Over the past thirty year there has been a rapid pattern of urbanisation, especially by young people. Even so, unlike men who tend to work in urban areas, older women still look after rural homesteads. This includes attending to the annual renewal of murals and replastering of homesteads, when necessary.
The practice of washing clothes in large aluminium tubs is widespread. Alternatively, women do their washing on the banks of streams and rivers, using boulders and nearby shrubs or trees to dry clothing and other household items.
The tasks women perform include the preparation and cooking of food for members of their households. Maize is still commonly ground using either stones or by stamping the kernels in a mortar.
Despite recent attempts to supply communities with water from bore holes close to their homes, many rural homesteads still lack easy access to this amenity. Women have to walk long distances to collect water, which they usually carry on their heads.
By Professor Sandra Klopper