Lost in transition: the lives of African lifeguards
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Copyright: 2015. Taylor & Francis Online. Due to copyright restrictions, only the abstract is available. For access to the full text item, please consult the publisher's website. The definitive version of the work is published in Social Dynamics-A Journal of African Studies, Vol 41, No.2, 307-322 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02533952.2015.1066124
A study of 11 African surf lifeguards in Durban in 1997, as they were entering employment on the beachfront, revealed their aspirations for a confident and respectable masculinity. A study of the remaining 10 in 2012 instead demonstrated the extent to which their transition into employment was caught up in violence. It is argued that three key elements contributing to this have been the racist hostility that undermined the sense of possibility, the strength and nature of peer-group relationships and a masculinity focused on the display of women and possessions. Thus, some lifeguards replicated the same patterns of violence that they had hoped to leave behind in the township, while others severed connections and left. Following Walkerdine, this underlines the significance of the relationship between space and affect and the role of safety in developing imaginative possibilities. In a context of continued structural violence, spaces need to be developed within which people can reflect on their lives and the transitions they are making.
Hemson, C. 2015. Lost in transition: the lives of African lifeguards. Social Dynamics : A Journal of African Studies. 41(2): 307-322.