This corpus-based study examines female and male characters’ body parts in selected isiZulu novels: Indlela Yababi (The path of the wicked; 1946) by RRR Dhlomo Inkinsela yaseMgungundlovu (The tycoon of Pietermaritzburg; 1961) by CLS Nyembezi and Kuxolelwa Abanjani? (Who deserves to be forgiven? 2002) by NG Sibiya. The three selected novels are representative of the three periods that somewhat define South Africa: the pre-apartheid, the apartheid and the postapartheid period. With a focus on gender variation, I look at the use and description of female and male characters’ body parts in the selected texts. Using a combined Corpus Linguistics and Critical Discourse Analysis approach, I investigate the following questions: how do male and female characters use their body parts in the selected texts? Is the use of the body parts in the selected texts indicative of gender differences? How are body parts described in the selected texts? Could it be that the description represents male and female characters in a stereotypical way? Do the uses of and descriptions of body parts reveal aspects of power relations between women and men? Is there any development or change over time in the selected texts with regard to body parts and gender? The following body parts are examined: isandla and izandla (the hand and the hands), amehlo (the eyes), ikhanda (the head) and ubuso (the face). From the findings obtained, it is clear that the use and description of female and male characters’ body parts are indicative of gender differences and gender stereotypes. However, such gendered patterns are less distinct in the novels selected. These findings would have to be measured on a larger corpus of isiZulu novels.