RE­LI­GIOUS IN­FLU­ENCES

Finweek English Edition - - COVER STORY -

The In­ter­na­tional En­cy­clo­pe­dia of Sex­u­al­ity pub­lished by Con­tin­uum In­ter­na­tional Pub­lish­ing (now Blooms­bury) avail­able on­line at The Kin­sey In­sti­tute’s web­site, con­tains re­veal­ing ob­ser­va­tions about sex­ual at­ti­tudes in SA. Re­searched and writ­ten by lo­cal aca­demics and doc­tors, the schol­arly tome makes for fas­ci­nat­ing (if not voyeuris­tic) read­ing. It re­lates how the most vo­cif­er­ous sup­port from cen­sor­ship, pre-apartheid, came from re­li­gious de­nom­i­na­tions led by the Dutch Re­formed Church.

“The re­li­gious-i nf lu­enced taboos around sex­u­al­ity are par­tic­u­larly strong in SA. Pub­lic dis­course on sex­u­al­ity has been se­verely re­stricted by le­gal, po­lit­i­cal, re­li­gious, and so­cial norms. Strin­gent cen­sor­ship has been a cen­tral and a bizarre fea­ture of South African life. For ex­am­ple, in 1965, an [Afrikaans] movie, Deb­bie, was ini­tially banned be­cause the chair­man of the cen­sor board be­lieved that Afrikaner women do not get preg­nant while un­mar­ried,” the SA chap­ter reads.

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