Thursday seminar: In Search of Black Women’s Sexuality in Contemporary South Africa

  • Date: –15:00
  • Location: Centrum för genusvetenskap KWB
  • Lecturer: Memory Mphaphuli, Visiting PhD Student from Ghent University
  • Organiser: Centrum för genusvetenskap
  • Contact person: Nicole Ovesen
  • Seminarium

Welcome to the Thursday seminars at the Centre for Gender Research. The Thursday seminars provide a meeting place for gender research from many different disciplines. OPEN FOR ALL! No registration required.

In some areas of rural and urban South Africa conversations about female sexuality remain difficult and a taboo continues to strongly restrict open discussions. This presentation explores the way in which black mothers and their daughters understand their sexuality in contemporary South Africa. In this presentation female sexuality is examined through how women speak about their vaginas and how they refer to them, the way that they speak about sex and sexual pleasure or, in other words, “how sex and sexuality are put into discourse”, as Foucault (1979: 11) puts it. I highlight how black female sexuality centres around meanings and symbols attached to female genitalia and how power is generated by what is said about them. The presentation illustrates that black female sexuality in contemporary South Africa is heavily influenced by ideas about marriage, safe sex and diseases.

Key words: vagina, sexuality, gender, women, sexual pleasure