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Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Ms Sandra Manuel


Sandra Manuel
Ms Sandra Manuel
Email address:
Thesis title:
Changing notions of sexuality in Mozambique
Year of Study:
2007-08 (year started)
Internal Supervisors

PhD Research

The development of this research is anchored on the diversity of sexual desire and behavior. Sexuality, here, is used as a spectrum to study social transformations and how these generate new subjectivities. Therefore, I ask “how do middle class and elite’s young adults live their sexuality”. The site of analysis is the capital city of Mozambique, Maputo. Such a question was also partially triggered by perspectives that regard African sexuality as irrational, promiscuous and irresponsible (Caldwell et al 1989). While one could argue that such an approach has been abandoned, one can identify its return in morally loaded terms such as multiple and concurrent partnerships (or MCP) – a technical term for what used to be called ‘promiscuity’ (Mishra et al in Thornton 2009: 2). My research aims at showing how, against such models, the sexual behaviors (that include multiple and complex scenarios of sexual engagement and relationships throughout one’s life trajectory) are embedded in socio-cultural and emotional meanings that constitute part of how people feel a sense of self. Therefore, my approach to the study of sexuality is, paraphrasing Spronk, ‘part of a small but developing field of research on sexuality that seeks to correct the hegemonic trend of simplifying sex in Africa and consequently de-erotising it to an act devoid of meaning’.

PhD Publications

  • 2009. Presentes perigosos: Dinâmicas de risco de infecção por HIV e SIDA nos relacionamentos de namoro na cidade de Maputo. Physis: Revista de Saúde Colectiva 19(2);
  • 2008. Love and Desire: Concepts, Narratives and Practices of Sex amongst Youth in Maputo City. Dakar: CODESRIA;
  • 2007. (Together with Emidio Gune) Doing Research on Sexuality in Africa: Ethical Dilemmas and the Positioning of the Researcher. OSSREA Bulletin 4(2);
  • 2005. Obstacles to Condom use among secondary school students in Maputo city, Mozambique. Culture, Health and Sexuality 7 (3): 293-302.

PhD Conferences

  • 2009. Os pragmatismos da atracção (The pragmatics of attraction). Enlaçando sexualidades – Binding sexualities conference on education, health, social movements, sexual and reproductive rights, UNEB – State University of Bahia. Bahia, Brazil
  • 2009. Workshop on Strategizing Sexualities and Gender Research and Activism. African Gender Institute, University of Cape Town. CT, South Africa
  • 2009. Youth’s sexual negotiation in Neo-Liberal Mozambique: Research Dilemmas. Conference on Contemporary Mozambique: Histories of the Present. WISER, University of the Witwatersrand. Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 2008. Loves me…loves me not: Dimensions of Sexual Intimacy in Urban Youth Relationships in Maputo. Persons, Intimacy and love: 2nd Global Conference. Salzburg, Austria
  • 2007. Transforming youth identities: interactions across races/colours/ethnicities, gender, classes and sexualities in Johannesburg, South Africa (together with Brigitte Bagnol, Zethu Matabeni, Anne Simon and Thomas Blaser) 5th IASSCS International Conference – Dis/Organized Pleasures: Changing Bodies, Rights and Cultures. Lima, Peru