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A MAN WHO IS NOT A MAN

Thando Mgqolozana

  • Original Title: A MAN WHO IS NOT A MAN
  • Publication date: May 2009
  • Publisher: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press
  • Country: ZA
  • 217 print pages
  • Drama

Information

  • Epoch: Contemporary
  • Time Period: 21th century
  • Location setting: South Africa
  • Themes: FAMILY, Filiation, PEOPLE facing life, Identity crisis, Initiation journey, Life change, Disease, Double identity, Facing failure, SOCIETY DYSFUNCTIONS, Discriminations, SOCIAL CHRONICLES, Multiculturalism, Integration, LOVE / HATE, Amorous urge

Pitch

Set in South Africa. Aged eighteen, Chris, is taken to the mountains from his village to be circumcised and become a man but something goes horribly wrong. He ends up in hospital and he never completes his ritual of becoming a man.

Comments

Harrowing and very moving, this book is firmly about a very dark and real issue. It is fiction, but reads like a memoir and is very intense.

Pitched in comparison to Kiese Laymon and Kopano Matlwa.

Debut novel.

First published in South Africa in 2009 and is being re-issued in December 2018 with a new foreword by leading South African feminist Pumla Dineo Gqola.

Thando Mgqolozana is the co-writer of the Oscar-shortlisted film Inxeba: The Wound (2018) and the founder of Abantu Book Festival, which takes place annually in Soweto. He was selected as one of the 100 Most Influential Africans in 2016, and was awarded the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship in 2006 and the Canon Collins Scholarship in 2018.

Summary

In South Africa, the controversial topic of botched traditional circumcisions has been very much in the news of late. A MAN WHO IS NOT A MAN recounts the personal trauma of a young Xhosa initiate after a rite-of-passage circumcision has gone wrong. With frankness and courage, author Thando Mgqolozana's powerful novel details the pain and lifelong shame that is experienced as a result of not just the physical trauma, but the social ostracism of being labeled 'a failed man.' He decodes the values and mysteries of this deep-seated cultural tradition and calls to account the elders for the disintegrating support systems that allow such tragic outcomes to happen. But it is also through this life-changing experience that his protagonist is forced to find his strength and humanity, and reassess what it really means to be a man.

Report available

go further

  • Author’s biography

    Thando Mgqolozana is the co-writer of the Oscar-shortlisted film Inxeba: The Wound (2018) and the founder of Abantu Book Festival, which takes place annually in Soweto. He was selected as one of the 100 Most Influential Africans in 2016, and was awarded the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship in 2006 and the Canon Collins Scholarship in 2018.