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Moving Beyond the Gay Metropolises: Lessons Learned from Stellenbosch


Year published: 2023
Categories: Journal Article
URL Link: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12132-023-09490-2

Author / Authors:

  • Visser, G


Urban Forum (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12132-023-09490-2


After roughly 20 years since the emergence of urban scholarship in same-sex sexualities in South Africa, it is worthwhile considering how some of the concerns that originally animated that scholarship have evolved and also how such concerns are today reflected differently away from primary cities (where much earlier research was conducted). In this commentary, I explore the unique history of Stellenbosch, a university town/secondary city 50 km away from Cape Town. Stellenbosch’s own unique history of—and recent developments with regard to—public (male) same-sex expression help set into relief earlier scholarship and also points towards some future research questions that may also be applicable elsewhere on the African continent. While, as made clear, Stellenbosch is in some key instances unique in terms of its sexualized and raced history both in South Africa and the wider continent, its position as what we might increasingly want to frame as a secondary city, its particular racial composition, and also its changing spaces of socio-sexual interaction since the COVID-19 pandemic gesture towards key areas of potentially generative wider research interest.


  • Journal Article