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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Apostles of Civilised Vice': 'Immoral Practices' and 'Unnatural Vice' in South African Prisons and Compounds, 1890-1920
Author:Achmat, Zackie
Periodical:Social Dynamics
Geographic term:South Africa
workers' housing
History and Exploration
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/02533959308458553
Abstract:This paper contests the construction of male sexuality in compounds and prisons in South Africa by historians and anthropologists. Notably, it contests what has been written about Nongoloza Mathebula (1867-1948), leader of the Ninevites or 28s, a gang of marauding homosexual men, which subsequently controlled and dominated South African prisons. The paper analyses Charles Van Onselen's biography of Jan Note/Nongoloza (1984), which is partly based on Nongoloza's own testimony (1912), as well as studies on male homosexuality in South Afica by H. Junod (1962), P. Harries (1990), and T. Dunbar Moodie et al. (1988). The main part is devoted to a deconstruction of the theoretical premises behind Van Onselen's biography. Operating within the discourse of male homosexuality constructed by psychiatrists, missionaries and historians, all these writers attempt to incorporate 'unnatural vice', 'compound' and 'prison' history into the hierarchies and orthodoxies of the academy. They try to neutralize the subversive and destabilizing effects of sex in the compounds, prisons, streets and, through this, to 'normalize' sexual activity, fix 'cultural' identity, and centre monogamous, heterosexual relations. Bibliogr., notes, ref.