Ayanda Ncwane: “Widows Are Oppressed By Customary Laws”

Ayanda Ncwane is speaking out against “unfair” customary laws that oppress black widows. 

Since losing her husband, gospel star Sfiso Ncwane in 2016, Ayanda has made it her mission to help comfort widows.

She took to Instagram a few days to talk about the struggles women face after the death of a spouse. 

“After 25 years of “freedom”, widowed women are still oppressed and unfairly treated by customary laws & some unbearable culture!!!!” she wrote.

Ayanda added the bill of rights recognises women and men as equals but some cultural practises do not.

“Till this day many widowed women are still forced to wear INZILO (a black mourning attire) for 12 good months, BUT widowed men can completely carry on with their lives after the burial of her wife.”

She says wearing mourning attire should not be a must.

“INZILO is NOT a South African culture nor tradition and this should be a choice of a widow not an obligation!!!”

Her remarks started a huge debate in the comments section of her post.

“Ya'll need to know your place... stop competing with us men,” one man wrote. 

While many women said they respected their culture, they agreed that wearing mourning clothes should be a choice.

“The process it’s not meant to oppress women, however it shouldn’t be forced on anyone. Men and women have different roles that doesn’t make us unequal, I would rather we appreciate our differences and the roles we play,” one wrote.

Another Instagram user explained how inzilo started. 

“Inzilo is one of the things that were introduced by missionaries to identify widows in other to assist feed them. Just like the number of cows for lobola. So, it's entirely up to us to unlearn these customs, even the ones that were practiced by our elders. Every generation should tailor make their ways of living to suit them & off course learn from those that came before us.”

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Main image credit: Instagram/@ayandancwane

Written by:
ZAlebs Team