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.
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