Original Research - Special Collection: Doing Theology with Children: Exploring Emancipatory Methodologies

Adolescent girls’ voices on their need for sexuality education: A cry for mutual sexual emancipation

Ronél Koch, Hannelie Yates, Ansie E. Kitching
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 75, No 1 | a5495 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i1.5495 | © 2019 Ronel Koch, Hannelie Yates, Ansie E. Kitching | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 April 2019 | Published: 26 November 2019

About the author(s)

Ronél Koch, Department of Educational Psychology, Faculty of Education, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
Hannelie Yates, Unit for Reformational Theology and the Development of the South African Society Sub-programme, Department of Practical Theology, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Ansie E. Kitching, Department of Educational Psychology, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa


‘Teachers expect parents to teach you. Parents expect teachers to teach you. So actually you learn nothing and nobody wants to talk about it’. This quote from this research study is an adolescent girls’ cry for liberation from the silence related to sexuality because of the general reluctance of adults to talk to them about it. Given the growing concerns raised about the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents in South Africa, the aim of this study was to conduct research with adolescent girls as subjects in order for girls’ voices to enhance adult researchers’ understanding of children’s need for support and guidance in the context of sexuality education. The purposively selected sample included 75 participants from three diverse high schools in the Western Cape. The research was conducted using a phenomenological approach that values the lived experiences of participants as significant in contributing to the knowledge on adolescent sexuality. A qualitative interpretative research design was applied to collect the data. This article argues that adults cannot help adolescents in their sexual emancipation – to be free – if they themselves are not free. If they were free, they would have been able and willing to engage with adolescents in every aspect, which includes their sexuality. Including adolescent girls as partners in transforming sexuality education is presented as a core principle for the sexual emancipation of both adolescent girls and adults.


Adolescent girls; Sexuality; Emancipation; Sexuality education; Child agency


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Crossref Citations

1. Teaching comprehensive sexuality education using a praxis co-created with adolescents
Ronél Koch, Christa Beyers
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine  vol: 15  issue: 1  year: 2023  
doi: 10.4102/phcfm.v15i1.3855