Manifestation of gender inequality in some Zulu proverbs that reflect patriarchal domination of women (by men) within the Zulu cultural context
This article uses gender equality perspective in analysing and examining the selected Zulu proverbs that, directly or indirectly, suggest to perpetuate gender bias and inequality. In this regard, women tend to be portrayed and relegated to the submissive position in as far as social practices are concerned. The article suggests that the messages contained in the selected proverbs provide perpetual expressions of women as individuals who are diminished and depreciated to the submission level. The question of gender in traditional societies is habitually ignored in the cultural context for addressing gender inequality. The marriage institution is infiltrated with cultural norms and values that denigrate women’s
rights and dignity through some Zulu proverbs. The selected proverbs are informed by patriarchal norms which deny women the decision making processes in their marriages and the society at large. The interpretation of selected proverbs also portrays inequalities in the institution of marriage. While it is true that men enjoy privileges, women are denied such privileges by cultural norms and practices. The article adopted a qualitative approach, specifically to critically analyse the selected Zulu proverbs which are genderbiased. It followed a critical book analysis, a book titled “Zulu Proverbs” by Sbusiso Nyembezi (1990) which was used as a source of reference. A feminist theory was adopted to analyse selected Zulu proverbs that are viewed as derogatory to women’s dignity. The article recommends that communities should be critical and apply an open mind by developing a framework that recognises socio-cultural sensitivity to minimise gender inequalities emanating from cultural norms and values that are derogatory towards women in order for women to fully enjoy their rights.
Keywords: Derogatory, marriage, patriarchy, women, Zulu proverbs.