The purpose of this study is to determine the extent and reasons for teacher/learner sexual abuse in South Africa. Using a case study design, the researcher collected contextual data on this phenomenon at six schools in the Limpopo Province. With a view to determining whether or not national and provincial attitudes to school-based sexual abuse affect sexual behaviour at local levels, she also collected relevant national and provincial data. The combination of the three sets of data enabled her to draw not only contextual, but also general conclusions on this phenomenon. Using interview schedules and questionnaires as instruments, the researcher collected information on school-based sexual abuse from selected school principals, Grade 11 learners, departmental officials, and representatives of various organisations. Informed by the assumption that context and culture affect behaviour, the researcher recorded her observations of the physical and emotional climate and culture of the schools serving as research sites. She also collected statistical data on the incidence of sexual abuse, analysed official documents dealing with sexual issues, and consulted academic literature on the topic. The researcher used an inductive approach to data analysis, making use of open, axial and selective coding methods. Qualitative data provided information on the nature and causes of school-based sexual relations. Quantitative data provided numerical information on the extent of the problem. Together, the data enabled her not only to paint a picture of the nature and extent of school-based sexual relationships, but also to uncover the role that socio-cultural factors play in this regard. <-p> The particular significance of this study lies in the fact that it approaches sexual abuse from a socio-cultural perspective. More specifically, it investigates the possibility that teacher/learner sexual abuse has, over the years, become part of African culture, and that the silence on such practices might be rooted in traditional, patriarchal views on gender and social justice. The research findings indicate that there might well be a growing resistance to what is regarded by some communities as the imposition of liberal, urban, value systems on traditional, rural African people. Finally, the study provides evidence that legal, administrative and managerial approaches do not have the potential to resolve cultural conflict. This research opens the door to different ways of approaching a difficult problem like sexual abuse. In exploring other strategies, particularly those more tuned to the needs of traditional communities, the occurrence of sexual abuse at schools might be resolved.