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South Africa

Babies in Johannesburg Central Prison are inmates by default, forced to spend their first two years with no exposure to the outside world.

Growing up behind bars can be traumatic, but some prisons work hard to improve conditions for the children of women inmates.

No matter how much effort goes into painting them, Mickey Mouse and Timothy Traddle will always look out of place on the walls of a prison.


May 2012: Dominique Roberts talks with gilrs in the Kayamandi township - "Thandeka is age 19. She lives in a three-roomed shack with her mother, grandmother, four step-siblings and her toddler..."


May 2012: By Koketso Moeti - "Speaking to girls who had attended school, it seems that the ugly head of poverty once again affects girls' ability to complete school..."


According to the Institute for Security Studies, South Africa has one of the highest level of child rape globally....

Members of the ANC Women's League and other activists vent their anger outside court. | Photo: Chris Collingridge  INLSA

In the notorious cellphone video of a 17-year-old girl being gang-raped, the perpetrators are seen laughing and taking turns to rape her.

As the seven accused walked into the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court, some hid their faces in shame.

South African woman fetching water

March 2012: Report by Koketso Moeti - "As primary caregivers, women are the heaviest users of water... they often compromise their own safety by going long distances for water."

Mini-skirt march in Johannesburg

March 2012: By Koketso Moeti - "Until the day that women are able to walk fearlessly through the nation’s streets, no one can truly say that they are free. A woman's dress code should never be taken as an invitation to rape, molest, or violate her in any way..."

Demonstration against corrective rape | Photo: Str8talk Chronicle

South Africa was the first country in the world to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation in its constitution... –  but in the inner townships horrific violence against lesbian women continues unabated.


Feb 2012: By Koketso Moeti - "For every child lost by a marginalised woman –  as a nation we lose potential, and close a door to possibility...  "


Some condoms burst. Others leaked like sieves. South Africa's leading anti-AIDS group said Tuesday that allegedly faulty condoms are among more than 1.35 million handed out at the African National Congress' 100th birthday party.

Baby "TN" receives expressed breast milk. Photo: iThemba Lethu

South Africa’s high child mortality rates have forced the government to rethink its policy on infant feeding and move to discontinue the free provision of formula milk at hospitals and clinics, as well as promote an exclusive breastfeeding strategy for all mothers, including those living with HIV.

 Sisonke Msimang is the executive director of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa

It is complicated to be a women with children and a career

I soon realised I was not turning out to be the feminist leader I had hoped I would be.