Research Article

Stereotyping in the novel Moelelwa: The dichotomy between laziness and maternal duties

Published in: South African Journal of African Languages
Volume 41, issue 2, 2021 , pages: 172–178
DOI: 10.1080/02572117.2021.1948218
Author(s): Mmamoyahabo Constance Makgabo, South Africa, Refilwe Morongwa Ramagoshi, South Africa, Nompumelelo Bernadette Zondi, South Africa

Abstract

Some Sepedi authors perceive women as having to be confined to the home to only perform maternal duties, and women are ridiculed for not being able to fulfill the responsibilities of womanhood. This perception extends to community members who criticise women for not living up to ethnic and cultural expectations. Some books which portray women negatively are still prescribed and read in schools and universities, thereby perpetuating these stereotypes among the youth. This article aims at establishing whether or not laziness is a hindrance to maternal duties and to compare it with modern society’s expectations of married women. The ethnographic design and comparative analyses were used in which Moelelwa, as a character, served as a guide for understanding the issue of stereotyping women and laziness in the past and in the modern era. The cultural theory which discusses how cultural values and rituals play an important role in acculturation and enculturation processes has been employed for comparison between Sepedi, seSwati and modern cultural ways of being. The findings show that women in traditional settings are subjected to this labelling, whereas modern career women avoid this criticism by making use of helpers in their homes. The study illustrates that women are not necessarily lazy if they do not perform their domestic roles. The recommendation is that some of the Sepedi classics could be revived by being used in comparative studies as was done with Moelelwa.

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