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Sex and Politics in South Africa

Neville Hoad, Karen Martin & Graeme Reid (editors)

South Africa's constitution has been hailed as one of the most progressive in the world, not least because of the way it enshrines sexual equality. This achievement did not come about without a long struggle; it was spearheaded during the 1980s by gender activists whose campaigns were both met with hostility from the apartheid state and dismissed as an irrelevance by conservatives within the liberation movement. The end of apartheid did not automatically guarantee that sexual equality would be realised. Sex and Politics in South Africa tells how these battles were fought and won. It includes fascinating firsthand documents, as well as essays by participants and later commentators.

In the final years of apartheid, lesbians and gay men from across the racial and political spectrum began to agitate for a place for themselves in-between the old South Africa and the new. This anthology tells that story in myriad ways – through the personal testimonies of activists involved, the archival records of their organisations, and academic analysis. It was a tumultuous time as lesbian and gay activists affiliated with wider struggles locally and internationally. That South Africa would become the first country in the world to enshrine lesbian and gay rights in its new constitution seemed unimaginable at the time.

About the editors

Neville Hoad is an assistant professor of English at the University of Texas. He received his PhD in English and comparative literature from Columbia University, and has held post-doctoral fellowships at the University of Chicago. He has published articles on lesbian and gay politics in South Africa in Development Update, Public Culture and GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, and articles on the relationship of sexual identity politics to globalising neoliberalism in Postcolonial Studies, Cultural Critique and in edited anthologies. He is completing a book manuscript entitled African Intimacies: Race, Homosexuality and Globalisation in African Literature and History.

Karen Martin is a professional editor. She also does archival research from time to time, and was the archivist at the Gay and Lesbian Archives of South Africa (GALA) in its early days. She is the co-editor with Joanne Bloch of Balancing Act: South African Gay and Lesbian Youth Speak Out (2005), a collection of interviews. She has an honours degree in linguistics and a postgraduate diploma in African studies from the University of Cape Town.

Graeme Reid is a researcher in the Cultures of Sexuality and Power program at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER), Johannesburg. He has an MA in social anthropology and is currently registered for a PhD at the Amsterdam School for Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam. His research proposes to understand the elaboration of gay lifestyles and their reception in South Africa in the context of broader debates about sexuality, culture and race. He has published articles and co-directed a video documentary on gay cultural identities in South Africa. He is one of the editors of Refiguring the Archive (2002), a co-author with Liz Walker of Waiting to Happen: HIV/AIDS in South Africa (2004) and co-editor with Liz Walker of Men Behaving Differently: South African Men Since 1994 (2005).


Publisher: Double Storey Books
Publication date: 2005
ISBN: 9781770130159
Format: paperback

Sex and politics