Active, Adventurous and Heroic: Visual Constructions of Masculinity in the Afrikaans Church


  • Leandra Koenig -Visagie North-West University



Christian visual culture, Afrikaans churches, semiotics, representation, masculinity, physicality as male ontology


In this article, I consider material collected from three Afrikaans churches in the Pretoria-Centurion area that visually relate masculinity to aspects such as physical activity, adventurism and heroism. I develop a background from the literature to male physical ontology, Muscular Christianity, the Promise Keepers, Afrikaner Christianity, Afrikaner nationalism and the interconnections between them. I also highlight the problematic tendencies involved in physicality as male ontology in terms of inherent misogyny, patriarchy, domination and, at worst, violence. I analyse the visual culture of the Dutch Reformed congregations of Moreletapark and kerksondermure (Church Without Walls), as well as that of the Apostolic Faith Mission Church, Doxa Deo, via a Barthesian (1972) visual semiotic approach. In my analysis, I found an emphasis in the representation of masculine physical activity on camping, sporting activities, adventurism, outdoorism, male bonding activities and the domination of nature. Finally, I contrast and problematise the prevalence of these representations to those of women, which are mainly decorative and subordinate to their male counterparts.


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How to Cite

Koenig -Visagie, L. (2022). Active, Adventurous and Heroic: Visual Constructions of Masculinity in the Afrikaans Church. Gender Questions, 10(1), 34 pages .



Received 2021-11-09
Accepted 2022-02-07
Published 2022-03-03