This essay examines a hypothetical supplement to Rudyard Kipling's famous poem “If—” scripted by the judge during the Jacob Zuma rape trial in 2006. It places this into conversation with State of Peril: Race and Rape in South African Literature (2012) and argues for the importance of interrogating specters of colonial patriarchy in South Africa's contemporary post–“rainbow nation” epoch. During the trial, Zuma invoked in his defense a certain masculine ideal of Zuluness, and the judge's invocation of Kipling similarly points to the ways in which nodes of masculinity and power in contemporary South Africa are deeply haunted by a colonial and apartheid-era past. On account of a history of brutal racism, various patriarchies have been at odds in this country, but they continue to work together in mutually constitutive ways, at the expense of black women, and with an even greater cost to queer black women.

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