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Omarjee, Nadira & Lau, Ursula  ( 2005) Conflicts in Africa: Intersectionality of GBV and HIV/AIDS. CCS Grant Report : 1-67.

This study aimed to understand the experiences of African women in conflict-affected situations. The research intends to foster links and partnerships between People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) and other African NGO’s and CBO’s working in the field of GBV by sharing information and negotiating strategies for dealing with and alleviating GBV in this specific context. The vision to work with other African NGO’s is part of President Thabo Mbeki’s vision for an African Renaissance by which African countries determine African solutions for African problems.

POWA was established in 1979 in a climate of conflict, during the apartheid era, with white men superior to black men and women. Black women were subordinates to both black and white men as well as white women. This hierarchy of white men over black men and women created a cycle of state violence. The intersectionality1 of state violence and gender-based violence (GBV) highlights the hierarchy of subjugation of men by other men through racial, class and religious discursive practices perpetuating the vulnerability of women and children. It was in this light that women found themselves excluded from policy-making processes and as autonomous self-determined members of a citizenry. The insidious denouement in post-apartheid South Africa has ramifications for the perpetuation of GBV. Under this backdrop of the South African experience, POWA serves as a resource in mapping out the transitioning of an NGO from a conflict to post-conflict response organisation dealing with GBV.

POWA’s position regarding this research is based on fostering a partnership, networking and sharing of information around GBV with NGOs and CBOs in countries that are conflict-affected. POWA is concerned with alleviating GBV in Gauteng but also inassisting and increasing knowledge about GBV in various other situations. POWA is aware of the sensitivities around GBV and conducts research on this basis with a strong ethical research code. The results yielded from this research would contribute to a collaborative approach towards dealing with gender issues related to armed conflicts which affect Africa as a continent. In terms of collaborative efforts amongst NGOs throughout Africa, a contribution towards meeting Thabo Mbeki’s vision for an African Renaissance could be achieved.

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