In this article we focus on sixty South African primary schoolgirls’ experiences of male violence and bullying. Rejecting outmoded constructions of schoolgirls as passive, we examine how girls draw on different forms of femininity to manage and address violence at school. These femininities are non-normative in their advancing of violence to stop violence but are also imbued with culturally relevant meanings about care, forgiveness, and humanity based on the African principle of ubuntu. Moving away from the discursive production of girls’ victimhood, we show how girls construct their own agency as they actively participate in multiple forms of femininity advocating both violence and forgiveness. Given the absence of teacher and parental support for girls’ safety, we conclude with a call to address interventions contextually, from schoolgirls’ own perspectives.
Deevia Bhana and Emmanuel Mayeza
William N. Claxon and Deevia Bhana
Southern Sons: Becoming Men in the New Nation, by Lorri Glover. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007, ix-250 pp.
From Boys to Men. Social Constructions of Masculinity in Contemporary Society, edited by Tamara Shefer, Kopana Ratele, Anna Strebel, Nokuthula Shabalala, and Rosemarie Buikema. Capetown: University of Capetown Press, 2007, 256 pp.