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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Almost a Public Calamity': Prostitutes, 'Nurseboys', and Attempts to Control Venereal Diseases in Control Natal, 1886-1890
Author:Martens, Jeremy C.
Periodical:South African Historical Journal
Geographic terms:South Africa
Great Britain
health policy
sexually transmitted diseases
domestic workers
Urbanization and Migration
History and Exploration
Health and Nutrition
Women's Issues
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Ethnic and Race Relations
Politics and Government
Health, Nutrition, and Medicine
Labor and Employment
Cultural Roles
Abstract:In 1886 and 1890 sustained efforts were made by the Natal government to implement a Contagious Diseases Act in the colony. Natal officials and doctors proposed to combat the spread of syphilis and gonorrhoea through the implementation of laws designed to regulate and control those people - female prostitutes and African men working as domestic servants in white homes in particular - accused of spreading these diseases. Although ultimately unsuccessful, these attempts warrant investigation. First, because these measures against contagious diseases uncover something of the experience of prostitutes and of prostitution in 19th-century Natal; second, because little is known about the colonial government's initiatives to curb the spread of contagious diseases in Natal or about the role played by medical practitioners in this regard; third, because these efforts to legislate highlight settlers' concerns about black men performing domestic service and looking after white children in settler homes. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]