Contemporary Masculinities Black South African Novels


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


The Humanities Postgraduate Centre


Expressions of Black masculinities are coerced to transform. This work examines how contemporary black South African novels critique the major sites of dominant masculinities' reproduction, in order to engage in ongoing debates and to offer insights on contemporary South African masculinities’ (re)creation. Not only does this study concern itself with the extent to which core elements of dominant masculinities are being transformed, it maps the trajectories in literary figurations of men, and is interested in the alternative masculine identities that these novels proffer. This works’ search for alternative identities is predicated on the primacy of a symbiotic relationship between strategies of self-re-presentation, personal agency and the power of social structures. It suggests that the central codes of dominant black masculinities are forced to change because their legitimising narratives are put under scrutiny. However, the structural and economic conditions under which these masculinities are situated yield to frustrated masculinities or masculinity interregnum.