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Levirate Marriages and Their Presentation in South African Lokshin Bioskops: Ungeno and Indoda

Evangeline Bonisiwe Zungu

Published: 2019/12/01

Abstract

Levirate marriages are still prevalent in patriarchal societies. Traditionally, such societies value cultural adherence very highly. This sometimes includes a total disregard of women’s rights, in opposition to the ongoing cultural evolution in the form of modernization and globalization which is affecting these societies. Women are seen as part of the inheritance to be handed over from one man to another through marriage when the first husband dies. There is no consideration of women’s emotional state during and after the mourning period. Women are required to remain part of the dead husband’s family forever. These beliefs and practices infringe upon the women’s freedom of choice. The reason to conduct the present study is the observation that conflicts frequently arise within families because the younger generation does not adhere fully to what traditional culture prescribes. I use two Lokshin Bioskops (short films) to show that levirate marriages are outdated from the film-makers’ modernist perspective, in large part because they violate women’s rights. Furthermore, Lokshin Bioskops represent a platform for cultural evolution in a modernizing society through their portrayal of contemporary life and their advocacy against traditional practices that deny women their autonomy.

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