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The impact of Khomba - a shangaan cultural rite of passage - on the formal schooling of girls and on women's space in the Chikombedzi area in Zimbabwe

C Chikunda
E Marambire
R Makoni


The study sought to establish the content and epistemology of the Khomba curriculum and
assess its impact on the formal education of girls and on women's space in general. The
ethnographic case study was used as the design. Non-structured and non-scheduled
interviews as well as observations were used to get an insight of Khomba. The study
established that the curriculum content of Khomba is designed along gender lines. It sets
one form of knowledge to be suitable for women and not for men. The Khomba ceremony
seems to tell initiates that they are ‘ripe' for marriage and hence divert their attention from
formal education. The curriculum teaches women to internalize their own subordinate
status, to view themselves of lesser value and diminishes their sense of their own rights.
By so doing, Khomba restricts women's space both in terms of their condition and position
in society and restricts women to the reproductive sphere. The study recommends that the
Ubuntuism framework be used to reform the Khomba curriculum so as to engender the
cultural practice and create a gender responsive environment in the district.

Keywords: Traditional farming, farming techniques

Indilinga Vol. 5 (2) 2006: pp. 145-156

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eISSN: 1683-0296