Yithi Uyindoda! (Say, you are a man!) : an ethnographic study on the religion and masculinities in initiation schools in Cape Town Townships

Ncaca, Mawethu (2014-04)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis investigates the construction of masculinity in the Xhosa initiation school (ulwaluko) in the townships of Cape Town, South Africa from a religio-cultural perspective. This ethnographic study utilized interviews with participants, observations of the initiation school, and is also complemented with documents that are written by Xhosa authors Thando Mqolozana, Nelson Mandela, Peter Mtuze, and A.N.N. Ngxamngxa. The documentary by Mayenzeke Baza and a blog post by Xhosa journalist Luzuko Pongoma were also used. The data collection and analysis was done with the Grounded Theory Approach using Atlas.ti version 7. The ontological and epistemological premise is of the constructivist understanding. The conceptual framework is grounded within the African philosophy of Ubuntu and African religio-cultural underpinnings. A new term, ancestral masculinity, was given to depict the type of masculinity described by the findings. It is marked by participating in a ‘manhood’ rites of passage and adhering to its prescribed processes and procedures, according to the ‘living and dead’ ancestors, in order for one to be accepted and recognized as part of the community. The findings show that ancestral masculinity, in its micro context of ‘boyhood’, is a searching route to acceptance. The initiate longs and finds acceptance in the initiation school through enduring pain and fostering a relationship with his guardian and teacher (ikhankatha). Secondly, ancestral masculinity is seen as the yearning to be African in its macro-context. It was demonstrated by admonishing (ukuyala) that helps the initiated to live an exemplary life of honouring (inhlonipho) those who are living and dead. This honouring is portrayed by doing everything possible to be helpful and to accord respect and care to elders. Inhlonipho also challenges individualist accomplishment and materialist flaunting and any ills that negate relational harmony. The study reveals challenges in the ulwaluko institution and construction of masculinity, such as alcohol abuse; carelessness, neglect, and passivity by elders in the process; exclusivity that discriminates against others; and inflexibility toward other constructions of masculinity. However, opportunities are also present within this institution to encourage dialogue and reconciliation, to create flexibility, and to utilize existing values to promote social cohesion amidst the challenges of the contemporary South African context.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die volgende tesis ondersoek die konstruksie van manlikheid binne die Xhosa inisiasieskool (ulwaluko) in die plakkerskampe en omligende gebiede van Kaapstad, Suid-Afrika. Hierdie etnografiese studie maak gebruik van onderhoude met vrywillige deelnemers, waarnemings binne die inisiasieskool en word ook verder gekomplimenteer deur dokumente wat geskryf is deur Xhosa outeurs onder andere Thando Mqolozana, Nelson Mandela, Peter Mtuze asook A.N.N. Ngxamngxa. Verder word die dokumentêr deur Mayenzeke Baza sowel as ’n “blogpost” deur Xhosa joernalis Luzuko Pongoma ook gebruik. Die versameling van data sowel as die analise daarvan was gedoen deur die Gefundeerde Teorie benadering en Atlas.ti weergawe 7 was gebruik. Die ontologiese sowel as epistemologiese premisse is van die konstruktivistiese paradigma. Die konsepsuele raamwerk is gegrond in die Afrika filosofie van Ubuntu sowel as Afrika godsdiens en kulturele onderbou. ‘n Nuwe term, voorvaderlike manlikheid, was gegee om die tipe manlikheid uit te beeld wat deur die bevindinge beskryf was. Dit word gekenmerk deur deelname in manlikheid rituele van deurgang asook voldoening aan die voorgeskrewe prosesse en prosedures volgens die “lewende en dooie” voorvaders, om aanvaar en erken te word as deel van die gemeenskap. Die bevindinge dui aan dat voorvaderlike manlikheid in sy mikro-konteks van “seunskap” ’n soekende roete tot aanvaarding is. Die persoon wat die inisiasie moet deurmaak smag na en verkry aanvaarding in die inisiasieskool deur pyn te verduur en om ’n verhouding te kweek met sy voog en leermeester (ikhankatha). Tweedens word hierdie voorvaderlike manlikheid aanskou as die hunkering om ’n Afrikaan te wees in sy makro-konteks. Dit was veral gedemonstreer deur vermaning (ukuyala), wat die geïnisieerde help om ’n voorbeeldige lewe te lei wat die lewendes sowel as die dooies vereer (inhlonipho). Die verering word uitgebeeld deur alles moontlik te doen om behulpsaam te wees en om respek sowel as versorging te verleen aan die bejaardes. Inhlonipho stel ook uitdagings aan die individuele prestasies, materialistiese spoggery asook enige euwels wat teenstrydig is met die relasionele harmonie. Die studie openbaar uitdagings in die ulwaluko instelling en konstruksie van manlikheid onder andere alkohol misbruik, roekeloosheid, nalatigheid asook passiwiteit onder die meer ouer en bejaarde geslag in die proses; uitsluiting wat diskrimineer teen andere, asook onbuigsaamheid teenoor die ander konstruksies van manlikheid. Ondanks die uitdagings is daar ook geleenthede in die instelling wat dialoog en versoening aanmoedig om buigsaamheid te skep sowel as die bestaande waardes aan te wend om sosiale kohesie te bevorder te midde van die uitdagings van die huidige Suid-Afrikaanse konteks.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/86595
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