Obnoxious Cultural Practices in Zulu Sofola’s Wedlock of the Gods and Efua Southerland’s the Marriage of Anansewa

Obnoxious Cultural Practices in Zulu Sofola’s Wedlock of the Gods and Efua Southerland’s the Marriage of Anansewa
Obnoxious Cultural Practices in Zulu Sofola’s Wedlock of the Gods and Efua Southerland’s the Marriage of Anansewa

ABSTRACT: This research work examines the Obnoxious Cultural Practices in Zulu Sofola’s Wedlock of the Gods and Efua Southerland’s the Marriage of Anansewa. No doubt, there are obnoxious cultural practices in our contemporary African societies. In the same vein, these practices affect the female folks psychologically, socially, educationally and emotionally as seen in the characters under investigation. In The Marriage of Anansewa for instance, the author portrays how Ananse uses his only child as a means of solving his economic problem through bride price. This shows a clear evidence of psychological, social and emotional trauma female children goes through in the hands of the obnoxious cultural practices in our African societies.

In Wedlock of the Gods, Sofola exposes the ugly situation faces by the character of Ogwoma who is given her hand in marriage by her parents to a man she neither love nor know. At last, her marriage with the man ends up in divorce and frustration especially when the man in question dies. From the two selected novels, there is a clear evidence of the obnoxious cultural practices in the lives of the major heroines in the novels which consequently ends in divorce, frustration and death as seen in Sofola’s Wedlock of the Gods. The study therefore recommends that the efforts by stakeholders such as the government should bring an end of such practices for the betterment of the society.

 

Obnoxious Cultural Practices in Zulu Sofola’s Wedlock of the Gods and Efua Southerland’s the Marriage of Anansewa

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     Background to the Study

Zulu Sofola and Efua Sutherland are earliest feminist writers, whose works serve as the starting point for the independence and freedom of African women in general. These writers write their plays with reference to the offensive cultural practices in African societies and its consequences to the female folks. They wrote plays about the struggles of African women in a contemporary African society and portray the condition of women in the traditional African setting. For instance, Sutherland’s The Marriage of Anansewa the playwright uses Ananse as a typical African man who uses his daughter Anansewa as a way of solving his financial challenges in his household. While in Sofola’s Wedlock of the Gods the author upholds the view that marriage is supreme according to custom and tradition. Ogwoma is unjustly treated by the male folk being forced to marry a man she does not love. Sofola therefore sees this as unfavourable African cultural practice that affects the women emotionally and psychologically.

In the same vein, Sofola as a playwright views African cultural practices against women as evil. She sees this as male chauvinism and Ogwowa vows to break free, not really out of the cultural inhibition to her marriage to a man she does not loves, but of the world dominated by the male folk Consequently, this forms the basis of the research work on the obnoxious cultural practices in Africa with reference to Zulu Sofola’s Wedlock of the Gods and Efua Sutherland’s The Marriage of Anansewa. Furthermore, women in Africa have suffered several difficult economic and social conditions, such as growing and harvesting crops on farmland during pregnancy, as well as fetching water and logs of firewood with children strapped to their backs during nursing with little or no help from the husbands. Women in general, have endured emphatic stigmatization and oppression in their homes and elsewhere. Education has been the male child’s birthright, and the enforcement of domestic duties on the girl child growing into womanhood with the conception of being the weaker sex not only in physical strength, but also in the psyche.

In many societies, especially in Africa, man’s acknowledgement of the input and contributions of women on the growth of the economy, family, and nation as a whole is still farfetched. For instance, Pat Okeye, opines that the root cause of the problem stems from society’s low perception of women as a whole, as women have no rights to anything. In her book, she reiterates that “by tradition, the Nigerian women have no rights to inheritance and none to land ownership” (56). All these offensive cultural practices form the background to this research work.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

The obnoxious practices in Africa affect the female folks emotionally as seen in the two plays. This accounts for the psychological trauma that the females undergo in their various marital homes as in the two plays under investigation.

1.3     Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this work is to examine the causes of the  obnoxious cultural practices in African societies with reference to Sofola’s Wedlock of the Gods and Southerland’s The Marriage of Anansewa.

1.4     Significance of the Study

This work is significant to English and literature students and precisely to feminist students on how to contribute to eradicate such unfavourable cultural practices in African societies. The study will also be of significant to other researchers who study how African cultures affect the women.

1.5     Research Methodology

This research work focuses on the two novels under study as the primary sources, while the secondary sources of the work will be on internet, magazines literary books from library and critical works for more information on the research topic.

1.6     Scope and Delimitation of the Study

The scope of this research work will be limited to Sofola’sWedlock of the Gods and Southerland’s The Marriage of Anansewa.

 

Obnoxious Cultural Practices in Zulu Sofola’s Wedlock of the Gods and Efua Southerland’s the Marriage of Anansewa

1.7    Objectives of the Study

The objectives of the study are:

i. to portray the effects and consequences of obnoxious cultural practices against women  emancipation in African societies.

ii    to expose the causes of such social offensive, cultural practices  against  women’s drama in the two texts under investigation

iii    to proffer a reliable solution to these socio- cultural  practices and eradicate them totally in African societies for the benefits of the female folks.

1.8     Definition of Terms

Obnoxious cultural practices are offensive practices that affect certain genders or sexes in a particular society that in turn favours the male gender and discriminate the female gender.

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