Freeing South Africa: The "Modernization" of Male-Male Sexuality in Soweto

Essay Excerpt

Although engaged in another research project, in my free time with friends like Paul, I thus stumbled onto a series of questions that began to perplex me: Who was Linda? In the letter quoted above, I had unproblematically identified Linda as "gay." But in his context, was he? And if so, how did he come to see himself as so? And I quickly confronted questions of gender as well. Did Linda consider himself as male? And if so, had he always done so?

As issues like these began to pose themselves, I soon realized that for black men in townships around Johannesburg, identifying as gay was both recent and tied up, in unexpectedly complex ways, with a much larger historical transformation: the end of apartheid and the creation of a modem nation; in a phrase, the "freeing" of South Africa (6).

Donham, Donald. "Freeing South Africa: The "Modernization" of Male-Male Sexuality in Soweto." Cultural Anthropology 13.1(1998): 3-21.

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