Home Institution

Yale University

Publication Date

Fall 2018

Program Name

South Africa: Multiculturalism and Human Rights


Less than one month ago, South Africa held the first ever Summit on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide to assess the most effective ways to approach solving the country’s high rates of gender-based violence. My study aims to consider anti-rape messaging and advocacy under an intersectional framework, using one organization in Cape Town as a case study. I examine how anti-rape messaging in South Africa has failed to consider intersectional identities in their imagined conceptions of survivors and perpetrators. I explore the potential for intersectional anti-rape messaging and the role of race, class, gender, culture, and language in the distribution, audience, and reception of that messaging.

I conducted research into the history of race and rape in South Africa, and the past intersectional approaches to anti-rape work in both South Africa and the U.S. I held interviews with five employees at two different offices of a single organization that deals with gender-based violence in Cape Town. During our conversations, I delved deeper into their organization’s failures to address effectively different communities in Cape Town and their personal envisioned solutions.

Although I came into this project thinking about intersectionality in terms of race, class, and gender, I found that both culture and language are important factors in considering intersectional approaches to anti-rape messaging in South Africa. Furthermore, I argue that effective intersectional anti-rape advocacy cannot occur until the divide between intersectional theory and practice is completely deconstructed.


African Languages and Societies | African Studies | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Gender and Sexuality | Politics and Social Change | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Women's Studies


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