“We Fit in the Society by Force” Sex Work and Feminism in Africa
Ntokozo Yingwana. (2018). “We Fit in the Society by Force”: Sex Work and Feminism in Africa. Meridians, 17 (2): 279–295. Duke University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1215/15366936-7176439. [OPEN ACCESS for first 3-months]
What does it mean to be an African sex worker feminist? In answering this question this essay draws from two qualitative studies with two African sex worker groups in 2014 and 2015 — the South African movement of sex workers called Sisonke, and the African Sex Worker Alliance (ASWA). Although participants were initially reluctant to give a precise definition, many pointed to elements that could constitute such an identity. Based on their embodied lived experiences, each participant illustrated and described what it meant for them to be an African, a sex worker, and a feminist, and then collectively discussed these in relation to each other and the social dimensions they occupy. Even though these three identities may seem incongruent, in certain embodiments they actually inform each other. The aim of this work is for all feminists to recognize each other as comrades in the struggle for gender and sexual liberation, thus strengthening solidarity across social justice movements.