Soft Masculinities, Isicathamiya and Radio


Gunner, Liz. 2014. “Soft Masculinities, Isicathamiya and Radio.” Journal of Southern African Studies 40 (2): 343-60.

Author: Liz Gunner


The paper argues that, beyond the violent masculinities that mark much of the South African social order, there exist several alternative strands that require study, because they show the range of debate on manhood and shifts in centres of gender equity. The role of song and performance in expressing and debating different kinds of masculinity is crucial. This paper explores the genre Isicathamiya as a site of ‘soft’ masculinity. The study sets the genre in its historic and contemporary context. It also explores the links of Isicathamiya/cothoza with radio and with the programme Cothoza Mfana, which began on Radio Bantu in 1962, continued on Radio Zulu, and is part of its successor on the SABC, Ukhozi FM. The paper also explores the figure of the migrant in relation to leisure and freedom from the restraints of ritual and chiefly authority, and argues that such ‘freedom,’ often a feature of migrants' lives in many parts of Africa, is frequently linked to new forms of creativity and new visions and makings of modernity.

Topics: Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Gender Equity, Violence Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2014

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