Make Boys Men Again

Western Civilization's Rite of Passage

Lion Hunt (1861) by Eugène Delacroix

Image: Lion Hunt (1861) by Eugène Delacroix

President Trump’s election confronted mainstream journalists with something they had never seen before: a male role model. But the damage eight years of Obama’s feminism has done to young male minds may take decades to unwind. Unlike our European forefathers who struck fear in primitive people’s hearts, today’s frightened white twenty-somethings call themselves ‘gender-fluid hipsters’ or ‘third-wave feminists’, because what they really lack is a pair of full-grown balls. If Western civilization does not aggressively reinstate a rite of passage that teaches teenage boys manhood, future historians will undoubtedly point to their feminization as the reason why the millennial generation so easily surrendered to the enemy.

One man with the courage to act on foresight is South Africa’s Colonel Franz Jooste. Having served in the South African Defence Force, Colonel Jooste now leads the Kommandokorps. Several times a year, the corps organizes paramilitary camps for teenage boys and young men, all of them of colonial Dutch, German or French descent. They are the so-called Afrikaners, Boers or, in the colonel’s own words ,“the white tribe of Africa”. Once a majority, many members of today’s South African minority of about four-and-a-half million whites are feeling lost in a sea of over fifty million nonwhites. Colonel’s Jooste’s boot camps serve to prepare young boys for their role in the survival of their tribe.

In 2011, photographer Ilvy Njiokiktjien and journalist Elles van Gelder produced a short documentary film about the Kommandokorps titled Afrikaner Blood, providing a first look into the camps. The film portrays a dozen boys aged thirteen to nineteen who feel a need to “become a real man, no longer a sissy,” as thirteen-year-old Jano says. During the following nine days of physical hardship and verbal abuse, the boys undergo a visible psychological transformation. During short interviews with the filmmakers, the boys at first appear unsure of their place in multicultural South Africa. Then, after occasionally shedding tears as they struggle to obey Colonel Jooste’s tough orders, the boys find their true identity and confidently begin rejecting Nelson Mandela’s doctrine of the rainbow nation.

Colonel Jooste understands why so many of today’s whites feel lost in so-called multicultural societies. He says, “When I love my own nation, my own language, my own culture, and my own race, and someone says I’m racist, yes, then I am a racist. I am not ashamed to say I’m a racist.” The intertwined themes of manhood and identity would return in a feature-length 2015 documentary by Tarryn Lee Crossman, titled Fatherland. Once again, the female director chooses to focus on the supposedly extremist nature of the camps. But alongside their political indoctrination, a batch of initially insecure boys can once again be seen growing confident. After nine days, they know what they stand for, both as members of the Afrikaner tribe and as men. Fifteen-year-old ‘Sparky’ says, “Now I know I can be like my dad one day.”

The camps are in fact a rite of passage that questions modern Western taboos on manhood and white identity. The initiation rites are not Colonel Jooste’s inventions. They greatly resemble traditional passage rites found elsewhere in the world. First, the boys depart from their families. Then, they travel to an unknown location, where they arrive in a men-only setting. Given nicknames and new clothing, they complete the separation from their family’s protective environment. At this point, they cease to be their parents children. Colonel Jooste and his crew teach the boys discipline, how to execute an order and, most importantly, what responsibilities their Afrikaner society expects of its adult members. Deprived of sleep and food, they must now complete several trials. A ceremonial celebration signals the boys’ successful transition to manhood. They’ve earned the right to call themselves men.

What has happened here? In essence, the boys have become men, because the rite of passage permanently separated them from the feminine family and absorbed them into the masculine Afrikaner tribe. In today’s world, media and politics teach us to believe that manhood and tribal identity are the causes of racism and sexism. We are taught that manly men threaten the insecure political positions of minorities and women. We are taught that war and conflict are men’s fault. At the same time, though, certain minorities living in the West still practice their passage rites. During the Amish Rumspringa, literally meaning “jumping around”, Amish boys and girls aged fourteen to sixteen receive permission to leave their strictly fundamentalist communities and explore the modern outside world on their own.

In Ancient Rome, during the Liberalia festival, a father would take his adolescent sons to the Forum, where they received new clothes and were presented to the public as adult citizens with voting rights. Although no written evidence of Nordic passage rites has been preserved, one can still observe certain ancient rites of passage in remote areas of rural Europe. Dutch filmmaker Arnold-Jan Scheer spent over three decades of his life traveling to small towns and villages in rural Austria, Switzerland, France and Germany. He recorded traditional Saint Nicholas festivals held there in early December. In some of these places, teenage boys dress up as wild beasts. For several days and nights, they frenziedly run around chasing and harassing young women, while an elderly father figure—sometimes in the form of Saint Nicholas and sometimes as Wotan, the Germanic god of war—fires them up. The boys, in a trance, eventually collapse from exhaustion.

Perhaps the taboo on manliness explains at least in part where homosexuality, gender queerness and other progressive personality disorders come from. They come from the feminist oppression of young boys who are denied their right to manhood. But Western civilization can do fine without seventy-two genders. Instead, in the interest of our long-term survival and the psychological health of young males, Western societies must immediately restore teenage boys’ access to manhood through publicly acknowledged rites of passage.

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Make Boys Men Again by Mathijs Koenraadt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.