Masande Ntshanga’s The Reactive (2016) and Mohale Mashigo’s The Yearning (2017) explore the tensions between queer desire, non-normative gendered identities, and pseudo-traditional cultural practices. Queer desire in The Reactive subverts binary oppositions to celebrate non-normative sexualities as a part of tradition. Luthando disrupts hetero-patriarchal masculinist traditionalism. Yet, Lindanathi’s traditionalist performance of Xhosa male circumcision (ulwaluko) is also the site of “righting” sexuality in the novel. The Yearning similarly addresses the negative tenets of traditionalist masculinity but, through female initiation rituals into womanhood (lebollo) and the call to become a traditional healer or sangoma (ukuthwasa). Mashigo’s novel presents silence as subversion to show how matriarchal structures exist and flourish within patriarchy co-existing in a relationship committed to continuity and community. These subversions suggest that the collective is embedded in the individual and offer a way to reframe “manhood” premised on notions of personhood as community.