An elaboration of the themes and contentions in Mmatshilo Motsei's book The Kanga and the Kangaroo Court, reflections on the rape trial of Jacob Zuma

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South African Journal of Criminal Justice

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University of Cape Town

It is important to highlight discourses from black gender activists and researchers when dissecting the issue of sexual violence in South Africa, as most victims of sexual crimes are black women and children who also struggle with subtle race, class and cultural obstacles. Unfortunately, at the present time, the voices of black women activists and researchers, including Mmatshilo Motsei, are considered superfluous in legislative debates surrounding sexual violence and therefore important race, class and cultural influences are not fully addressed when sexual offences Bills come before Parliament or when sexual violence cases are heard by magistrates and judges. Using Motsei's book as a guide, this article focuses on the cultural influences that are not being properly addressed in Parliament and in the criminal justice system and it suggests possible legislative reforms that can assist prosecutors and magistrates when they confront official customary law and living customary law in evidentiary, procedural and sentencing matters.