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Lyn Snodgrass


This article explores the complexities of gender-based violence in post-apartheid South Africa and interrogates the socio-political issues at the intersection of class, ‘race’ and gender, which impact South African women. Gender equality is up against a powerful enemy in societies with strong patriarchal traditions such as South Africa, where women of all ‘races’ and cultures have been oppressed, exploited and kept in positions of subservience for generations. In South Africa, where sexism and racism intersect, black women as a group have suffered the major brunt of this discrimination and are at the receiving end of extreme violence. South Africa’s gender-based violence is fuelled historically by the ideologies of apartheid (racism) and patriarchy (sexism), which are symbiotically premised on systemic humiliation that devalues and debases whole groups of people and renders them inferior. It is further argued that the current neo-patriarchal backlash in South Africa foments and sustains the subjugation of women and casts them as both victims and perpetuators of pervasive patriarchal values.

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