When the CSA&G opened in 1999, as the Centre for the Study of AIDS (CSA), Nelson Mandela’s presidency was coming to a close, the AIDS epidemic was peaking, life-saving antiretroviral medications (for prevention of mother to child transmission or treatment for those living with HIV) were available to very few South Africans, and tertiary responses were largely biomedical and narrow in focus.

The CSA stepped into this space at the University of Pretoria (UP) to offer a unique holistic programme, including volunteer, education and counselling services for students; inter-faculty engagement on HIV research and curriculum integration; community engagement initiatives and, through research, the development of new social theory to understand the drivers and outcomes of AIDS more effectively.

The Centre’s staff has expanded and contracted over the years, in line with shifting priorities, but also reflecting its precarious position as a predominantly externally funded programme.

In keeping with global, regional and local developments the CSA  re-positioned itself as the Centre for Sexualities, AIDS and Gender (CSA&G) in 2015. This was in line with three key imperatives:

  • The HIV/AIDS terrain requires invigorated social research which sees sexuality and gender as key to understanding and addressing HIV and AIDS.
  • Linked to this, renewed critical scholarship on sexualities and diversities is required in the African academy, given (sometimes new) conservative movements and impulses.
  • All institutions, especially those of higher learning, need to engage in a conversation around transformation: HIV provides a useful entry point to this conversation as it has always raised questions of discrimination, difference, diversity and inclusivity.

In light of these imperatives, and building on its expertise and presence at UP, the CSA has renamed itself the Centre for Sexualities, AIDS and Gender (CSA&G) with the vision of “understanding power, exploring diversity, examining difference and imagining inclusivity”. 



  • Completed a contextual analysis of the intersections between HIV/AIDS, gender, GBV and sexualities: South Africa, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Mauritius and the DRC on behalf of Irish Aid. Developed policy briefs on: Understanding GBV, The Strongest Link: advantages of an intersectional approach, Managing HIV: Current evidence and new directions and More than two: understanding gender and sexualities as a spectrum. Trained health/development advisors from their missions around Africa on: HIV and its intersectionalities with gender, GBV and sexualities.
  • The CSA&G was commissioned by UNFPA to support SANAC in the development of the new NSP.
  • Hosted the Imagined Futures IX regional conference in Pretoria with the theme: Blessers: donors or exploiters?
  • The Director, Mary Crewe was a Co-Chair of the 2016 South African AIDS Conference.


  • The Centre for the Study of AIDS (CSA) changed its name to the Centre for Sexualities, AIDS and Gender (CSA&G)
  • The DG Murray Trust commissioned the CSA&G to measure the knock-on effect of their Activate! programme in communities in South Africa.
  • The Director: Mary Crewe and Deputy Director: Pierre Brouard were co-chairs of the Association for the Social Sciences and Humanities in HIV (ASSHH) 3rd International Conference.


  • Hosted the Imagined Futures VIII regional conference in Pretoria with the theme: Beyond the Basics.
  • Moved its ‘intellectual home’ to UP’s Faculty of Humanities, while still working across all nine of UP’s Faculties. The CSA&G is no longer a standalone centre.


  • Hosted the successful meeting: Sexuality and human rights in Africa: contestation, resistance and opportunity with Prof Sylvia Tamale.
  • Published AIDS Review 2013: Nostalgia by Relebohile Moletsane.


  • Published AIDS Review 2012: Off Label by Jonathan Stadler and Eirik Saethre.
  • Published the extraordinary AIDS Review: Third Degree. Series editor: Mary Crewe and guest editor: Cal Volks.
  • Hosted the Imagined Futures VII regional conference at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka, Zambia with the theme: Live Cultures. 


  • In 2011-2012 Concern Kenya contracted the CSA&G to develop and implement an adolescent life skills programme looking at HIV and AIDS, violence and substance abuse.
  • Hosted the Imagined Futures VI regional conference in Gaborone, Botswana with the theme: Checks and Balances.
  • Hosted SAIH’s 50th Anniversary  Conference: Education for Liberation with delegates from Norway, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Nicaragua and Bolivia.


  • FPD commissioned the CSA&G for the study: What can we learn from people living with HIV to improve HIV prevention for HIV positive and HIV negative people?
  • Hosted the Imagined Futures V regional conference in Pretoria with the theme: 20/20 Vision


  • Conducted a situational analysis of women’s and girl’s access to health care in Botswana, Kenya, Namibia and Tanzania. Partners in this initiative included the International Centre for Research on Women, International Community for Women living with HIV/AIDS, European Parliamentarians for Africa and the Ethical Globalisation Initiative.
  • Published AIDS Review 2009: Magic by Fraser McNeill and Isak Niehaus.
  • Hosted the Imagined Futures VI regional conference in Pretoria with the theme: Sexualities and Silences.


  • Completed research on birth registration in Africa, and the impacts of HIV and AIDS on birth registration systems. The consequences of poor birth registration systems on children affected by AIDS were also investigated. Commissioned by UNICEF Eastern and Southern Regional Office, Plan International and World Vision International.
  • Published AIDS Review 2008: Balancing Acts by Carmel Rickard.
  • Hosted the Imagined Futures III regional conference in Pretoria with the theme: Positive Futures.
  • Developed a lifeskills programme looking at HIV and AIDS, violence and substance abuse for Unicef, Somalia.


  • Completed a collaborative review, with the Children’s Institute of the University of Cape Town, on the role of HIV/AIDS in residential care, which documented issues of children in residential care facilities.
  • Published AIDS Review 2007: Stigma[ta] by Patrick Eba.
  • Hosted the Imagined Futures II regional conference in Pretoria with the theme: Universities as Incubators of Change.


  • Completed an evaluation of the Multi-Country Life Skills Initiative (MCI) programmes within the Southern African region. Initiated by UNICEF Regional Office, Eastern and Southern Africa in eight countries .
  • Established the Positive Futures project in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Namibia, Zambia and Botswana.
  • Published AIDS Review 2006: Bodies count by Jonathan Jansen.
  • Became a member of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on LGBTI matters in South Africa.
  • Hosted the first Imagined Futures regional conference in Pretoria with the theme: Student Leadership in a time of AIDS.


  • The CSA&G was contracted by UNESCO to review the University of the West Indies’ AIDS response as part of a 12-country study.
  • Published AIDS Review 2005: What’s cooking? by Jimmy Pieterse and Barry van Wyk.
  • Published the extraordinary AIDS Review – Buckling: the impact of HIV/AIDS on South Africa by Hein Marais.
  • Launched UP’s voluntary HIV counselling and testing service.


  • Completed a review of HIV/AIDS and human rights in eight SADC countries: Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
  • Appointed Ms Mary Robinson (former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights) as an Extraordinary Professor in the CSA&G and the Centre for Human Rights at UP.
  • Published AIDS Review 2004: (Un)Real by Kgamadi Kometsi.


  • Completed a review of the population, HIV/AIDS and development in South Africa for the National Department of Social Development in 2003.
  • Published AIDS Review 2003: (Over) extended by Vannessa Barolsky.


  • Published AIDS Review 2002: Whose Right? by Chantal Kisoon, Mary Caesar & Tashia Jithoo.
  • Opened satellite offices in Hammanskraal, Witbank and Nelspruit.


  • Published AIDS Review 2001: Who Cares by Tim Trengove-Jones.
  • Became part of the South African AIDS Vaccine Initiative (SAAVI) to do community preparedness before the first vaccine trails commenced in South Africa.
  • Won an Esselen Park HIV&AIDS Champions Award.
  • Developed a prototype ‘Home-Based Care Kit’ and presented at the International Home and Community-based Care Conference in Chaing Mai, Thailand.


  • Published the first AIDS Review in the series: To the edge by Hein Marais.
  • The Director was part of the organising committee for successful Durban International AIDS Conference and co-chair of Track D: Social Impact.
  • Launched the Befriender programme – a peer counselling service.


  • Centre established as the Centre for the Study of AIDS, the first dedicated centre of its kind at an African university.