n Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems - Opacity, commodification and power dynamics : a narrative analysis of Uthando neSithembu

Volume 18 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1683-0296


Polygyny as a type of marriage may seem quaint and archaic to modern day society, however the truth is that it is still prevalent and has a major effect on women in indigenous societies. Women usually find themselves in a quagmire of being educated and financially independent with no man. In a society where getting married is perceived as an achievement, women have been socialised into thinking that getting a man to marry them validates their existence. Zulu women in indigenous societies then find themselves in a quandary when trying to strike a balance between these two extremes. Uthando neSithembu, the TV series has opened the dialogue and saw traditionalists applauding the patriarch on his financial prowess whilst having many a feminist tongues wagging on the portrayal of women as conquests and commodities. This article seeks to foreground the women’s silent suffering brought about by this arrangement which has seen many a polygynist in the position of a demi-god. Polygyny, as an indigenous practice, subdues women to give men more children, stroke their ego and give them sexual gratification. I employ narrative in seeking to analyse and evaluation various parts of this family dynamics narrative.

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