Masculine Norms, Sugar Daddies and Violence Against Women in South Africa: Exploring the Interconnections




masculinity, sugar daddies, violence against women, Zulu men, South Africa


Violence against women, which remains one of South Africa’s greatest concerns, is a widespread challenge that has negative consequences on various facets of life. Deeply rooted in patriarchy, toxic masculinities often lead to violence against women which manifests in various ways including domestic and intimate partner violence, sexual violence (including rape), sexual harassment or coercion and emotional or psychological violence. The ravaging impact of HIV/AIDS is one of the reasons leading to the current interest in sugar daddy relationships. However, in this study, I explore the interconnection between masculine norms and violence against women in sugar daddy relationships. In the article, I discuss the issue of sugar daddy relationships in South Africa and the ways in which these are closely linked with toxic masculine norms and violence against women. I used an exploratory qualitative approach and conducted the study with Zulu men based in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. Twenty-two participants were purposively sampled. The findings indicate that the participants linked their definition of manhood and masculinity to power, dominance and their sexual conquests, which included dating many women, younger women in particular. The findings also indicate that sexual coercion is one of the manifestations of violence against women in the sugar daddy relationships. In this article, I recommend some awareness-raising activities for women that include self-development and entrepreneurial skills which could serve as preventive measures. In addition, I recommend that work be done with men to change their behaviour and attitude by raising awareness about toxic relationships of patriarchy and power.


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How to Cite

Jeawon, Rosheena. 2023. “Masculine Norms, Sugar Daddies and Violence Against Women in South Africa: Exploring the Interconnections”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 35 (1):18 pages.



Received 2021-02-14
Accepted 2023-03-17
Published 2023-05-09