190pp., paperback, Johannesburg, 2020.
Psychologist Malose Langa spent 12 years (2007-2018) documenting the lives of 32 boys from Alexandra township outside Johannesburg.
"A most remarkable element of this book is giving us a glimpse of one man’s 12-year steadfastness as he bears witness, studies, supports, fails, humanises and processes the development of a group of boys in Alexandra. Yet this is not only a book about boys in Alex growing into and struggling with manhood; not only about masculinities and violence; not only about tsotsis and angst about sex among teens. Becoming Men is also about conditions that shape boys’ existence in this country, about privation, about the interior lives of young people that we so easily misapprehend, about black male youth endeavouring to survive the peace and falling down under the vicious trick of political freedom, about fathers missing-in-parenting-action, about how many a dream gets unrealised, and above all, about what a society needs to do to build new men." Kopano Ratele, author of Liberating Masculinities and The World Looks Likes This From Here
"How do black boys growing up in impoverished urban environments become men? And how do they give South Africans hope for the future? In this highly readable, clearly structured and beautifully observed book, Malose Langa introduces us to 32 boys in Alexandra township. They are black and for the most part poor, and only a few of them have working relationships with their fathers. On the other hand, most have strong and loving bonds with their mothers. With tender heart, Malose reveals the hopes and dreams, vulnerabilities and failings of the boys as they grow to manhood." Robert Morrell, editor of Changing Men in Southern Africa
Malose Langa is Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychology, School of Humanities and Community Development at the University of the Witwatersrand.