News & events


Old Enough to Know: Consulting Children about Sex and AIDS Education in Africa

16 April 2012
11:00 - 14:30

Date : 16 April 2012

Time : 11:00 – 14:30

Location : VCC centres in Cape Town, Durban, and Pretoria

Book Launch, Seminar and Workshop 

Speakers: Prof Arvin Bhana, Prof Leickness Simbayi, Prof Sharlene Swartz and Mr Duncan Scott (HSRC); Dr Colleen McLaughlin and Dr Susan Kiragu (University of Cambridge), Dr Sana Mmolai (University of Botswana); and Dr Ariane DeLannoy (Children’s Institute, UCT).

You are cordially invited to join us at the launch of the recently published book Old Enough to Know: Consulting children about sex and AIDS education in Africa (HSRC Press). The book launch will take the form of a seminar with the authors speaking followed by responses from experts in education, children’s rights and HIV and AIDS. Thereafter we will report on preliminary results from six African countries regarding how the main focus of the book – consulting children about sex and AIDS education – has been implemented, and take time for focused discussion on how this study could inform practice and policy.

Old Enough To Know: Consulting children about sex and AIDS education in Africa, describes a compelling study, comprising of a sample of eight schools in three countries in sub-Saharan Africa – Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania – that examined the sources, contents and processes of children’s community-based sexual knowledges. Fundamentally, it asked how these knowledges interact with AIDS education programmes in school and showcases the possibilities of consulting pupils using engaging, interactive and visual methods. The study sheds fresh light on teachers’ fears and struggles with a lack of training and limited opportunities for reflection on practice. It engages in dialogue with conflicting voices of community stakeholders who are both aware of the dangers faced by children living in a world with AIDS and who are also afraid of the many cultural, religious and moral restraints to sex education in Africa.

Please note

Seminar attendees will each receive a free comprehensive summary of Old Enough to Know. Copies of the book will be on sale. Refreshments will be served between the seminar and workshop. Parking is available by prior arrangement.



  • Speakers will be in Cape Town, however this launch discussion and workshop may be attended via video conference at venues in Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town:
  • Cape Town: 12th Floor Plein Park Building (opposite Parliament), 69-83 Plein Street, Cape Town
  • Contact Jean Witten: t: (021) 466 8070 or
  • Durban:  First floor boardroom, 750 Francois Road, Intuthuko Junction, PODS 5 and 6, Cato Manor
  • Contact Ridhwaan Kahn: t: (031) 242 5400 or
  • Pretoria: HSRC Video Conference on the 1st floor of the HSRC Library, 134 Pretorius Street
  • Contact Arlene Grossberg: t: (012) 302 2811 or

About the speakers 

  • Prof Arvin Bhana is the Executive Director of the Human and Social Development research programme of the Human Sciences Research Council.
  • Dr Ariane De Lannoy is a Senior Researcher at the Children’s Institute and a lecturer in the department of sociology at the University of Cape Town.
  • Dr Susan Kiragu is a Research Associate at the Centre for Commonwealth Education, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, UK. Her research interests are centred in Africa –especially on HIV/AIDS and sexuality education, and gender and education.
  • Dr Colleen McLaughlin is Deputy Head of Faculty at the Faculty of Education University of Cambridge, and a project leader in the Centre for Commonwealth Education. Her recent publications include The Supportive School: Wellbeing and the Young Adolescent (with J Gray, M Galton, B Clark, & J Symonds, Cambridge: Scholars Press, 2011); Networking Practitioner Research (with K Black-Hawkins & D McIntyre, London: Routledge, 2007) and Researching Schools: Stories from a Schools-University Partnership for Educational Research (with, K Black-Hawkins, S Brindley, D McIntyre & K Taber, London: Routledge, 2006).
  • Dr Sana Mmolai is lecturer in educational foundations at the University of Botswana, and project leader for Botswana.
  • Mr Duncan Scott has a Masters degree in African studies from the University of Oxford, and works as a research at the Human Sciences Research Council.
  • Prof Leickness Simbayi is the Executive Director of the HIV/AIDS, STIs and TB programme of the Human Sciences Research Council.
  • Prof Sharlene Swartz is a research director in the Human and Social Development research programme of the Human Sciences Research Council and an adjunct Associate Professor in the department of Sociology a the University of Cape Town. She is the author of Teenage tata (Cape Town: HSRC Press, 2009 with A Bhana), The moral ecology of South Africa’s township youth (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, Johannesburg: Wits Press, 2009); Moral Education in sub-Saharan Africa: Culture, economics, conflict and AIDS (London: Routledge, 2011, co-edited with M Taylor); and Youth citizenship and the politics of belonging (London: Routledge, 2012 forthcoming, co-edited with M Arnot).



11.00 – 12.30             Seminar and Book Launch


11.00 – 11.15           Welcome and introductory comments: Prof Arvin Bhana


11.15 – 11.50           Presentation: Dr Colleen McLaughlin, Prof Sharlene Swartz and Dr Sue Kiragu


11.50 – 12.00            Response 1: Dr Ariane DeLannoy


12.00 – 12.10           Response 2: Prof Leickness Simbayi


12.10 – 12.30          Questions


12.30 – 13.00          Refreshments


13.00 – 14.30          Workshop for policy makers, academics  and practitioners


13.00 – 13.35         The implementation of a consultative strategy for sex and AIDS education in primary schools: Initial findings from 6 countries in Africa (Dr Colleen McLaughlin, Dr Sue Kiragu, Mr Duncan Scott, Dr Sana Mmolai, teachers and learners from participating schools)


13.35 – 14.20         Sector specific discussion groups


14.20 – 14.30         Concluding remarks

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