Sex and Politics in South Africa


Editors: Neville Hoad, Karen Martin & Graeme Reid

Publisher: Double Storey Books 

Publication date: 2005 

ISBN: 9781770130159 

Format: paperback

Price: R120.00

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 in­between 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.