Love, discipline, punishment or wife battering: A view from Ubuntu
Marriage is conceptualised in a hierarchical and patriarchal manner by the elderly people from KwaZulu-Natal. Men have authority over their wives, children and property. In this paper I grapple with wife battering in traditional Zulu marriage from an African philosophical point of view. I shall draw from the philosophy of Ubuntu and the work of French philosopher Michel Foucault. I shall tease out how the elderly perceive wife battering as love, discipline and punishment. Data used in this paper shall be drawn from structured interviews and focus groups that were conducted in 2015 under the auspices of the NRF-funded ‘Archaeology of Ubuntu’ study. The interviews were conducted among elderly men and women aged between 65 and 80 years in the Greater Kwa-Zulu Natal province. Findings indicate that elderly women conflated wife battering with love and discipline, while elderly men conflated wife battering with discipline and punishment.
Keywords: love, discipline, punishment, wife battering, Ubuntu, marriage