Briefing Paper

What Drives Violence in South Africa?

This research brief outlines the literature on drivers of violence in South Africa and then puts it in context by summarising views on violence among community members who work with CSVR in four local communities. The brief shows that violence prevention initiatives need to move beyond a cause-and-effect approach that focuses on episodes and types of violence. We should see violence as a web, with criss-crossing forms that blur the line between victim and perpetrator as they evolve over time. To understand violence in South Africa, we need to stop talking about a ‘culture of violence’ and pay
attention to how context turns the risk of violence into a reality.