses. Our liberation is incomplete if such segregation persists in the world today. If we dismiss this as too far from home or as a religious war, we lose sight of what is at stake.

Gender violence a rampant

Recent studies by Gender Links Botswana has revealed that ovr two thirds of women in Botswana (67) experience some form of gender violence in their life time.
The study says 44% of men admit to perpetrating violence against women . Roos van Dorp , Gender Links Program Officer told Global Post that while Botswana is doing enough to eliminate gender based violence , statistics still show that violence is still high and prevalent in the country.