Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Jean Halley

Subject Categories

African History | African Languages and Societies | Cultural History | Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence | Ethnic Studies | Family, Life Course, and Society | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Gender and Sexuality | History of Gender | Indigenous Studies | Inequality and Stratification | Nonfiction | Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Social History | Women's History | Women's Studies


African women, Zambian women, lobola, domestic violence, colonialism


Gender inequality has been a prominent feature of human societies for the longest time. Zambia, like most countries in Africa, is very conservative and patriarchal in nature. In a typical Zambian household, the male is the head of the family. I am going to talk about my experiences as a female growing in a culture that was highly patriarchal and traditional, and how those experiences have shaped me into the person that I am today. Central to my experiences, is the issue of violence in our home which I experienced from a young age. Domestic Violence is prevalent in most Zambian homes but yet is treated with silence such that one would think that it occurs in their home only. However, statistics have shown that Zambia has one of the highest rates of gender-based violence in Sub-Saharan Africa despite having sufficient laws to curb the vice. This study will be an autoethnography that will draw on my experiences growing as well as theory from both Western and African feminist thinkers. I use my experiences to illustrate the fact that violence against women occurs in multiple ways and I use these experiences to show how domestic violence has been normalized in Zambian Society and why there is no change despite current legislation by tracing how women have been assigned an inferior status from the colonial days to modern-day Zambia. My thesis provides content on the cultural and institutional barriers that impede women’s in becoming a girl, a woman, a wife, and a divorcee in Zambia. As an interwoven mix of experiences and theory, my intention is to provide a better understanding of domestic violence and the violence women’s lives in Zambia and how through a highly patriarchal system of culture domestic violence is normalized and reproduced. By sharing my experiences in a culture that values privacy and silence on such sensitive issues, it becomes possible to draw the curtain and see things as they are in hope of coming up with solutions that will champion women’s advance in the home front and public.