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This paper describes the role of culture in perpetuating violence against women. It does this by contextualizing violence against women in South Africa within the grand project of transformation taking place there, and highlighting the possibilities of fundamental restructuring, with respect to rights and equality for women, when the feminist project intersects with the non-racial project. The paper, therefore, visits a familiar question, namely, the obstacles to transformation when the eradication of racism takes precedence over the elimination of sexism, as it historically has in South Africa. In addition, this paper describes recent attempts by the legislature and courts in South Africa to curb violence against women. This paper concludes by focusing on the possibilities and limitations of the law in eradicating violence against women, and argues that a comprehensive approach involving institutions other than the law would ultimately be more fruitful.


Temple Political & Civil Rights Law Review, Vol. 8, Issue 2 (Spring 1999), pp. 425-458