CSSR Events

African Masculinities Symposium

Challenging Patriarchal Norms for a Safer and More Equitable Society

Gender-based violence (GBV) and its connection to violent masculinities are a pressing concern in South Africa, provoking social media movements and prompting national debates on the need for change. To address this critical issue, the African Masculinities Symposium will convene on August 9th, 2023, at Rhodes University Eden Grove Blue. The symposium, co-hosted by Critical Studies in Sexualities and Reproduction (CSSR)  and the School of Journalism and Media Studies, aims to foster an open and candid conversation about masculinities, gender relations, and the intricate links between “toxic” masculinity and various forms of violence.

The symposium will bring together esteemed speakers who are experts in their respective fields, offering unique insights and perspectives on the relationship between gender dynamics and violence. The speakers will address the impact of patriarchal norms on men, women (cis- and transgender) as well as gender-queer or -diverse people, highlighting the urgency of finding collective solutions to address violent patriarchy and its devastating consequences on society.


Masculinity poster

Symposium Highlights

The African Masculinities Symposium will feature four distinguished speakers who will share their research, experiences, and expertise:

  • Dr. Nyx McLean (they/them): An esteemed transdisciplinary researcher specializing in LGBTIAQ+ identities, the internet, and digital communities, Dr. McLean's recent work on The Left Out Project focuses on challenging and reconceptualizing current framings of online gender-based violence (OGBV) to include transgender, non-binary, and gender-diverse individuals. This inclusive approach seeks to imagine better protections for marginalized communities affected by OGBV.
  • Professor Malose Langa:  A Senior Research Associate at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation as well as a Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Witwatersrand, Professor Langa's research spans topics such as risk-taking behaviors among youth in politics, substance abuse, the trauma of collective violence, and the psychology of men and masculinity. He is also the author of Becoming Men: Black Masculinities in a South African Township (2020).
  • Mr. Hosia Malekane: Co-Founder and Executive Chairperson of Dijalo Property Group, Mr. Malekane is a devoted gender and sexual orientation activist. His extensive experience in the business world and community activism make him an influential advocate against gender-based violence. His recent publication, The Imperatives of Revoking Our Silence (2021), addresses GBV on South African university campuses.
  • Dr. Lesley Ann Foster: A prominent figure in advancing gender equality and women's rights across African societies and globally. Dr. Foster has played a significant role in addressing gender-based violence and has been actively involved in the development of policies to combat GBV. She is also the founder and executive director of the Masimanyane Women’s Rights International organisation in East London, which aims to eradicate gender based violence

The symposium seeks to create an inclusive space for dialogue and exchange, fostering a deeper understanding of the complex relationships between gender, masculinity, and violence. By challenging traditional notions of masculinity and the prevailing patriarchal order, the event aims to pave the way for a safer and more equitable society.

Event Details

  • Date: August 9th, 2023
  • Time: 03:00 PM
  • Venue: Rhodes University Eden Grove Blue

The African Masculinities Symposium invites students, academics, activists, policymakers, and the public to join this critical conversation. Together, we can confront the challenges posed by "toxic" masculinity and pave the way for positive change in our communities.

About the African Masculinities Symposium: The African Masculinities Symposium is a platform that seeks to engage diverse perspectives and voices on the topic of masculinity and its relationship with gender-based violence. Through collaborative efforts, the symposium aims to contribute to the ongoing discussions on fostering a society free from violence and harmful gender norms.




Puberty science and the politics of development: Childhood, normalisation and citizenship, a conversation between Celia Roberts and Pedro Pinto

25 August 2022

This year the CSSR hosted a conversation between authors Celia Roberts and Pedro Pinto on their books on puberty science.  Celia Roberts, author of Puberty in Crisis: The sociology of early sexual development (Cambridge, 2017) is a Professor in the School of Sociology at the Australian National University and works in the interdisciplinary fields of Feminist Technoscience Studies and Gender and Sexuality Studies. Pedro Pinto, author of A Genealogy of Puberty Science (Routledge, 2019) is research associate at the CSSR. He works at the crossroads of science and technology studies and critical theories of sexual and gendered embodiment. Joining them as discussant was Peter Hayes, senior lecturer in Politics at the University of Sunderland whose research into puberty has been published in a variety of journals.

To view a recording of this event, please follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ojio_-JBsBs

Apologies for the missing few minutes in the middle. The host's electricity tripped.

Puberty science talk



Annual RAPP Events

The annual RAPP event brings together academics, researchers, students, activists, practitioners, and policy makers for in-depth discussions about research in relation to advocacy, policy, and practice within the field of sexualities and reproduction.


RAPP 2021

7 October 2021

Youth Sexualities Empowerment Programmes

On 7 October 2021 we hosted  RAPP 2021. Our focus this year was on youth sexualities empowerment programmes.

Increasingly, youth sexuality education has been identified as a key area of concern within South Africa (particularly in the context of high levels of HIV and gender-based violence). While literature has shown that sexuality education can be effective in reducing ‘risky’ sexual practices, South African scholars have highlighted potential shortcomings of such programmes within South Africa. Namely, an overriding emphasis on danger and disease, a focus on knowledge provision and behavioural change that fails to take account of contextual issues, and a re-inscription of inequalities in terms of various social identities. Such findings suggest that it is important to evaluate (and re-evaluate) the nature, scope, and pedagogical foundations of youth sexuality education, to safeguard sustainable change in the area of youth sexual and reproductive health (SRH). The concept of empowerment (particularly when deployed in the context of youth sexuality education) offers an opportunity to adopt a broader, integrative to youth SRH that acknowledges the role played by context in informing SRH outcomes.

The programme started off with Deevia Bhana speaking on the prospects, potentialities and possibilities of youth sexualities education in South Africa. Deevia Bhana is a Professor and the South African Research Chair (SARChI) in Gender and Childhood Sexuality whose research focuses on building an understanding of gender and childhood sexualities across the young life course in South Africa.

Sarah Moore then presented on the Masizixhobise Toolkit which is currently being developed by the CSSR, in partnership with Partners in Sexual Health. The aim of the toolkit is to provide organisations and researchers with mechanisms to design, refine or evaluate empowerment-focused sexuality education programmes using a critical sexual and reproductive citizenship (CSRC) lens. In this presentation, Sarah Moore, who is currently working on the toolkit’s development at the CSSR, provided an overview of the CSRC framework, followed by discussion on the operationalisation of these theoretical principles into the guiding questions that serve as the foundation for the toolkit. 

We then gave a platform to three of South Africa’s most prominent NGOs working in the area of youth sexualities: LoveLife, Soul City Institute, and Partners in Sexual Health. Representatives from these organisations gave an overview of their youth sexualities programmes and spoke to their approaches to youth sexualities empowerment.

If you would like to view the podcast made of the event click here: https://youtu.be/ic1LwJsoxzc




Previous events

RAPP 2020

Abortion Services: Rural Interventions and Abortion Counselling

Following the successful 2019 RAPP event, co-hosted by the CSSR and the SRJC, entitled: Sexuality education, counter-normative sexualities, and confronting our own sexualities, this year we propose that the event focus on the topic of abortion.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way that academics, researchers, students, activists, practitioners, and policy makers alike can engage with one another. Instead of hosting the in-person workshops that the RAPP event held last year, this year the RAPP event will go digital. RAPP 2020 will consist of three online sessions running over a three-week period and include panels, presentations, and breakout workshops. This online approach is beneficial as it helps to broaden the number of guest speakers and participants who can attend, which further helps to bridge the gap that the RAPP event seeks to address between researchers, practitioners, policy-makers and advocates.


You can download the programme here: RAPP 2020 Programme

You can download the report here: RAPP 2020 Report





RAPP 2019

Sexuality Education, Counter-Normative Sexualities, and Confronting our Own Sexualities

2019 saw the introduction of the annual Research in Relation to Advocacy, Policy, and Practice (RAPP) event co-hosted by the CSSR and the SRJC. The event focused on sexualities and included workshops and a public lecture by Professor Dennis Francis.

This event was held at Rhodes University from 7 to 9 October 2019

Last Modified: Thu, 03 Aug 2023 14:53:35 SAST