n Africa Insight - Black lesbian bodies - reflections on a queer South African archive

Volume 44, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-2804


'Homosexuality is unAfrican' has become a common response to the presence of gay and lesbian groups in South Africa. Contrary to the fact that homosexuality can be traced back to the sixteenth century in Africa, widespread beliefs abound that homosexuality is a Western import. Black South African lesbians are recognised as a vulnerable minority and are victims of 'corrective rape' and other forms of homophobic discrimination. South Africa's transition to democracy has been fraught with sexual identity struggles and violence performed on the black lesbian body is exercised to uphold a patriarchal gender order. This article will explore violence performed on the black lesbian body and the expression of black lesbian sexualities in the work of South African photographer and gay rights activist, Zanele Muholi.

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