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Feminist Reflections on the Impact of the South African National Covid-19 Lockdown on The Upsurge Of Gender Based Violence in Mahwelereng Township of Limpopo Province, South Africa.

K.E Amaechi
T.D Thobejane
R Rasalokwane


The article investigates the relationship between the South African COVID-19 national lockdown and the upsurge of domestic violence in rural communities in South Africa. It draws from the experiences of female victims and narratives of the perpetrators of domestic violence in the Mahwelereng township, to systematically explain how the national lock-down provided enabling background for gender-based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Two overriding research questions guided the study: First, under what conditions did domestic violence occur during the COVID-19 lockdown in the township? Second, how were acts of violence justified by the perpetrators in the township? To answer these questions, the study has relied on feminist epistemologies, within which gender-based violence is interpreted as a result of threat to hegemony masculinity. Having been socialised in the culture of violence, the perpetrators of GBV (who were all men) within the township, were found to have resorted to the use of violence against their partners amidst changes in their family financial structure and the household confinements they experienced during this period. Within the context of these conditions, acts of violence against intimate partners were easily justified as an acceptable means to maintain control and remain the rightful head of the family.

Keywords: COVID-19, Gender-based violence, Patriarchal violence, Masculinities, Pandemic, Patriarchy, South African national lockdown