African Traditional Views on Divorce: A Case of the Ndebele in the Vukuzenzele Ward at Esikhoveni, Esigodini
Cases of divorce are reportedly on the increase in Zimbabwe, which is a situation that poses a threat to the very institution of marriage. Modern-day marriages appear to be particularly vulnerable, despite the United Nations (UN) Freedoms and local legislation governing marriages, while traditional marriages appear to be more stable. The study, conducted in Vukuzenzele Ward at Esikhoveni, sought to investigate traditional African views on divorce and ways of preserving marriages. A case study was used as a research design, with open-ended interviews being used as data-gathering tools. Nine respondents were identified through snowball sampling, and all were successfully interviewed. The study revealed that traditional marriages remained very stable, with a number of methods being used to preserve such marriages. These include lobola payment and other Ndebele rites. The study further revealed that the UN Freedoms, especially those that relate to equality between men and women in marriages, were unfamiliar to the traditionally married couples, who were of the view that such freedoms were not conducive to successful marriages. However, the study revealed that in the traditional context, divorce was permissible where the wife was guilty of adultery or witchcraft. The study concluded that traditional rites and beliefs remained valid in the preservation of marriages.
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