The mourning cultural practices amongst the Zulu-speaking widows of the KwaNyuswa community : a feminist perspective.
This study titled: “Mourning Cultural Practice Amongst the Zulu Speaking Widows of the KwaNyuswa Community: A Feminist Perspective” explored how mourning cultural practices contribute towards gender discrimination which results to women oppression. The main aim of this study was to document how cultural practices impact negatively to women. It focused on challenges and consequences that the Zulu speaking widows particularly in the rural areas experience during their mourning period. Within feminism as an umbrella theory underpinning this study, radical approach was employed to address the issue to be investigated since it considers patriarchal practices as a primary cause of women’s oppression (Wills and Ellen, 1994:117). This approach enabled the study to extract the gender imbalances inherent in cultural practices, and to expose widow’s experiences, why they experience what they are experiencing and how do they perceive their experiences. This study employed a qualitative research approach embracing the interpretive paradigm and sought to obtain a rich and deep interpretation of participant’s responses on the topic investigated. A combination of three qualitative data collection methods were used, these were: face to face interviews, focus groups discussion and participant observation. Thirty participants were randomly selected from five districts of KwaNyuswa and that include: key informants, women and men, widows and widowers and these were regarded as people who are knowledgeable and have an experience with the phenomenon studied. Thematic data analysis was used in this study through which four themes were emerged. These themes were derived from participant’s perceptions and experiences which made it possible to meet the research objectives. The findings of this study revealed that the majority of people at KwaNyuswa consider mourning cultural practice as an integral part of their lives irrespective of its constraints or challenges it might have to the people involved. It was clear from this study that the people of this community are very much conservative and stereotyped and they do not consider anything of gender transformation or gender equality. Recommendations were made for social and gender transformation and for some means to improve the widow’s plight.