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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Dealing with relations of inequality: married women in a Transkei village
Author:Liebenberg, AlidaISNI
Periodical:African Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:gender relations
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Women's Issues
Cultural Roles
Marital Relations and Nuptiality
Sex Roles
Abstract:This study of gender relations in Fukula, one of the nine subwards in Qwaninga, an administrative area in the coastal part of Willowvale district, Transkei, South Africa, is based on fieldwork conducted in 1990. In Fukula, relationships between persons in specific kinship, age and gender categories are fixed at a normative level and these principles are manifested in everyday interaction. However, in practice individuals have the opportunity to challenge and subvert or accept and reinforce the status hierarchies, as eight different case studies included in the article show. Xhosa kinship imposes certain behavioural constraints which may be modified in practice, but it also provides certain opportunities and leverages. The hierarchical structure of relations - on a normative level - places women in subordinate as well as dominant roles. As an agnate a woman has authority and freedom, as an affine she is subordinated, especially in her husband's group when she is young and inexperienced. However, when she grows older and acquires more status, she finds herself in a position to lead others. Bibliogr., notes.