Feminist discourse analysis in four selected Zulu literary texts beyond 'woman as a victim'.
Gumede, Henry Sifiso.
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The study’s hypothesis was that the condition of women in Zulu patriarchal society as reflected in the selected Zulu literary texts is still intolerable. Some female and male authors tend to echo social tendencies and trends, wanting to maintain the status quo of the system of patriarchy. The study surfaces the traditional patriarchal views on marriage, ukungena (taking over of the responsibilities of the late brother) and other gender inequities. The research qualitatively examines these traditional issues and approaches in the four selected literary texts from a literary feminist discourse perspective. The study has managed to portray various situations in which women discover their potential by focusing on the various major problems they have to face in the patriarchal society. The four literary texts analyzed depict women characters as victims. For instance, the novels Ifa Lenkululeko and Umshado portray the widows’ world as a hybrid space characterized by forces of tradition and modernity. Both novels show how widows are usually trodden upon and least protected by the society from patriarchal interpretations, and expectations of the tradition. The plays, Ngiyazisa Ngomtanami and Ngiwafunge AmaBomvu, on the other hand, depict flaws and failures of the patriarchal system. Both plays expose these flaws and failures in a subtle manner that an inattentive reader may not be able to observe. They both reflect women’s maturity in challenging the stereotypes of the patriarchal system. These literary texts display some transformed approaches in the portrayal of female characters. The study calls for a change of mindsets from members of society who still endorse patriarchal stereotypes of women. It makes it clear that, only by affording full consideration to women’s needs and contributions, can the civilization grow and mature.