Gender, peace-building and transitional justice in African contexts Programme

About the Gender, peace-building and transitional justice in African contexts programme:

The African Gender Institute seeks to  develop theory-building research, based on the experience of women peace activists, which moves beyond narratives of women’s victimization or achievements. Gender dynamics play a central role in the meaning of what happens, to whom, where and how, and while it is no secret that women and children are the first to become displaced and attacked as “non-military” targets, gender analysis of conflict reveals more than this. Such analysis reveals that all processes associated with the generation and resolution of conflict are gendered, and that peace-building which does not take this, and women’s experiences of conflict into account, is doomed to failure.

Gender, peace-building and transitional justice in African contexts: Areas of Work


Partnership Building

Public Intellectual Dialogue

Capacity Building

Programme People:

Dr Helen Scanlon

Dr Helen Scanlon is a Senior Lecturer in the Gender Studies Section in the School of African and Gender Studies, Anthropology and Linguistics (Faculty of Humanities). She is also a Researcher in the African Gender Institute. She joined the AGI in March 2011. Prior to this she was the Director of the International Center for Transitional Justice’s (ICTJ) Gender Justice Program based in Cape Town, South Africa. She holds a Ph.D. in South African history from the School of Oriental Studies at the University of London. Before joining ICTJ in 2007 Helen worked at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, in both a teaching and research capacity. Between 2002 and 2004 she was a research fellow in UCT’s Department of Historical Studies and afterwards worked for the African Gender Institute. Between 2005 and 2007 Helen was Senior Researcher for the Centre for Conflict Resolution’s Policy Development and Research department. She has published widely on gender justice issues in Africa. She is co-editor with Adekeye Adebajo of A Dialogue of the Deaf: Essays on Africa and the United Nations (Johannesburg: Jacana, 2006) and author of Representation and Reality: Portraits of Women’s Lives in the Western Cape 1948-1976 (Cape Town: HSRC, 2007).

Contact Details:
Tel: (+27) 21 650 4205

Dr. Tim Murithi (Honorary Research Associate at the AGI)

Dr. Tim Murithi, Head of the Justice and Reconciliation in Africa Programme at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, in Cape Town recently joined the African Gender Institute as Honorary Research Associate.

Dr. Murithi has over 18 years of experience in the field of peacebuilding, governance and security in Africa. He has also held posts at Institute for Security Studies, in Addis Ababa; the Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford, in the United Kingdom; the Centre for Conflict Resolution, University of Cape Town; and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), in Geneva, Switzerland. He has also worked as an Adviser to the African Union and UN Development Programme in Sierra Leone. From 1995 to 1998 he taught at the Department for International Relations, Keele University, England, where he also obtained his Ph.D in International Relations. He is on the International Advisory Boards of the Journal of Peacebuilding and Development, African Journal of Conflict Resolution and the African Peace and Conflict Journal and the journal Peacebuilding. He has authored over 75 journal articles, book chapters and policy papers. He has contributed chapters to Women and Security Governance in Africa (Pambazuka Press, 2011) edited by ‘Funmi Olonisakin and Awino Okech and The Politics of Gender: A Survey (Routledge, 2010) edited by Yoke-Lian Lee. He is the author and editor of six books, including: The Ethics of Peacebuilding (Edinburgh University Press, 2009); and The African Union: Pan-Africanism, Peacebuilding and Development (Ashgate, 2005). He is editor of: The African Union Peace and Security Council: A Five Year Appraisal (ISS, 2012) and Towards a Union Government of Africa: Challenges and Opportunities (ISS, 2008). He is co-editor of: The African Union and its Institutions (Jacana, 2008) and Zimbabwe in Transition: A View from Within (Jacana, 2011).



Yaliwe Clarke is a Lecturer in the Gender Studies Section in the School of African and Gender Studies, Anthropology and Linguistics (Faculty of Humanities).

Bunting, Annie. 2012. "‘Forced Marriage’ in Conflict Situations: Researching and Prosecuting Old Harms and New Crimes". Canadian Journal of Human Rights, 1(1):165-185.
Abstract: In 2008, the Appeals Chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) found “forced marriage” to be a new crime against humanity, distinct from the crime of sexual slavery. With expert evidence on the abduction and forced labour of women and girls during the extended conflict in Sierra Leone, the SCSL found such forced conjugal association to be part of the widespread or systematic attack on the civilian population in Sierra Leone. This article examines the Court’s decision in the context of developments of international criminal law and with comparisons to similar gender violence in Liberia, Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The author argues that practices described as “forced marriage” in these conflict situations ought to be charged as “enslavement” and not a new crime against humanity – the other inhumane act of forced marriage. READ MORE.

Clarke, Y. 2013. 'Gender and Peacebuilding in Africa: Seeking Conceptual Clarity', Africa Peace and Conflict Journal, 6 (1). READ ARTICLE.

Murithi, T. (Ed). 2013. Handbook of Africa's International Relations Publisher, London: Routledge Publication. Purchase a copy

Source: UN News Centre (24 June 2013)
The Security Council today sent a strong signal to perpetrators of sexual violence in conflict that their crimes will not be tolerated, adopting a new resolution to strengthen efforts to end impunity for a scourge that affects not only large numbers of women and girls but also men and boys.

May 28-30, 2013: Six women Nobel Peace Laureates and more than 80 activists, academics, and philanthropists from around the world gathered in Belfast, Northern Ireland, for Moving Beyond Militarism & War: Women-driven solutions for a nonviolent world.

Source: openDemocracy website
Amina Mama (30 May 2013)

It is not that ‘masculinity’ generates war, as the question has been put, but rather that the process of militarization both draws on and exaggerates the bipolarization of gender identities in extremis. Amina Mama writes from the Nobel Women's Initiative conference in Belfast. READ MORE.

The African Gender Institute at the University of Cape Town, South Africa invites applications for an intensive week-long residential course on “Gender, Peacebuilding and Transitional Justice: Theory and Practice in Africa” 2 - 6 September 2013

The people of Bukavu are facing greater threats to their safety after last week’s attack on renowned surgeon Dr. Denis Mukwege.  He is the Director of Panzi Hospital, which has treated over 40,000 survivors of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. On October 25, armed men shot at Dr. Mukwege at his home.  Dr. Mukwege survived, but his long-time guard Joseph Bizimana died in the attack.

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