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The Price Of Adopting Innovations In Cultural Norm

Kevin David

Kevin David

Culture, they say, is a way of life and preserving it should be the responsibility of all. A river that forgets its source tends to dry up. So, if a set of people do not want their sense of self going extinct, it is imperative to have their cultural norms passed down from generation to generation.

While it is also good to sometimes tweak certain cultural habits that no longer serve us in modern times or are barbaric, it is somewhat rebellious to choose to change certain norms that have been engraved into the psyche of a set of people.

A South African pantless dancer, already controversial for her choice of costumes and mostly ditching her undies, recently got engaged to her much younger lover and what was pretty unusual was that she proposed to him by going down on one knee.

Thereafter, she hinted that her fiance will be taking her own surname upon marriage rather than the conventional other way around and he is okay with it.

This has upset the sensibilities of many conservative Africans who see her as rebellious. But strictly speaking, is she wrong to push the cultural envelopes at the seams?

Some have argued that in ancient African kingdoms, men who married female warriors were regarded the wife to the female warriors and took up otherwise wifely chores at home and it wasn't strange at all. Also, in old Arabia, women were not forced to take up their husband’s name, rather they kept their own surnames,  a claim that is also seen to be the way of life in most European countries.

Should Zodwa Wabantu be seen as a cultural outlaw because of her decision? She has said her fiance is okay with the decision and said she is not a hypocrite, justifying her decision with the assertion that many women give their would-be husbands money to pay their brideprice. This means they indirectly end up marrying themselves. But she has chosen to be open about her own situation by proposing and having her fiance take up her surname. People's concern is that this does not become a trend as men have seen it as a form of emasculation.

Is she just trying to be controversial to gain attention or is this a sign of end times?

The Price Of Adopting Innovations In Cultural Norm