Current Institutional Affiliation
Researcher, Public Affairs Research Intitute, University of the Witwatersrand

Award Information

Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa: Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Fellowship 2017
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
University of the Witwatersrand
Ukuthwala in rural South Africa: Abduction marriage as a site of contention between state policies, human rights and customary law in rural Kwazulu Natal and Eastern Cape.

This doctoral thesis proposal outlines my proposed study into the confluence of forces that influence the state's attempts to reduce gender inequality in a historically defined country characterised by structural patriarchy. Against the backdrop of the drafting of the Prohibition of Forced Marriages and Child Marriages Bill, I seek to look at how the various machineries of the state and civil society are being brought to bear on the issue of Ukuthwala, and how women have featured in this interaction. The study employs a partly quasi-ethnographic technique, involving different approaches that allow for close attention to the focus of study that include on one hand, quasi-ethnographic studies that will be undertaken in UMgungundlovu in Kwazulu Natal province and Nhlankomo in the Eastern Cape Province in the form of in-depth interviews, narratives and archival research on the position of the state on the practice and on the other, the work of the South African Law Reform Commission on the drafting of the Bill will form the central node around which this research will be conducted, given that the process will bring together a range of actors from civil society, government and the community This proposed research will make a contribution that uniquely presents a conceptual debate about the position of the state in remodelling patriarchy to help understand the social processes that give rise to the discriminatory cultural practices.