Browsing by Author "Loubser, Isabe"
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- ItemAbuse suffered by the amakhoti in the Xhosa community(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 1999-12) Loubser, Isabe; Van der Westhuysen, T. W. B.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Psychology.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The issue of violence against women in South Africa is receiving much attention in both the media and in Parliament. Yet, women remain vulnerable to violence in their communities and homes. Certain cultural practices and traditional beliefs in black communities in South Africa exacerbate this problem. Despite declarations in human rights documents and legislation such as the Domestic Violence Act of 1998, some cultural practices seem to defy condemnation. Set within a framework of socio-cultural theory, this study is aimed at exposing one such cultural practice as abusive towards women. Marriage in the Xhosa tradition is a process rather than a single event. In this study, the initiation phase through which a Xhosa woman goes when she marries, called the makhotistage, is investigated. As marriage is also a family issue rather than an individual choice, the treatment that the amakhoti receive from the entire extended family is investigated. A critical ethnographic report was compiled from the experiences of twenty women who are or were amakhoti. Firstly, abusive behaviour is categorised as physically, sexually or psychologically abusive. Other practices such as witchcraft and the paying of lobola (bride-price) are also shown to be abusive. Secondly, the social context of the makhoti phase is explored. Aspects of the social context of the abusive situation which come under scrutiny are, the choice of a partner, residential pattern of women during their time as a makhoti, and reasons for staying in the relationship. Patterns of abusive behaviour are identified as they relate to specific roleplayers in the extended family. Thirdly, the emotions experienced by the participants during their time as a makhoti as well as their coping skills are explored. The results of this study indicate that the amakhoti in the Xhosa community are exposed to extremely abusive treatment at the hands of their husbands, their own family and their in-laws, and that much of this treatment is perpetuated later on in the marriage. The study also indicates that other women in the extended family also indulge in abusive behaviour towards the makhoti, despite the fact that they shared the same fate.The study confirms that Xhosa women are purposefully kept in a position of disempowerment and subservience by cultural beliefs and practices which inhibit their personal development.