• Gender and Asylum Determination in South Africa. Understanding ‘Gender’ within the Refugees Act 130 of 1998

Lambert Academic Publishing
Publication date:

(Born in Mbujimayi (DRC) on 4 August 1977, Lisa Mushidi Kambala graduated from the University of Kinshasa in 2005 with a BA Honour’s degree in International Relations, and from the University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg in Forced Migration Studies, in 2008. Lisa lost her life with her 6 month son, Anwell-Lior Kambala Mbambi, on 31 July 2011.)


South Africa is the only African country with an asylum system where persecution on the grounds of gender is clearly recognised in the Refugee Act of 1998. However, it is unclear whether South African asylum determination officers are aware of that and to what extent this influences their decision-making. Similarly, it is unclear whether asylum seekers in South Africa know that there is a possibility of applying for refugee status on this basis. The study seeks to explore plausible explanations surrounding the issue. By using existing literature and semi-structural interviews with both asylum claimants and DHA officials, I found out that the lack of gender sensitivity from the DHA officials, lack of awareness and the difficulty to talk about their experiences from the side of asylum claimants are central to the problem.

MATERIAS: forced migration, Gender, Asylum determination, South Africa