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Exploring Issues of sexuality, Culture and Diversity in HE

Exploring Issues of sexuality, Culture and Diversity in HE

On Thursday last week (02 July 2015), DUT’s office of International Relations hosted a delegation from Fullbright-Hays, University of Pennsylvania, where issues of sexuality, culture and diversity within the education sector were discussed.

The discussion was held to highlight and share information on issues affecting universities across the world.

“Although we are not the most violent society in the world, there is still some structural violence and cultural violence,” said Crispin Hemson, Director of the International Centre of Non-Violence at DUT. Hemson further added that the country still faced sexual violence, such rapes of lesbians because of their sexuality, adding that there were also issues of violence being normalised and justified through language.

Also participating in the discussion was Dr Thabo Msibi, a Senior Lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), who said although the country (South Africa) was transforming, a lot of non-conformity between the sexes still existed. “In our societies, we still find that there is still a lot of homophobia, rejection of other cultures, races and those of the same sex. There are still communities where women cannot express their sexuality, corrective rape where young lesbians are raped and homophobia is quiet prevalent township and urban areas. Research by Dr Dheva Bhana revealed that violence is also perpetrated by teachers in schools. The laws are there but individuals are not fully protected,” said Dr Msibi. He said teachers are often ill-prepared to raise awareness on such issues, however adding that there are interventions taking place across the country to level the safety and equity paradigm aimed at creating safe environments in the education sector.

Through the discussion, the different stakeholders discussed how issues of gender and stereotypes can lead to harassment.

– Noxolo Memela

Pictured: Delegates from DUT, UKZN and the University of Pennsylvania during last week’s delegation meeting hosted by DUT’s office of International Relations where issues of sexuality, culture and diversity within the education sector were discussed.

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