Analysing the hegemonic discourses on comprehensive sexuality education in South African schools

Keywords: comprehensive sexuality education, digital newspaper articles, public discourse analysis, rollout, scripted lesson plans, South Africa


Despite the mixed public responses, the South African Department of Basic Education decided to issue its detailed comprehensive sexuality education scripted lesson plans for testing in schools. A desktop review was conducted by searching for digital newspapers on the online archive Sabinet References using 6 key terms such as ‘comprehensive sexuality education’, ‘schools’ and ‘South Africa’. In total, 128 newspaper articles were retrieved, but 83 were selected for a Foucauldian discourse analysis underpinned by governmentality theory. The newspapers reported on marches, letters and press conferences from various stakeholders such as parents, learners, teachers, and other social figures. Some stakeholders took the position of in favour of or against the rollout. Of interest was the seemingly neutral position where the reporting was presented in a balanced, non-biased manner. The current paper aims to make sense of this neutrality from both a newsroom reporting stance and from the public’s point of view.

Research Articles