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Women and Power in ZimbabwePromises of Feminism$
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Carolyn Martin Shaw

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039638

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039638.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 05 April 2020

Mercy, Mercy, Mercy

Mercy, Mercy, Mercy

Middle-Class Working Wives and Mothers in Harare

(p.121) Chapter 4 Mercy, Mercy, Mercy
Women and Power in Zimbabwe

Carolyn Martin Shaw

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the experiences of working wives and mothers (“Mercy”/“Nyasha”) as the epitome of middle-class lifestyles, virtues, and contradictions in Harare. Mercy is the last of the four types of women addressed in this book. Grouped under the sign of Mercy—a translation of the chiShona name Nyasha, the most popular contemporary female name in Zimbabwe—are working wives and mothers who represent the ideal qualities many parents hope to cultivate in a daughter: compassion, modesty, and obedience. Drawing on interviews with twenty women in the category of Mercy in 2000–2001, this chapter considers the advantages and disadvantages of being a woman, along with other topics such as work ethic, sex in the workplace, marriage and fidelity, HIV/AIDS, and togetherness and shared responsibility in marriage. It also discusses Mercy women's sentimental attachments to family, religion, and ethnicity.

Keywords:   working wives, work ethic, working mothers, marriage, fidelity, Mercy women, sentimental attachments, family, religion, ethnicity

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