- Paperback: 96 pages
- Publisher: Janssen Publishers; 1st edition (January 1, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1919901132
- ISBN-13: 978-1919901138
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.5 x 11 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,385,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Stef de Klerk: Abafana (Zulu Boys) Paperback – January 1, 2004
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The photographs are well-composed and the colors are faithfully reproduced by the printer who beautifully captures the interaction of the setting sun and the warm skin of the chosen model(s).
The attractive young men of the Xhosa tribe are featured with and without various props, at all times in good taste and proud of their heritage.
I enthusiastically recommend this book to anyone who appreciates the physical beauty of the nude black male and encourage you to add it to your own personal library.
If you love art and photography this is your book. If you love black males, this is for you.
The subjects of these photographs, all very natural in outdoor setting that incorporate the vivid scenery of South Africa's Eastern Cape, are members of the Xhosa, 'a South African cultural group with a strong emphasis on traditional practices and customs inherited from their forefathers. Each person within the Xhosa culture has his/her place which is recognised by the entire community. Starting from birth, a Xhosa person goes through graduation stages which seek to recognise his growth and hence assign him a recognisable place in the community. This results in a number of stages that one must go through, each one of which is marked by a specific ritual aimed at introducing the individual to their counterparts and hence to the ancestors. Starting from "imbheleko" which is a ritual performed to introduce a new born to the ancestors to "Umphumo"; from "Indodana" (young elder) to "Ixhego" (elder). These rituals and ceremonies are still practiced today. The "Ulwaluko" and "Intonjane" are also traditions which separated this tribe from the rest of the Nguni tribes. These are performed to recognise the transition from boyhood to manhood. All these rituals are symbolic to one's development. Before these are performed, the individual gets to spend time with elders in the community in a bid to teach them of the "Do's" and "Don'ts" in preparation for the next stage. A very interesting aspect of Xhosa culture is that this type of information is not written anywhere - it is transmitted from generation to generation by word of mouth. The "Iziduko" (clan) for instance - which matters most to the Xhosa identity (even more than names and surnames) are transferred from one to the other through word of mouth. Knowing your "Isiduko" is vital to the Xhosas and it is considered a shame and "Uburhanuka" (lack-of-identity) if one doesn't know one's clan. This is considered so important that when two strangers meet for the first time, the first identity that gets shared is "Isiduko". It is so important that two people with the same surname but different clan are considered total strangers but the same two people from the same clan but different surnames are regarded as close relatives. This forms the roots of "Ubuntu" (neighbouring) - a behaviour synonymous to this tribe as extending a helping hand to a complete stranger when in need. Ubuntu goes further than just helping one another - it is so deep that it even extends to looking after and reprimanding your neighbour's child when in the wrong. Hence the saying "it takes a village to raise a child". One traditional ritual that is still regularly practiced is the manhood ritual, a secret rite that marks the transition from boyhood to manhood (Ulwaluko). After ritual circumcision the initiates (abakhwetha) live in isolation for up to several weeks, often in the mountains. During the process of healing they smear white clay on their bodies and observe numerous taboos.'
It is this pride of ancestry and ritual that embellishes the dignity of these sensual images. The men are as from another time, the only constants being their beauty as human forms and their obvious pride in their homeland. Beautiful men in a natural setting, and Stef de Klerc captures it all. Grady Harp, July 11