Religious and cultural encounters: sexual and reproductive health and rights among the Korekore women in Zimbabwe

Elizabeth Mudzimu


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    This project investigates the strategies that the Korekore women in Mt Darwin district in Zimbabwe use to navigate the pressure exerted on their Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) by the Catholic teachings on sexuality and African, especially Korekore spiritual beliefs and practices. I interrogate the position of African religion and culture, and that of the Catholic Church regarding SRHR, assess the factors that influence women’s SRHR in Zimbabwe, and examine the Korekore women’s lived sexual experiences in the context of African culture and Catholic teachings and the extent to which the strategies they use to navigate their SRHR are transformative and sustainable. To this end I take a qualitative and ethnographic approach, which includes semi-structured interviews, informal conversations, participant observations, focus group discussions and workshops. This approach provides a thick description of the social world of my research participants especially their everyday lived experiences and the meanings they generate. Deploying social constructivism and governmentality theories, this study shows that most of the taken-as-given conceptions of women’s sexuality among the Korekore are constructions which compromise and violate their SRHR. This thesis argues that against the several pressures that are put on their SRHR, they always have agency, thus engage with several strategies of navigation such as resistance, resilience, reworking, quiescence, docility, rebellion, inter alia. However, these strategies are just coping mechanisms which do not change anything in light of the structures that are behind the violation of their SRHR. I, thus, deploy the transformative theory which in this study intimates how conceptions of the Korekore women’s sexuality can be formed and transformed towards empowering the women to navigate their SRHR in a more transformative and sustainable way.
    Originele taal-2English
    KwalificatieDoctor of Philosophy
    Toekennende instantie
    • Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
    • von Stuckrad, Kocku, Supervisor
    • Tarusarira, Joram, Co-supervisor
    Datum van toekenning11-feb.-2021
    Plaats van publicatie[Groningen]
    StatusPublished - 2021

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