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Greener Journal of  Social Sciences Vol. 5 (3), pp. 065-071, July 2015

  ISSN: 2276-7800 © 2015 GJSS

Research Paper

Manuscript Number: 071515097



‘Bondswomen of Culture’: A gender critique of Bota reshupa and Kuhaza among the Ndau people of Chipinge, Zimbabwe


Muyambo Tenson


Faculty of Arts, Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University

E-mail: tmabhuyamuyambo@ gmail. com



Debates on Indigenous Knowledge Systems (hereafter IKS) are plenty and most scholarly works on IKS are couched from an Afro-centric perspective. The paper explores the significance of IKS or lack of it from a gender perspective. The general assumption that seems to be coming from academic works is that IKS are the panacea for world challenges, particularly in Africa. There is a tendency to romanticise IKS and gloss over some of their life-denying tenets. The question at hand is: To what extent are IKS sensitive to gender? The dearth of literature on this perspective calls for research and it is this gap that the paper fills in. The paper argues that not all IKS are worth the salt. There is need for what we may call ‘IKS hermeneutics’[1] before IKS are embraced as both liberative and life affirming to humanity. Cultural hermeneutics informs the direction the study takes.  The ‘deadly weapon of culture’ (Dube, 2003) as part of IKS views women as the ‘significant others’. The oppressive nature of such IKS are interrogated through critical discourse analysis of existing literature and in-depth interviews. It is prudent to admit that not all IKS are ‘safe space’ for most of African women and men alike. This, therefore, calls for the theory of ‘feminist cultural hermeneutics’.


Key words: Feminist cultural hermeneutics, indigenous knowledge, gender, masculinity, Ndau, woman, Zimbabwe.

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