Chapter 7. The ‘Tinto’ image in contemporary Tswana songs
Masculinities in crisis?
In this chapter I explore how men are constructed in Botswana contemporary music. I use critical discourse analysis
as a conceptual framework and, at the analytical level, employ Halliday’s (1985) idea of a clause as representation and
examine how characters in the songs are represented in terms of whether they are agents or goals of material processes.
Six songs were selected for the study. The findings show that masculinities are multiply positioned in the songs, through
a choice of clauses in which they are cast as actors in material actions that are anti-social and criminal, in negative
behavioural processes and negative processes of being. While some men are proffered powerful subject positions,
other men are represented as victims of other dominant masculinities, and still others are represented appreciatively as
non-violent and caring. Men are therefore constructed in multiple, contradictory ways, underscoring the idea that no
social meanings are ever fixed forever.