A man who is not a man by Thando Mgqolozana
Abantu Publishing, 2018
Soft Cover, 216 pages
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.