Since the early 1990s, researchers at CSVR have sought to come to grips with ongoing forms of violence that have characterized South Africa’s transition to democracy. Violence escalated sharply during the period of negotiations and, rather than declining following the 1994 elections, has continued to characterize daily life in post-democratic South Africa. Between 1999 and 2005/6, two successive phases of the Violence in Transition Project (VTP) sought to explore the complex relationship between transition and multiple forms of violence.

More recently, VTP3 sought to extend the focus of this earlier work through an engagement with issues of violence and transition across three countries: South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe. In order to create a basis for this intra-continental conversation, two broad thematic areas were identified, namely informal armed formations and gender-based violence. With regards to the South African research, CSVR entered into a partnership with the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape. The Institute for Peace, Leadership and Governance at Africa University and the Nairobi Peace Initiative - Africa undertook the Zimbabwe and Kenya research, respectively.

The papers published here represent the work of the South African study. As part of the informal armed formations theme, Godfrey Maringira and Kylie Thomas revisit two of the key research issues addressed by VTP1 and 2, namely the question of ex-combatant identities and vigilantism. With regards to gender-based violence, Kylie Thomas focuses on violence against lesbian women, and problematizes the labelling of such violence as ‘corrective’ (as in ‘corrective rape’), while Chiedza Chagutah and Jasmina Brankovic explore the violence of young men through the respective lenses of masculinities and structural violence.

The paper ‘Opportunities and Challenges of South-South Partnership: Reflections on a Collaborative Research Project on Violence and Transition in Africa’ reflects on some of the rewards and challenges of intra-continental research.

Godfrey Maringira, with Jasmina Brankovic, The Persistence of Military Identities among Ex-Combatants in South Africa (Cape Town: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation and Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape, 2013).

Kylie Thomas, The Power of Naming: ‘Senseless Violence’ and Violent Law in Post-Apartheid South Africa (Cape Town: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation and Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape, 2012).

Kylie Thomas, Homophobia, Injustice and ‘Corrective Rape’ in Post-Apartheid South Africa (Cape Town: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation and Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape, 2013).

Jasmina Brankovic, Leaving the Gangster Things to the Boys Growing Up Now: Young Men, Physical Violence, and Structural Violence in Post-Transition South Africa (Cape Town: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation and Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape, 2012).

Hugo van der Merwe, Nicky Rousseau, Naana Marekia, Pamela Machakanja and Eunice Bere, Opportunities and Challenges of South-South Partnership: Reflections on a Collaborative Research Project on Violence and Transition in Africa (Cape Town: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, Centre for Humanities Research at University of the Western Cape, Institute for Peace, Leadership and Governance at Africa University and Nairobi Peace Initiative-Africa, 2013).

Kylie Thomas, Masheti Masinjila and Eunice Bere. 2013. "Political transition and sexual and gender-based violence in South Africa, Kenya, and Zimbabwe: A comparative analysis." Gender & Development 21(3): 519-532.