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03 May 2024

HSRC Publishing: new releases

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

A Bold Profession: African Nurses in Rural Apartheid South Africa by Leslie Ann Hadfield

Although their daily work may seem commonplace, nurses occupy a crucial position in society where several debates and social issues intersect. This was certainly the case for African female nurses who navigated the implications of apartheid politics, African healing practices and changing gender relations in South Africa.

Drawing on the words of nurses themselves and extensive archival work, A Bold Profession demonstrates how nurses working in rural Ciskei from the 1960s to the 1980s helped shape notions of health and healing in rural communities as they negotiated different medical beliefs and practices, and changing gender roles. Their training, commitment and acknowledgement of Xhosa medicine helped them succeed in providing healthcare in difficult circumstances.

The developments of this historic period and the actions of nurses working within the complicated apartheid homeland system are important to understanding the healthcare history South Africa has inherited. This history also sheds light on current challenges nations face in ensuring access to quality healthcare, increases our understanding of the exchanges between medical systems, and addresses the long-time challenges of professional women in balancing their careers and family lives.

The volume fills an important gap for scholars studying the history of women, nursing and healthcare in South Africa, illuminating the humanity of healthcare workers.

Full title: A Bold Profession

Subtitle: African Nurses in Rural Apartheid South Africa

Author: Leslie Anne Hadfield

Publication: February 2024

ISBN:          978-0-7969-2659-3

Format: 228 x 152mm

Extent: 276pp

Price: R380

Gendered and Sexual Lives of South African Youth: Young People’s Stories of Identity, edited by Floretta Boonzaier and Simone Peters

Gendered and Sexual Lives of South African Youth: Young People’s Stories of Identity speaks to a gap in current work on South African youth – namely, the lack of a sustained gendered analysis of young people’s lives in the post-apartheid context. This lack has meant that opportunities to engage young people in discourses of equality and non-violence continue to be marginal. High rates of gendered and sexual violence, fuelled by continuing gendered inequalities, alongside their intersections with other forms of inequity, provide the impetus for the project. The book project showcases the work undertaken by the authors, who have employed participatory research methodologies with diverse groups of young people.

This research provides the opportunity to engage with youth in ways that depart significantly from moralistic and protectionist standpoints about gender and sexuality, while enabling them to develop a critical consciousness about their gendered and sexual identifications and lives. The authors’ work explores young people’s experiences of, and identifications with, gender and sexuality, and their intersections with other categories such as race, class, age or place. It brings to the forefront the knowledge and expertise that young people have about their own experiences and lives, and how they might be able to live freely, equally and without violence.

The book will interest researchers and policymakers who seek to advance the interests of South African youth, and mainstream readers who seek to expand their understanding of the topic.

Full title: Gendered and Sexual Lives of South African Youth

Subtitle: Young People’s Stories of Identity

Volume Editors: Floretta Boonzaier and Simone Peters

Publication: March 2024

ISBN: 978-1-928246-64-0

Format: 210 x 148mm

Extent: 224pp

Price: R350

Author contact details:

HSRC Publishing titles are available from leading booksellers nationally and from the sales agent, Blue Weaver, at

View the HSRC Publishing’s 2023/2024 catalogue here.

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

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