Facing the sexual demon of colonial power:1 Decolonising sexual violence in South Africa

European Journal of Women's Studies 25 (2):214-227 (2018)
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In this article the authors discuss in broad strokes the work of two theorists, namely Nigerian sociologist Oyèrónkẹ́ Oyěwùmí and Argentinian philosopher Maria Lugones to argue that a specific logic of sexualisation accompanied, permeated and coloured the colonial project of racialising the ‘native’. The sexual wound which to a great extent explains the abjection of the racialised body, is a key aspect of the colony and should therefore also be a central theme in any properly critical discourse on decolonisation in Africa. After drawing on Oyĕwùmí and Lugones to make their central argument, the authors apply this framework to the problem of sexual violence in South Africa. Understanding the nature of the sexual-racial wound of coloniality will not only ensure that the problem of sexual violence gets properly addressed as a central question of decolonisation, but will also suggest new ways of concretely addressing the problem. In particular, the dominant discourse needs to shift away from the ‘emasculated man’ trope and towards a critical feminist decoloniality which views the radical dehumanisation of native woman as key to colonial violence understood as a world-destructive.



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Louise du Toit
University of Stellenbosch

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Towards a Slow Decolonisation of Sexual Violence.Louise du Toit - 2019 - Philosophical Journal of Conflict and Violence 3 (1).

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