Tag Archives: masculinity

Biology is not destiny

South African men’s lives have changed remarkably little over the last few centuries — according to the bulk of my undergraduate students. Such an understanding seems common knowledge in the communities from which most of my students are drawn. Since time immemorial, the dominant narrative goes, South African men have “always” been breadwinning heads of…

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Men that rape are our fathers, lovers

By now, people are familiar with why men rape. Yes it is for power and control, it is a means of exercising masculine entitlement and privilege and it is a means of displacing vulnerability. For me, the more interesting question is: How do men rape? How is rape enabled within our homes, communities and societies?…

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One Billion Rising: Men can make a difference

On February 14 this year, One Billion Rising for Justice are calling on women and men everywhere to harness their power and imagination to rise for justice — the largest global action against gender-based violence (GBV) yet. Thousands of us across southern Africa will be taking part. There is an ever-increasing number of men who…

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Patriarchy bad for men too

“Who’s your daddy?” This is the infamous slogan of commercialised intimacy. A masculine Mandingo demands an answer, while his submissive remnant of a woman is supposed to respond with “Yes, you are my daddy!” Eric Zorn deconstructed the phrase in a piece in the Chicago Tribune. He described it as “a boastful claim of dominance…

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‘Side-guys’ and ‘side-chicks’ in the time of Aids

I just read a very troubling article by Mail & Guardian columnist Khaya Dlanga titled “Why do side-chicks happen?” In this article Dlanga claims to investigate in the South African context the reasons why (American-focused) research suggests that multiple lovers have come to “become even more popular in the modern age”. He cites a study…

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The white angst of Red October

Singer and aspirant politician Steve Hofmeyr delivered a heart-wrenching ode to the splendours and disappointments of Afrikaner white masculinity at the Red October march in Pretoria. But to get an even better sense of the thinking behind the campaign, just look at the two sponsors of its website: Comfizone and the Pistols Saloon. It’s so…

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Should black women learn their husbands’ language?

By Melo Magolego The taste of tepid Tupperware-scented tea is one of the more vivid memories of my formative schooling years in the rural village of Ga-Mampuru — in the Sekhukhune region of Limpopo. I had until the age of four lived with my maternal grandparents in a township bordering Pretoria to the north-west. It…

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What do men talk about?

Recently I participated in a workshop about curriculum review on teaching gender and security to military, police and prison officers in southern Africa. I became intrigued by how one facilitator on a session on “Men, Masculinities and Security/Defence”, subverted the “Bechdel Test” to provoke a conversation from the audience about how patriarchy silences and punishes…

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The sociology of soccer

A few weeks ago, I was invited to respond to a paper at a seminar jointly hosted by the departments of sociology and anthropology at the University of Johannesburg. The presenter was soccer sociologist Dr Marc Fletcher, a post-doctoral fellow in the department and his paper interrogated as part of a larger thesis, that both…

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Masculinity under siege?

Every year young boys die in the process of “becoming men”, ulwaluko. Recently Mpumalanga made news when 27 boys died at an initiation camp. When such stories are reported I’m reminded of the imigidi I have attended, celebrating the return of ikrwala (a new man). Growing up, the deaths of amakrwala (the “new men”) were…

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