Browsing by Author "Coetzee, Azille Alta"
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- ItemAddressing the problem of sexual violence in South Africa : a philosophical analysis of equality and sexual difference in the constitution and the new sexual offences act(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2013-12) Coetzee, Azille Alta; Du Toit, H. L.; Botha, Henk; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In this thesis, the South African legal system's attempt to address sexual violence is explored through the lens of the work of the French feminist philosopher, Luce Irigaray. It will be argued that the South African equality jurisprudence lays the foundation for a strongly Irigarayan approach to the transformation of sex and gender relations in so far as our right to equality can be interpreted as being underpinned by an acknowledgment of embodiment, sexual particularity and difference. Our Constitution envisions equality as a value informed by difference rather than sameness and, in accordance with Irigaray’s work, it can be said that the implication of this is that the pursuit of the transformation of sex and gender relations on the one hand, and an acknowledgment of sexual difference on the other, are not mutually exclusive, but that sex equality instead calls for a fundamental recognition of sexual difference and an authentic response to the demands thereof. However, it will be argued that our newly reformed sexual violence legislation undermines the progress made on a constitutional level by entrenching a problematic approach to sexual difference in the definition of the crime of rape. This is done through firstly, defining the crime of rape in gender-neutral terms and secondly, retaining the concept of consent as the distinguishing characteristic between sex and rape. I will argue that through these features, our sexual violence legislation reflects the most basic mistakes that Irigaray identifies with the law. It will be argued that the legislation, on the one hand, denies sexual difference in a way that is prejudicial to women through its gender-neutral language, while at the same time, through the concept of consent, (re-)introducing a hierarchical construction of masculine and feminine sexuality into the Act in terms of which femininity is construed as derivative of, and inferior to, masculinity. Furthermore, the combination of the gender neutrality of the definition and the concept of consent exacerbates the situation, in so far as the gender neutrality masks the harmful construal of sexual difference that is incorporated in the definition through the concept of consent. Accordingly, judged from an Irigarayan perspective, the South African sexual violence legislation is deeply problematic. In addition, the legislation undercuts important constitutional developments, in so far as it ignores the constitutional insights that, firstly, sexual violence is a problem of sex inequality, and that secondly, the pursuit of the transformation of sex and gender relations is served, rather than undercut by a concern with particularities. On this basis, it is argued that the South African sexual violence legislation should be amended so that the concept of consent is removed and the crime of rape is defined in sex-specific language (while still allowing for male victims and female perpetrators) that facilitates judicial understanding of the complexities of the crime of rape.
- ItemAfrican feminism as decolonising force: a philosophical exploration of the work of Oyeronke Oyewumi(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2017-12) Coetzee, Azille Alta; Du Toit, Louise; Halsema, Annemie; Goris, Wouter; Du Toit, H. L.; Halseman, J. M.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy.ENGLISH SUMMARY: In this dissertation I present the work of Nigerian feminist sociologist, Oyèrónké Oyĕwùmí, as a decolonising force having the power to disrupt sub-Saharan African philosophy, Western feminist thought and discourses on African decolonisation in highly significant and surprising ways. Sub-Saharan African feminist voices have been largely absent from philosophical discourse in the Western and African worlds, but also from global western feminist debates and the discourses on the decolonisation of Africa. This has been explained in African scholarship to be due to the fact that the two struggles that Africa feminism has pledged allegiance to, namely on the one hand, the liberation of African people from colonialism, neocolonialism and racism and, on the other hand, the empowerment of African women, are often construed as two logical opposites on account of the fact that feminism is regarded as a recolonising force that is alien to Africa. In this sense African feminism’s fight for the rights of African women is commonly made out to be ‘unAfrican.’ African feminist voices are therefore excluded from, and understood in opposition to, African intellectual discourses that centre indigenous and decolonising knowledges. At the same time, on the other hand, on account of the fact that Western feminism still often unthinkingly applies Western conceptual frameworks to African contexts and thereby erases African knowledges and realities, African feminists most often formulate their feminist theories outside of or independent of Western feminist theory. Their allegiance to the struggle of the decolonisation of Africa therefore keeps African feminists outside of global feminist debates, while, at the same time, their commitment to bettering the plight of women, leads to their exclusion from many systems of African knowledge production that centre indigenous or decolonising knowledges. Moreover, African philosophy is still mostly a masculinist venture and does not engage with issues of gender and accordingly African feminists mostly choose other disciplines within which to express themselves. African feminism and African philosophy are therefore to a large extent regarded to be two mutually exclusive domains of knowledge. In this dissertation I show how Oyĕwùmí, as African feminist, who is rendered inaudible and invisible in the dominant processes and sites of sub-Saharan knowledge production and Western feminism, occupies a unique epistemological position that is rich in resources to subvert, rupture and enrich these dominant systems of knowledge. I make this argument by placing Oyĕwùmí in dialogue with sub-Saharan African philosophy and with Belgian feminist scholar, Luce Irigaray.