Teachers in South African primary schools continue to use corporal punishment as a discipline practice despite its abolition 17 years ago. Anecdotal evidence suggests that teachers, particularly those who have been culturally exposed to corporal punishment and violence believe that corporal punishment is the effective mode of disciplining children. Drawing on Vygotsky's Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT), this study seeks to investigate how the notion of the genesis of higher psychological functions can explain the continuing use of corporal punishment in schools. A qualitative methodology, with observation and interviews, will be employed to collect data at a primary school in rural Mpumalanga, where teachers, parents and learners will be participants. Data will be analysed thematically to address the main research question: What cultural-historical practices account for the propensity to use corporal punishment in South African primary schooling? Verification techniques and triangulation will be used to ensure the validity of the study.