School of Education

Deevia Bhana

Deevia Bhana


DSI/NRF South African Research Chair: Gender and Childhood Sexuality




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Deevia Bhana is a Professor and the South African Research Chair (SARChI) in Gender and Childhood Sexuality whose research focuses on building an understanding of gender, childhood sexualities and schooling across the young life course in South Africa and whose writing concerns gender and childhood sexualities in education globally. Her research is committed to intersectional theoretical approaches spanning critical sexualities, feminist, childhood and masculinity studies in researching sexualities, power, agency and gender equality in education. She is the author of 8 books and widely published in top international journals including British Journal of Sociology of Education, Social Science and Medicine, Culture Health & Sexuality, Oxford Review of Education. Her most recent work, to be published by Palgrave MacMillan, is a co-edited book titled Gender, sexuality and violence in South African (SA) educational spaces which makes a claim for a ‘three-ply yarn approach’ to the study of violence from the standpoint of children and young people themselves. She is currently working on two books including a co-edited book titled, Sex and Sexualities, Sexual Health and Justice: Perspectives from Southern Africa to be published by Routledge.

She is the co-Chief Editor of Children & Society (Wiley), the Associate Editor of Health Education Journal (Sage) and is a member of 9 international editorial boards including Gender and Education, Sex Education and Discourse. Deevia is also co-Chair of RINGS (International Research Association of Institutions of Advanced Gender Studies). RINGS ‘connects leading research institutes and centres from Africa, Australia, Europe, and North and Central America and aims to facilitate collaboration and contacts within gender studies across the world.’



  • Bhana, D., Singh, S & Thabo Msibi (Eds.) (In press). Gender, Sexuality and Violence in South African Educational Spaces. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave MacMillan
  • Bhana, D (2018). Love, sex and teenage sexual cultures in South Africa: 16 turning 17. Abingdon: Routledge
  • Pillay, V, Mitra vom Berg, N., Bhana, D., Guimaraes Mattos, C and Almedia de Castro, P. (2017). Academic Mothers in the Developing World: Stories from Women in India, Brazil and South Africa. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press.
  • Mkhwanazi, N and Bhana, D. (Eds) (2017). Young Families: Gender, Sexuality and Care. Cape Town: HSRC Press.
  • Bhana, D. (2016). Gender and Childhood Sexuality in Primary School. Singapore: Springer.
  • Bhana, D. (2016). Childhood Sexuality and AIDS Education: The Price of Innocence. New York: Routledge.
  • Bhana, D.(2014). Under Pressure: The Regulation of Sexualities in South Africa Secondary Schools. Braamfontein: MaThoko’s Books.
  • Morrell, R; Bhana, D and Shefer, T. (Eds). (2012). Books and/or Babies. Pregnancy and young parents at school. Cape Town: HSRC Press.
  • Morrell, R, Epstein, D, Unterhalter, E, Bhana, Dand Moletsane, R. (2009). Towards Equality? Gender in South African schools during the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Pietermaritzburg: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press.
  • Bhana, D., Xu, Y., & Emilsen, K (2020) Masculinity, Sexuality and Resistance. In Eds. David Brody, Tim Rohrmann, Kari Emilsen & Jo Warin (2020). Exploring Career Trajectories of Men in the Early Childhood Education and Care Workforce (pp.138-150): Why They Leave and Why They Stay. New York: Routledge
  • Mvune, N and Bhana, D (2020): Sandile’s story In Nolwazi Mkhwanazi and Lenore Manderson (Eds) Connected Lives Families, Households, Health and Care in Contemporary South Africa. Cape Town, South Africa: HSRC Press.
  • Bhana, D. (2020) “Little boys”: The significance of early childhood in the making of masculinities In Lucas Gottzén, Ulf Mellström and Tamara Shefer, Routledge International Handbook of Masculinity Studies. London: Routledge.
  • Bhana, D & Shefer, T. (2020) Gender, Culture and Sexuality: Young People’s Conceptualisation of ‘Queer’ in South Africa. In Jón Ingvar Kjaran and  Helen Sauntson (Eds) Schools as Queer Transformative Spaces: Global Narratives on Sexualities and Gender. London: Routledge.
  • Bhana D. (2019) Girls’ Sexuality Between Agency and Vulnerability. In: Yacob-Haliso O., Falola T. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of African Women’s Studies. Palgrave Macmillan: Cham. DOI
  • Bhana, D. (2019) Research under surveillance: sexuality and gender-based research with children in South Africa In, S. Lamb and J. Gilbert (Eds). (pp. 369-386), The Cambridge Handbook of Sexual Development Childhood and Adolescence. UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • Bhana, D. (2017) Anisa’s Story: Being and becoming a teenage mother in an Indian Community In N. Mkhwanazi and D Bhana (Eds). (pp.53-64) Young families: gender, sexuality and care. Cape Town: HSRC Press.
  • Mkhwanazi, N and Bhana, D (2017) Understanding young families In N. Mkhwanazi and D Bhana (Eds). Young families: gender, sexuality and care. (pp.3-16) Cape Town: HSRC Press.
  • Bhana, D. (2017). Childhood Sexualities in Africa: Agency and Vulnerability In, Yaw Ofosu-Kusi (Ed) Children’s agency and development in African societies, Senegal: Codesria
  • Bhana, D. (2017) Sexualities and gender-based research in youth studies In A. Furlong (Ed.) Routledge Handbook of Youth and Young Adulthood, 2nd Edition, (pp. 339-346) Abingdon and New York: Routledge.
  • Pattman, R and Bhana, D (2017) Learning from the learners: how research with young people can provide models of good pedagogic practice in sexuality education in South Africa. In Louisa Allen, Mary Lou Rasmussen (Eds). (pp. 191-210) The Palgrave Handbook of Sexuality Education. London: Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Bhana, D (2016) Masculinities, femininities and the burden of culture among rural South African teenagers in the context of HIV. In P.Liamputtong (Ed). Children, Young People Living with HIV/AIDS: A Cross-Cultural Perspective, (pp. 127-145) Dordrecht: Springer.
  • Bhana, D. (2016). Steeling the junior body: learning sport and masculinities in the early years. In J. Coffey, S. Budgeon and H. Cahill (Eds.), (pp.53-68) Learning bodies. Amsterdam; Springer.
  • Mayeza, E Bhana, D. (Accepted) Boys and bullying in primary school: Young masculinities and the negotiation of power South African Journal of Education
  • Kangaude, G., Bhana, D & Skelton, A (2020). ‘Childhood sexuality in Africa: A child rights perspective. African Human Rights Law Journal, 20:  688-712.
  • Berriman, B., Bhana, D., Crafter, S., Robb, M & Xu, Y (2020) Engaging diversities in a changing world: a statement from the new editors of Children & Society. Children and Society
  • Moosa, S & Bhana, D (2020) ‘Troubling men who teach young children’: Masculinity and the paedophilic threat. Pedagogy, Culture & Society.
  • Mayeza, E, Bhana, D. (2020). Boys negotiate violence and masculinity in the primary school British Journal of Sociology of Education
  • Chen, H., Bhana, D., Anderson, B and Buccus, I. (2020). Bruin Ous Are the Main Ous: Exploring ‘Coloured’ Masculinities in Durban’s Wentworth Township . Journal of Southern African Studies
  • Moosa, S and Bhana, D. (2019). Troubling the male role modelling theory: Male teachers as role models for girls?” European Early Childhood Education Research Journal
  • Mayeza, E, and Bhana, D (2019) How ‘real boys’ construct heterosexuality in the primary school playground Journal of Research in Childhood Education.
  • Bhana, D. and Chen, H (2019) If you a bitch, we treat you like a bitch”: Teenage Boys’ Constructions of Heterosexual Masculinity. Journal of Youth Studies.
  • McGrath, K, Van Bergen, P, Moosa, S and Bhana, D. (2019The plight of the male teacher: An interdisciplinary and multileveled theoretical framework for researching a shortage of male teachers Journal of Men’s Studies
  • Moosa, S and Bhana, D (2019). Men who teach young children: ‘you can never be too sure what their intentions might be’ Oxford Review of Education
  • Moosa, S & Bhana, D (2019) Masculinity as care: men can teach young children in the early years, Early Years, An International Research Journal. DOI: 10.1080/09575146.2019.1651697
  • Bhana, D and Mayeza, E. (2019). Primary Schoolgirls Addressing Bullying and Negotiating Femininity. Girlhood Studies, 12 (2): 98-114.
  • Bhana, D., Crewe, M & Aggleton, P (2019) Sex and Sexuality Education in South Africa Sex Education 19(4): 361-370. DOI: 10.1080/14681811.2019.1620008
  • Mvune, N., Bhana, D & Mayeza, E. (2019). Umhlalaphansi and inkwari: teenage men’s accounts on becoming fathers, Culture, Health & Sexuality, 21(2): 147-159. DOI: 10.1080/13691058.2018.1459843
  • Carboni, C and Bhana, D (2019). Teenage girls negotiating femininity in the context of sexually explicit materials, Sex Education. DOI: 10.1080/14681811.2019.1577730
  • Bhana, D and Mayeza, E. (2019)Cheese boys’ negotiating and resisting masculinity in the primary school, NORMA: International Journal for Masculinity Studies. DOI:
  • Aggleton, P., Bhana, D., Clarke, D., Crewe, M., Race, K. and E. Yankah. (2018) HIV Education: Reflections on the Past, Priorities for the Future. AIDS Education and Prevention. 30(30): 254-266. DOI:
  • Bhana, D and Pillay, J. (2018) Negotiating femininities on campus: sexuality, gender and risk in an HIV environment” Health Education Journal. DOI:
  • Matswetu, V and Bhana, D (2018) Humhandara and hujaya: Virginity, culture and gender inequalities amongst adolescents in Zimbabwe. SAGE OPEN Special issue on Adolescence, Sexuality and Reproductive Health in Sub-Saharan Africa DOI: 10.1177/2158244018779107
  • Bhana, D (2018). Girls negotiating sexuality and violence in the primary school. British Educational Research Journal. 44(1): 80-93.
  • Moosa, S and Bhana, D. (2018)’They won’t take you as a man, as a real man’ Why men can’t teach young children in Foundation Phase. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 22 (6): 577-593.
  • Carboni, C and Bhana, D (2017). Forbidden Fruit: the politics of researching young people’s use of online sexually-explicit materials in South African schools, Sex Education
  • Bhana, D (2017). Love, Sex and Gender: Missing in African Child and Youth Studies Africa Development, 42(2): 251-264.
  • Mayeza, E and Bhana, D (2017). Addressing gender violence among children in the early years of schooling: Insights from teachers in a South African primary school”, International Studies in Sociology of Education
  • Moosa, S and Bhana, D (2017). Men managing, not teaching Foundation Phase: teachers, masculinity and the early years of primary schooling, Educational Review,  69:3, 366-387,
  • Bhana, D (2017) Love grows with sex: Teenagers negotiating sex and gender in the context of HIV and the implications for sex education African Journal of AIDS Research,
    16(1): 71–79 DOI
  • Bhana, D and Mayeza, E (2016) ‘We don’t play with gays, they’re not real boys … they can’t fight’: Hegemonic masculinity and (homophobic) violence in the primary years of schooling, International Journal of Educational Development 51: 36–42.
  • Bhana, D (2016) Students encountering race and negotiating friendships, sexuality and language on campus Africa Education Review .
  • Nkani, V and Bhana, D(2016) Sexual and reproductive well-being of teenage mothers in a South African township school. South African Journal of Education 36(2): 1-10. doi: 10.15700/saje.v36n2a1181
  • Bhana, D (2016) “Sex isn’t better than love” Exploring South African Indian teenage male and female desires beyond danger Childhood, 23(3): 362-377. DOI: 10.1177/0907568216642828
  • Bhana, D. (2016).  Virgins and virtue: African masculinities and femininities in the making of teenage sexual cultures Sexualities 19 (4): 465-481 doi: 10.1177/1363460715613298
  • Bhana, D & Nkani, V. (2016) “What can I do, the child is already here?” Caregivers, gender, poverty and the contradiction of care in supporting teenage mothers at school. South African Review of Sociology, 47 (2)
  • Bhana, D and Buccus, I. (2016) Blue Lagoon: Race, class, space and the making of ‘Indian’ masculinities African Identities
  • Bhana, D & Moosa, S. (2016). Failing to attract males in Foundation Phase teaching: an issue of masculinities Gender and Education, 28(1): 1-19. doi:


  1. Vimbai Sharon Matswetu Gender, power and resistance: A case study of two rural secondary schools in Zimbabwe.
  2. Mornica Nozipho Mvune Teenage fathers: Fatherhood, masculinity and schooling in rural KwaZulu-Natal
  3. Patsy Jewnarain Beyond schooling: primary school girls’ narratives and experiences of gender and sexual violence.
  4. Tasmeera Singh Investigating constructions of student identities and its impact on social cohesion at a South African university.
  5. Shaaista Moosa (207505985) Male teachers in the early years. 
  1. Nosipho Sithole Children’s meanings of same-sex sexualities: A study of 8 and 9 year old boys and girls in a primary school (co-supervisor Dr Moosa)
  2. Valerie Reddy Learners’ construction of transgender at a high school in Shakaskraal, KwaZulu-Natal: A Qualitative Study. Cum Laude (co-supervisor Dr Moosa)
  3. Laaiqah Syed (9405785) Primary school and the construction of transgender identities: Views from learners. (co-supervisor Dr Mulqueeny)
  4. Nicolette Carboni “Learning Sex”: How High School Students Engage with Online Pornography and Give Meaning to Gender and Sexualities Summa Cum Laude
  5. Senzelokuhle Mpumelelo Nkabini “Making masculinity”: A case study of rural primary school boys’ meanings- towards same-sex sexuality.
  6. Maggie Kgang Violent boys: Masculinities among Primary School Boys in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal