I do not know what Caster Semenya’s sexual orientation is. What I do know is that she is constitutionally entitled to decide how she wants to be, in terms of her sexual identity and her choice of sexual practices so long as this does not violate the rights of others. We are speaking of a young woman who has had traumatic experiences because her sexuality was questioned in the course of her athletic career. A comedian is a public figure and if that person is to do more than make people laugh, especially if s/he is a satirist there must be some sense of responsibility and respect towards other human beings especially someone who is vulnerable. And this is especially so if Caster Semenya has chosen a sexual identity that deviates form heteronormativity. We are living through a period of repeated ‘corrective rapes’. We are entitled to expect that all public figures should take steps to combat this scourge and even if their job is humour, to defend constitutionalism, and individual identities and choices.
While reviewing the unbanning of a film previously banned as provocative, the author relates some of the issues raised with regard to a relationship of unequal power to the recent allegation of rape against Zwelinzima Vavi, General Secretary of COSATU. The allegation was withdrawn in an internal grievance process of COSATU. But even if one accepts that that ends the question of rape, which is doubtful, Vavi admitted to having a sexual encounter with a woman who was an employee in COSATU and thus dependent on him for her employment and any possible promotion. Hence this was an unequal encounter and raises questions about the character of consent, if it is given. This cannot be reduced to whether Vavi is unfaithful to his wife, nor to conspliracies to drive him out of COSATU. Davis briefly alludes to the way in which patriarchy plays itself out in the work place