Mubobobo: Memories of the Past, Metaphors for the Current Self

  • Samantha van Schalkwyk


In this chapter, the author explores the topic of mubobobo which emerged as a central motif of the collective narratives. The women described mubobobo as an act whereby men obtain magical muti which enables them to rape women without any physical contact. The author traces these stories drawing from the voices of Shona women from Zimbabwe who are currently living in South Africa. She then unpacks these narratives focusing on juxtapositions of pleasure/vulnerability and power/powerlessness in the women’s accounts. Moving away from Westernised hegemonic feminist stories of women’s static powerlessness and passivity, the author critically explores the subtle, yet powerful, psychological significance of the narratives. Through a feminist poststructuralist lens, she argues that mubobobo is a culturally accepted script through which the women resist patriarchal oppression of female sexuality by voicing the complex, often ‘unspeakable’, aspects of their sexual subjectivities and re-creating themselves through a new language of gendered trauma.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samantha van Schalkwyk
    • 1
  1. 1.Stellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa

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