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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Ndiyindoda' [I am a man]: theorising Xhosa masculinity
Author:Mfecane, SakhumziISNI
Periodical:Anthropology Southern Africa (ISSN 2332-3264)
Geographic term:South Africa
Abstract:Masculinity studies in South Africa depend on Western gender theories to frame research questions and fieldwork. This article argues that such theories offer a limited understanding of Xhosa constructions of masculinity. Xhosa notions of masculinity are embodied in the concept of 'indoda', meaning a traditionally circumcised person. This article explores the nuanced meanings of 'indoda' and its relationship to other masculinities, like uncircumcised boys ['inkwenkwe'] and medically circumcised men. The discussion reveals that 'indoda' is the most 'honoured' form of masculinity. A traditionally circumcised individual is regarded as 'indoda', a real man, irrespective of his sexual orientation or class, and this affords him certain rights and privileges. 'Inkwenkwe' and medically circumcised men embody 'subordinate' forms of masculinity and are victims of stigma and discrimination by 'indoda'. This requires us to revisit some Western theories of masculinity which place heterosexual men at the top of a masculine hierarchy and gay men at the bottom. It furthermore requires us to pay attention to the body when theorising Xhosa masculinity, since it is a principal way of 'proving' and 'defending' Xhosa manhood. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]