An image of Curt Syster from the Still Figuring Out What it Means to be a Man exhibition at the Iziko Slave Lodge.Picture: Iziko
Gender-based and sexual violence perpetrated by men has prompted a growing focus on masculinity from a range of quarters across the country, as South African society seeks to understand why this is happening.

The multimedia exhibition Still Figuring Out What it Means to be a Man had its official opening at the Iziko Slave Lodge on Saturday.

The project explores the experiences of six young, middle-class, metropolitan South African men and how such men see themselves today.

It takes an empathetic view of men individually, but a critical one of patriarchy.

Still Figuring Out considers various aspects of manhood and masculinity in contemporary South Africa through a nuanced lens.

Initiated in 2013 by Giovanna del Sarto (documentary photography) and Antonia Michaela Porter (artistic concept and interviews/audio), Still Figuring Out What it Means to be a Man consists of documentary-style photographic images of the men in contexts in which they chose to represent themselves, audio narratives and audience interactivity.

Participants come from a range of cultural and racial backgrounds; these men in their twenties and thirties are of the metropolitan elite, sharing broadly middle-class upbringing and familiarity with the urban professional world of South Africa.

These men reflect on their masculinity, contemplating various influences on their sense of manhood.

They explore issues such as love, sexuality and sexual conditioning, impacts of apartheid and colonialism, success, fatherhood, gender-based violence and visions of ideal masculinities for a future South Africa.

The exhibition runs at the Iziko Slave Lodge until September 2.