This is an exploratory study on the perceptions and experiences of African women in violent partner relationships. The study was conducted in two phases at Ilitha Community Psychological Centre at Ezibeleni Township near Queenstown. Since this is a qualitative exploratory study, in-depth interviews were conducted with a sample of twenty women. In addition a focus group interview was also conducted with five women from the same site in order to gain a better insight into the phenomenon of violence in partner relationships. A literature review that focused on the existing literature concerning African women in violent partner relationships was conducted. African women’s perspectives on the experiences of abuse were explored, a gender perspective based on radical feminist views was discussed and ethnic-sensitive empowerment needs and the role of the social service practitioners were investigated. The findings suggest that many African women experience violence in partner relationships. They sustain physical, emotional and economic abuse. A patriarchal system, alcohol abuse, infidelity and failure to support the children financially have been cited as some of the reasons for abuse.