n Southern African Journal for Folklore Studies - Taboos and ideological values of Ndebele society

Volume 29 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1016-8427



This article critically examines taboos and the role they play in Ndebele society. Taboos represent that which is prohibited by a particular society. A taboo is a social sanction that inhibits society from adopting certain behavioural traits. Taboos come as a stern warning against unwanted behaviour and are an important part of any social identity. Adopting an identity implies accepting the taboos and the social norms associated with that identity. This article argues that taboos are legitimate sources of information and knowledge against the background of negative ideologies that have devalued African modes of knowing. Information for this article was gathered through interviews conducted with Ndebele speakers and through intuition, since the researcher is a native speaker of Ndebele. Several taboos will be discussed that pertain to environmental knowledge, general scientific education, environmental health, preservation and conservation and social behavioural patterns. The article upholds the need to put taboos at the centre of discourse on the ideological values of a particular society, as they create and validate the worldview of a particular society.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error