Gender and sexual risk amongst young Africans in the KwaMakhutha township, in KwaZulu-Natal.
Mirindi, Mushagalusa Marcel.
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This study sets out to examine understandings of gender and sexual risks amongst young Africans in the KwaMakhutha township, in KwaZulu-Natal. Young Africans between the ages of 16 to 17 years old were interviewed to ascertain what they perceive to be risky sexual behaviour and why young people engage in such activities. The study also aimed to understand whether young people understood the negative consequences of risky behaviour. Such insight from young peoples' perspectives is very helpful in understanding what schools can do to prevent risk taking activities especially in the context of AIDS. KwaZulu-Natal is the epicentre of the AIDS pandemic in South Africa and young people between the ages of 15-24 are very vulnerable with young women facing disproportionate vulnerability. A qualitative research method was used in this study and ten in-depth interviews were conducted in one of the high schools in the KwaMakutha Township, outside Durban. The study finds that gender inequalities is central in understanding sexual risk and constructions of masculinity and femininity reproduce sexual and gender relations of power where young women remain vulnerable. Schools should take the voices of young people seriously and address gender inequalities as a key area of intervention.