Holy Weddings, Unholy Marriages: Christian Spouses and Domestic Discords in Early Colonial Lesotho (Africa), 1870-1900
The compelling picture that emerges from the study is one of extreme instability of Christian marriages. Based on court depositions we find tensions and conflicts of unsuspected intensity, laying bare intriquing everyday facets of gender relations and marital life. Accusations of adultery, spousal violence, and various forms of mistreatment of wives, rampant desertions, run-away wives, and divorce were some of their dramatic manifestations. These testimonies of spouses, who allowed their conjugal relations to be dissected in the discursive space of the divorce court, shows how men and women struggled with each other and with the larger society to assert their autonomy, individuality, and relative power.
Keywords: African Gender Relations, Missionaries, Christianity, Mission Converts, Colonialism, Adultery Accusations, Spousal Violence, Spousal Desertions, Divorce, Infidelity, Court Depositions, Women Autonomy
Dr Pule Phoofolo
Senior Lecturer, History Department, Walter SiSulu University