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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Democracy's shadows: sexual rights and gender politics in the rape trial of Jacob Zuma
Author:Hassim, ShireenISNI
Periodical:African Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:sexual offences
gender discrimination
gender inequality
About person:Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma (1942-)ISNI
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/00020180902827431
Abstract:This article examines the implications of the trial of Jacob Zuma, current president of the African National Congress (ANC), for sexual and gender politics in South Africa. In 2006, Zuma, former deputy president of the country, went on trial for alleged rape. Gender politics, since 1994 a symbol of the most progressive aspects of South Africa's transition to democracy, took a nasty turn and exposed instead the underbelly of post-apartheid South Africa. The trial evoked enormous public mobilization. It exposed the stumbling blocks - social, political and economic - to the fulfilment of the promises of the Constitution, and the social distance that needed to be travelled to meet the political aspirations of South Africa's fragile democracy. This article argues that the Zuma rape case was an important reminder of the extent to which gender inequality in South Africa is embedded in class inequality and the historical legacies of apartheid. Also, the trial brought debates about the intersections between private relationships and gender power into view in the public sphere. It challenged elites to address democratization as not merely encompassing political and economic change but also social change. The article uses the public debates evoked by the trial as a kind of searchlight with which to critically examine the uses and limitations of democratic debate and strategies in South Africa, and to relate these to larger questions about the extent to which democratic culture, and specifically those aspects of democracy that relate to gender equality, is taking root in both the public and private sphere. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [ASC Leiden abstract]