Book / Men

Liberating African masculinities


Liberating masculinities is a new book by Kopano Ratele. This is what he says in the chapter, “We black men”.

In ‘The fact of blackness’, Fanon (1967: 113) wailed: ‘I wanted to be a man, nothing but a man.’ As Fanon well knew, the fact of being a man, like being black, is a political project, a historical idea, a group identity and not only a psychological desire, not simply, as BC asserted, ‘a reflection of a mental attitude’ (Biko 1996: 52). As such, though we have to be reminded that what we do as individuals has ramifications either of replicating or sabotaging the widely shared meanings of masculinity and femininity, gender is something that exceeds what individuals are and do. What we still need is, it seems to me, a critical yet reparative vision that liberates black men from the injurious hegemonic model of global and local, black and white capitalist patriarchal masculinities. We need a vision of pro-feminist masculinities that opens up the vision of a socially just, gender-critical, black-conscious utopia (p. 135).

 The book deals with other topics besides racialised masculinities. It also covers, clothing and the desire for labels, sexuality, violence, cultural traditions, and the value of feminism for men. It is generally easy to read, I think, while it also delves lightly into theory on men.

Published by HSRC Press, is, however, needlessly expensive. It doesn’t seem to be available from some bookstores, but independent outlets like Clarke’s Books and Book Lounge have stock. It can also be ordered from



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