Touching on the Untouchable: contesting contemporary Black south african masculinity and cultural identity through performance

Master Thesis


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As a moment of slipping in, turning away and recovering from; the thinking for this project is focused on understanding through and from within culture. With this the paper begins to weave itself through a guided journey of my own personal accounts and the theorists that align and/or challenge such accounts. It moves between investigating my relationship with my father, to interrogating the ways in which men have spoken specific violence's into existence. This thesis does not look to be the reason of, nor the answer to, the way in which men ‘act'; but it does employ a keen eye into understanding the way in which meanings are produced. The paper then embeds itself in interrogating each of these instances through four different performances that were created by Mlondi Dubazane. These performances should be understood as thinking through and with/in representation and the different mediums that representing takes shape. It is vital to understand that even in its attempt at the poetics, the paper expresses itself through, within, around and beside language. This is but the first attempt of finding a language in speaking about my own maleness, a maleness that is not universal, a maleness that is moving forward in advance of nowhere, a maleness that seeks to dare touch on the untouchable. This, then serves as a written explication of research that seeks to engage the meanings and limitations of contemporary Black south african cultural identity (and in particular, the gendered dimensions of this experience) through the careful and nuanced crafting of public performances that draw on both public and intimate experiences.