Interrogating Myths Surrounding Sex Education in Zimbabwean Schools: Lessons to be Learned from Ndebele Traditional Literature/Oral Traditions

  • Sindiso Bhebhe National Archives of Zimbabwe
Keywords: folktales, Ndebele oral traditions, Ndebele praise poetry, proverbs, riddles, sex education


Sex education is one of the most divisive aspects of the school curriculum in Zimbabwe. It is shrouded in myths and controversies—with some parents, culturists and religious groups asserting that it can contribute to immorality among learners. Others even go to an extent of claiming that sex education in primary and secondary schools should not be allowed as culturally it is a taboo to discuss issues of sex with teenagers. However, an analysis of traditional Ndebele literature seems to tell a different story. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to deliberate on these so-called taboos and claims, and to establish where the Ndebele culture stands with regards to sex education. The article critiques the Ndebele traditional literature/oral traditions, which boasts riddles, folktales, proverbs and wise sayings and even praise poetry, which are so rich in sex education.