Consent, Rights and the Regulation of Childhood and Adolescent Sexuality in South Africa

Wednesday, 15 July, 2015 - 14:00

Consent, Rights and the Regulation of Childhood & Adolescent Sexuality in South Africa
In 2013 the Constitutional Court of South Africa was asked to accept the argument by government that the risks of sex to adolescents are so great that only criminalisation will suffice as protection.
 
Declining to agree, the Court referred sections of the 2007 Sexual Offences Act back to Parliament for redrafting. Following five days of public hearings and review of over 1 000 submissions, punctuated by delays, counter-proposals and return visits to the Constitutional Court, Parliament opted in June 2015 to decriminalise consensual sexual activity between children aged 12 to 15 years.
 
This is but one chapter in the long struggle to regulate adolescent sexuality in Southern Africa. Complex entanglements between children, adults, parents, religious authorities, schools, social workers, teachers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, traditional leaders, child care workers, psychologists, researchers, police officers and magistrates are proliferated in a bewildering array of projects to empower, divert, report, punish, correct, measure, deter and educate. The forces of scrutiny and remedy are most often directed towards female children and related to this, on 'out of place' teenage pregnancy and motherhood.
 
Against the backdrop of this dramatically altered legal landscape in South Africa today, please join us at a seminar examining both the forms that regulation has taken, as well as the terms on which it has been undertaken.
 
Drawing on the expertise of lawyers, ethicists, anthropologists, historians, and social researchers we will ask: how has the nature of regulation altered in the face of changing legal and social conditions and can we shape the form this takes into the future?
 
This seminar forms part of WiSER’s Medical Humanities programme and includes the following speakers:
Sarah Duff (WiSER), on the history of children’s sexual socialisation in South Africa
Deevia Bhana (Education: UKZN), on the dynamics of children’s gendered and sexual culture
Nolwazi Mkwanazi (Anthropology, Wits), on the politics of reproduction and early child bearing
Ann Skelton (Centre for Child Law, UP), on legislating children’s sexual practices
Lisa Vetten (WiSER) will introduce and chair the seminar
Refreshments will be served
TIME:   2 – 4:30pm
DATE:   15 July 2015
VENUE: WiSER, 6th floor Richard Ward Building East Campus