Male violence among and perpetrated by young South Africans is a major social question for the state and for social analysts. For the state the issue is fundamentally that of prevention. Social analysts concur but also seek to understand what lies behind it. Using as its point of departure contemporary scholars such as Aernout Zevenbergen, who ask what it means to be a man today, this article draws on the work of Slavoj Žižek and Gandhi to ask what place reflection — or, less ambitiously, learning — has in young people's sense of manliness.

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