Of gender stereotyping and the Ndebele Culture


Gender stereotyping amongst many cultures still is a big obstacle in the upbringing of many young people. The society still views males and females different. Things are still different and harder for women in many countries. The society still raises young girls for marriage and this has destroyed many lives and they are expected to behave in a certain way and do things in a certain way.

Gender stereotyping can be seen in the Ndebele culture through their proverbs and sayings. ‘umendo awutshayelwa mathambo’so goes the Ndebele adage. Young girls are groomed with the expectation that marriage is the Promised Land in the process they live their lives looking forward to being married and their goals and dreams are shattered.

The way parents raise young boys and young girls in a family set up is totally different and this promotes inequality at a tender age. Young boys are the blue eyed children and often raised to be the leaders of families, to make decisions and so on where as the girl child is often groomed with the ideology that there shall come a time when they shall get married and live with a man.

Chimamande Adiche Ngozi asserts that Gender stereotyping can be seen as an animal that has destroyed the society. She makes reference of walking into a parking lot with a man and she pays the other man who is guarding the parking lot, to her surprise the man appreciates the money by thanking the man she was walking with. This clearly tells a story of how the society still thinks the bread winners in households should be men and it will always be man. Women has risen against the odds to make it in life and be good leaders as well a lead their families.

‘akuntombi yagana inyamazana’ so goes another Ndebele proverb clearly stating the aspect of marriage and love centered on how women need men in their lives. The proverb talks of how one turned proposal by a lady, the lady will need a man sometime in her life. This is clearly a wrong perception of the Ndebele culture and the society.  Women can survive and make it in life with or without a men’s hand supporting her. Gender is a big issue when it comes to getting employed in this current state of affairs. Some organisations and companies prefer a certain gender for employment.


Whenever a lady is to chair a meeting in which the population is men, she prepares herself through her dressing, and whenever she enters the boardroom comprising of man the way men look at her is different. This has continuously affected the development of many countries and societies. Many cultures still view women as subjects and their voices are less heard. Some cultures view women’s contribution in decision making as not at par with the men’s voice. Women can lead families, countries as well as companies and are seen as better leaders. Men are still intimidated being in a relationship with a woman who makes more money than them, the society views this as a taboo of some sort where a woman can provide for her family.

Elders often talk and thoughts of charm being used in the marriage in a case where a woman is working and the man is not, they view this as a big problem that brings bad omens in the family. Hence the girl child is still denied opportunities because of these expectations of marriage and one being superior than the other.

Its time the society realise that women deserve equal opportunities as men are given, We all humans we are all equal regardless of gender. Imagine a society where girls are given the same opportunities as boys and are raised in an equal way without any expectations?  Policies and laws have been changed to incorporate the girl child in terms of being given equal opportunities but still culture and societal norms still draw back the girl child.

I srtrongly believe men and women are equal, we should be given the same opportunities, we should be treated equal, we should be seen equal, what a men can do a woman can do as well.

Opinion Piece by

Brighton Ncube

One thought on “Of gender stereotyping and the Ndebele Culture

Add yours

  1. a challenge to family as a primary institution of socializing boys n girls from birth. human beings are born equal but made unequal by the society.Thank you for your work we need women rising despite the voice of culture and society

    Liked by 1 person

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