Original Research

Tamed identities? Glimpsing her identity in Proverbs 10:1–22:16 and selected African proverbs

Madipoane Masenya
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 74, No 1 | a4819 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v74i1.4819 | © 2018 Madipoane Masenya | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 September 2017 | Published: 30 April 2018

About the author(s)

Madipoane Masenya,, South Africa


Notions about worthy womanhood are shaped to a large extent by the cultural contexts in which they are constructed. In the global village though, shaped as it is mainly by Eurocentric cultures, it would be presumptuous to assume that one can with certainty pinpoint what may be termed ‘purely traditional African notions of womanhood’. Also, it will be an exaggeration to argue that Africa does not have its own notions on ideal womanhood. Particularly in Christian African contexts, notions about womanhood are still shaped to a large extent by both the traditional African worldviews and the received biblical interpretations about womanhood. In the preceding scenario, one wonders if women’s identities reveal their real selves or whether they are tamed, and thus artificial. In one’s attempt to unravel notions of womanhood from both the corpus, Proverbs 10:1–22:16 and in the South African context (cf. selected African proverbs), this article has sought to answer the following main question: if images of women in selected African (Northern Sotho) proverbs (cf. also selected South African narratives) and in the book of Proverbs (cf. Pr 10:1–22:16) are brought together, what kind of picture may emerge from such a comparison?


women; African proverbs; female identities; book of Proverbs


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