Disability and masculinity in South African autosomatography
CITATION: Lipenga, K. J. 2014. Disability and masculinity in South African autosomatography. African Journal of Disability, 3(1): 1-9, doi: 10.4102/ajod.v3i1.85.
The original publication is available at http://www.ajod.org
Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.
This article examines the representation of disability by disabled black South African men as portrayed in two texts from the autosomatography genre, which encompasses first-person narratives of illness and disability. Drawing on extracts from Musa E. Zulu’s The language of me and William Zulu’s Spring will come, the article argues that physical disability affects heteronormative concepts of masculinity by altering the body, which is the primary referent for the construction and performance of hegemonic masculinity. In ableist contexts, the male disabled body may be accorded labels of asexuality. This article therefore reveals how male characters with disabilities reconstruct the male self by both reintegrating themselves within the dominant grid of masculinity and reformulating some of the tenets of hegemonic masculinity.