Treacherous masculinities and assertive femininities: An interrogation of Sindiwe Magona’s Beauty’s gift

Muchativugwa Liberty Hove


This article interrogates Sindiwe Magona’s poignant testament to the ravages of AIDS in South Africa. It enlists Butler’s (1990) performative theory in order to unpack Magona’s (2008) depiction of hegemonic, subordinate, complicit and marginalised masculinities in Beauty’s gift. The Five Firm Friends(FFF) - Edith, Cordelia, Amanda, Doris and Beauty - in being career women, display an uncanny ability to construct heterogeneous and evasive identities that defy simplistic essentialism and, in the process, emerge with a novel set of “feminist dividends” that occlude the patriarchal, traditional, and normative hegemonic distribution of privilege and power in South Africa. In her own words about this novel, Magona asserts that “black masculinity is being corroded and we must address it by naming the crisis, by examining what a black man is to a black woman” (Magona, 2009).

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n8p533

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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