A Gender Analysis of the Cultural-Semantics in Death Rituals and Taboos among the Tachoni and Vavhenda

International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) | Volume II, Issue XII, December 2018 | ISSN 2454–6186

A Gender Analysis of the Cultural-Semantics in Death Rituals and Taboos among the Tachoni and Vavhenda

Mandillah KL Lucy

Masinde Muliro University of Science & Technology, P.O Box 190-50100, Kakamega, Kenya

Abstract:-Despite many years of feminist activities, international and national resolutions and declarations on women issues and rights, progress towards gender equality has not been realized in the 21st Century. The lack of progress is attributed to reasons such as political manipulation, negative attitudes and negative cultural practices against women. Although cultural practices vary, patriarchal practices that elevate men and keep women in subordinated positions reverberates in most African countries. It is against this backdrop that the current study examines the cultural-semantics in the death rituals and taboos among the Tachoni in Kenya and Vhavenda in South Africa. This is in a view to describe the gender discriminatory practices and their impact to social transformation whose findings could replicate other African countries. The inability to harness fully the potential in women aggravates developmental challenges and could restrict progress towards the attainment of SDGs and Africa’s agenda 2063. A qualitative design was adopted. Interviews and observation schedules were employed for data collection. Four female and four male respondents aged between 50-90 years were purposively sampled.Data was presented in narrative form and analyzed thematically. Gender-based discriminatory practices against women and girls manifests itself in death rituals and taboos. If not eradicated, they will be an obstacle in the attainment SDGs, Vision 2030 and Africa’s long term Agenda 2063.

Keywords: Agenda 2063; Death; Semantics; SDGs; Taboos: Rituals, Women


Several international development frameworks have laid down strategies and policies for guiding development initiatives. However, valuation of women’s contribution to national economies has remained a major obstacle due to cultural intricacies (Cherinet & Mulugeta, (2003). Various African countries have attempted to make strides to enhance the status of women, yet African women still experience various forms of discrimination and inequalities.

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