Uncoupling Heteropatriarchy in African Feminism: Unmarried Women and Indigenous Knowledges of Gender and Sexuality among the Shona of Zimbabwe
- Start date: 1 February 2023
- End date: 1 January 2027
- Funder: British Academy
- Primary investigator: Professor Tendai Mangena
Uncoupling heteropatriarchy in African Feminism uses the experiences of unmarried Shona women of Zimbabwe as represented in indigenous knowledges and in their biographies, to explore the decolonial implications of such representations for African feminism. It particularly problematizes the concern with heterosexual marriage which, although deeply embedded in indigenous cultures, can be seen as a legacy of the colonial, Euro-Christian influence in African societies.
The project’s broader questions revolve around the voices and experiences of unmarried Shona women, and how these complicate, challenge or disrupt dominant ideas regarding the norms of gender, marriage, and family life in contemporary Africa.
The project establishes the nascent field of singles studies as an important sub-field of inquiry that deepens an understanding of major questions in African and gender studies, such as about gender and modernity, socio-cultural change, and decolonization.