Providing Love: Male Migration and Building a Rural Home

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Enrico Botha
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Providing Love: Male Migration and Building a Rural Home

In this chapter Mark Hunter basically expresses his ideas on how and what shaped sexual relationships amongst the Zulu people of South Africa. His intention and initial research was to find out why AIDS was so bad in South Africa. In this chapter Hunter expresses how certain norms and traditions initially shaped sexual relationships amongst the Zulu people and also how induced norms and traditions from the outside world changed the isiZulu’s ideologies of what sexual relationships should incorporate and how it should be modernised. Hunter firstly speaks about ‘Provider Love’. This basically expresses how ilobolo (bridewealth) shaped relationships and what love entails. Amongst the isiZulu, a certain amount of cattle and money had to be given by the groom to the bride’s father before they could be officially married. Over time cattle too became scarce, and men realised that they had to work for money in order to court a woman. This changed a lot amongst the isiZulu people, as it required men to travel far distances to urban areas for wage labour. Ilobolo amongst the Zulu’s was a sign of respect and a sign of building a homestead and showcasing your manhood. Having to travel far distances for waged labour and being away for long periods away from your home changed a lot in terms of traditions and norms amongst the isiZulu. Colonialism and aspects of capitalism could definitely be argued here to have had a strong influence on such changes. In my opinion ‘love’ amongst men and women of the isiZulu was more about material gain than infatuation. A man could not be with a woman unless he had something to provide, and when I say ‘something’ I don’t mean certain strong fixation feelings or certain sexual prowess, I mean money. Love was also conditioned on a woman’s ability to give birth, if a woman was unable to do so, she most of the time be left by the man and ilobolo would...
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