Original Research - Special Collection: Women Theologies

Construction of rape culture amongst the Shona indigenous religion and culture: Perspectives from African feminist cultural hermeneutics

Nomatter Sande, Sophia Chirongoma
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 77, No 2 | a6619 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i2.6619 | © 2021 Nomatter Sande, Sophia Chirongoma | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 March 2021 | Published: 27 August 2021

About the author(s)

Nomatter Sande, Research Institute for Theology and Religion (RITR), College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Sophia Chirongoma, Research Institute for Theology and Religion (RITR), College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Rape culture is reportedly prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa. Culture, patriarchy, poverty and religion continue to sustain rape culture. The notions of the objectification of women’s bodies amongst the Shona people are causatives for rape culture within diverse cultural institutions. Africans reasonably uphold marriage with high esteem; unfortunately, the marriage institution is also susceptible to becoming a source of abuse, coercion, and is often used as a tool for controlling women. Some of the entrenched marital rituals embody diverse detrimental and contentious practices, which deprive girls and women their autonomous rights, particularly their sexual and reproductive rights. This research article interrogates numerous aspects within the Shona indigenous religion and culture, which precipitate the construction of rape culture. The study uses African feminism as a theoretical framework. It utilises African feminist cultural hermeneutics to interrogate rape culture amongst the Shona people. The research study is qualitative with a conceptual analysis paradigm. It concludes by proposing the need for tapping into some life-giving and gender inclusive principles within the Shona indigenous religion and culture to be utilised as tools for eradicating rape culture.

Contribution: Utilising the African feminist cultural hermeneutical framework, the article interrogated several factors precipitating rape culture amongst the Shona people. It foregrounded that women bear the brunt of burden of rape culture. It concludes by proposing the need for tapping into some positive Shona indigenous traditions as tools for curbing rape culture.


Keywords

African feminist cultural hermeneutics; marriage; rape culture; Shona indigenous religion; Zimbabwe

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