A socio-cultural discourse representation of women in Bukusu and Gusii proverbs

Type Working Paper
Title A socio-cultural discourse representation of women in Bukusu and Gusii proverbs
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2017
URL UNIVERSITY symposium ​paper.pdf?sequence=1
Considering the role of proverbs in the society, it is important to understand the hidden
meanings that they convey. Nevertheless, so far, little attention has been paid on how women
are discursively represented in the traditional societies of the Bukusu and Gusii and how such
a construction can help in understanding the role of women in the society despite the
observed social changes. This paper examined the main attributions that are attached to
women in Bukusu and Gusii proverbs. Specifically, the paper reports on how women are
represented in proverbs in these cultures; which aspects of their lives are highlighted and
how such representations define the social fabric of the society. Data of the study comprised
thirty three (33) Bukusu and Gusii Proverbs related to the portrayal of women encapsulated in
proverbs, ethnography was used to select the proverbs, the data analysis focused on the
examination of the respective proverbs as a semiotic system of signification grounded within
an African social cultural approach to discourse analysis. The findings revealed that women
are expected to promote morality, good conduct, fidelity, respect, productivity, nurturance
and beauty which are pillars on which the family as a social unit is anchored as opposed to
misconduct, and arguments/gossiping which are vices that may easily break the social fabric
of a society. The paper thus concludes that women should embrace the indigenous values in
word and deed for a sustainable social growth.

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