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Perceived gender inequality reflected in Zulu proverbs : a feminist approach.

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This dissertation explores the subject of gender inequalities as reflected in Zulu proverbs. The most notable examples are those proverbs that comment on the role and position of Zulu men in society, on women's behaviour, on marriage and on the morality of the Zulu society. The dissertation explores how language is used in the proverbs to help shape the behaviour of women, from childhood up till the time they assume the responsibilities belonging to omakoti (brides). This study was undertaken in order to gain greater insight and understanding into why Zulu women are expected to play a submissive role in their society, unlike their dominant male partners. The study provides a case study of Zulu proverbs so as to gain an in-depth understanding of how patriarchy is reflected through language, and how proverbs help to construct the woman's identity in Zulu society. Through the use of research participants, the dissertation concludes that Zulu proverbs about women are associated with ukuhlonipha, a custom where omakoti, once married, adopt new names for items they use on daily basis because they reflect the names or syllables of in-laws. This study adopts a qualitative research methodology. Primary data was collected through interviews and several books on proverbs, whilst secondary data was collected from a wide selection of books, theses, dissertations and journal articles. Interviews which were carefully conducted with nineteen females (thirteen females between the ages of 16 and 35, and six females over the age of 35) and fourteen males (eight males between the ages of 16 and 35, and six males over the age of 35), all who are from KwaZulu-Natal.


Thesis (M.A.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2010.


Proverbs, Zulu., Women, Zulu., Theses--IsiZulu.