Upon entering into a marital relationship, an African Christian couple is faced with both
biblical and cultural perspectives regarding the patriarchal idea of male headship and
female submission in marriage. This is because headship and submission are both
cultural and biblical issues. The African culture, just as the Bible, defines the position and
the role of males and females and this presents a challenge for the African Christian
couple regarding practice. It is important for pastoral care givers to gain insight into
influences on married couples understanding and practice of headship and submission
and the implication this has for gender disparity as well as the consequences of gender
disparity for the lives of people.
The study aims to explore biblical and cultural ideas of headship and submission in order
to develop an understanding of, describe and explain African Christians perceptions,
attitudes and practices with regard to male headship and female submission in marriage.
The context of the study is that of Shona culture in Zimbabwe. In order to gain an
understanding of the issues on a grassroots level, 30 (15 males and 15 females) married
Shona Christians from different churches in Zimbabwe were interviewed. The participants
were selected by means of the random sampling and purposive sampling methods. Four
main themes were identified and conceptualised. Data was analysed and discussed in
dialogue with the theoretical underpinnings of the study in order to present a pastoral
Dissertation (MA (Theol))--University of Pretoria, 2015.