"She Drank His Money": Survival Sex and the Problem of Violence in Taverns in Gauteng Province, South Africa


Wojcicki, Janet Maia. 2002. “‘She Drank His Money’: Survival Sex and the Problem of Violence in Taverns in Gauteng Province, South Africa.” Medical Anthropology Quarterly 16 (3): 267–93. doi:10.1525/maq.2002.16.3.267.

Author: Janet Maia Wojcicki


This article examines the practice of "survival sex" in the taverns of Soweto and Hammanskraal area, South Africa. Women who engage in survival sex do not self-identify as commercial sex workers, and the community does not identify them as such. Those who structure HIV prevention programs should not confound such women with commercial sex workers, because effective intervention may vary between the two groups. Violence against women who engage in survival sex in taverns is common, as it is argued that, when a woman accepts beer from a man, she is obliged to exchange sex (because she has "drunk his money"). The South African government should prioritize the reduction of violence as a way to reduce HIV transmission, as, in the context of violence, women do not have the option of negotiating safer sex.

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Health, HIV/AIDS, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods, Sexual Violence, Male Perpetrators, SV against Women, Violence Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2002

© 2023 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.