School of Education

Deevia Bhana

Deevia Bhana
Deevia Bhana Professor



DSI/NRF South African Research Chair (SARChI) and Professor



Deevia Bhana is the DSI/NRF South African Research Chair in Gender and Childhood Sexuality. She has written extensively on the experience of gender and sexuality in the young life course bringing a broad interdisciplinary social science lens to understanding how gender and sexuality is experienced by children and young people and the implications thereof for addressing violence, sex education and sexual health interventions. In addressing an area of high significance, the research contributes to a reconceptualization of childhood sexuality in a nascent field of study with significant practical value in expanding children and young people’s sexual agency, sexual knowledge and their right to sexual safety with a focus on the role that education plays in shaping decisions, policies and structures that impact on sexual well-being and gender equality.

Her distinctive contributions and impact are reflected in several international keynotes, invited talks and her active role in science engagement. She collaborates with researchers across the social sciences including Women and Gender Studies, Anthropology, Sociology and Education. Her publications, include 11 books, and over 147 book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals. Her work appears in leading journals such as AIDS Education & Prevention; British Educational Research Journal; British Journal of Sociology of Education; Gender & Education; International Journal of Educational Development; International Journal of Inclusive Education; Journal of Southern African Studies; Sexualities; Social Science and Medicine, Youth Studies.

She has authored five books and is a co-author of two books. The latest authored book is entitled Girls and the Negotiation of Porn in South Africa: Power, Play and Sexuality (In press, Routledge). She has co-edited four books. Her latest co-edited books are Gender, Sexuality and Violence in South African Educational Spaces (2021, Palgrave Macmillan) and Sex and Sexualities, Sexual Health and Justice: Perspectives from Southern Africa (In press, Routledge).

As the SARChI Chair Deevia Bhana is actively involved in supervising a large cohort of students and has a significant impact in building the research profile of the next generation of young scholars in the field.

She is the recipient of several awards. The latest award is the Medal for Social Sciences and Humanities from the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and Universities South Africa (USAf): Established Researcher in April 2022.

Deevia Bhana is an NRF B1 Rated Researcher.


Recent Supervision (2018-2022)

Science Engagement

A record of contribution to the public’s understanding of gender and childhood sexuality:

Media Interviews

  1. The prevalence of rape culture in South African Schools
  2. Examining rape culture in schools
  3. Young girls experiencing GBV in schools

Invited Talks

  1. NRF-Embassy of Sweden Webinar on the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence: Hearing and listening to marginalised voices campaign (online event). Theme: Gender-Based Violence in marginalised groups and communities.
    08 December 2021, 14:00 – 15:30

Op-Ed Articles

  1. Bhana, D. (2021). Rape culture in South African schools: Where it comes from and how to change it. Conversation.
  2. Mayeza, E. & Bhana, D. (2021) Why girls continue to experience violence at South African schools?
  3. Bhana, D. (2020). Of African girls, femininities and violence: Pushing against the stereotype/Über Mädchen in Afrika, Weiblichkeiten und Gewalt: Den Stereotypen entgegen treten
  4. Bhana, D. (2020). Violent behaviour shows up at primary school — and can end there too. Conversation.
  5. McGrath, K., Bhana, D., Van Bergen, P. & Moosa, S. (2019). Do we really need male teachers? Forget those old reasons, here’s new research.
  6. Bhana, D., McGrath, K., van Bergen, P., & Moosa, S. (2019). Why having both male and female teachers is a good idea for schools. Conversation.

Upcoming Events


10 May 2022

PsySSA 2022 Workshop Series: Workshop 1 - Sexual consent in young adults: A moment or a movement? 

Topic: Sexual Consent: Sex, Power and Young People 


20 June 2022

British Sociological Association New Materialisms study group seminar. 

Topic: Topic: 'Teenage girls and the entanglement with online porn: A new feminist materialist perspective' 

09h30 - 10h30

14 July 2022

I SexAFIN International Virtual Conference “(Re)thinking about comprehensive sexuality education from a child-centered and gendered perspective”.  2nd Conference day: Strategies of CSE 

Topic: Comprehensive Sexuality Education and Young Children: Needed and Denied.