‘Hare and His Wife’: Making the Case for the Trickster’s Androgyny

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Wazha Lopang


This paper goes beyond an oral-aural appreciation of Ikalanga trickster tales to explore the tacit manner in which patriarchy views shulo (hare) the Ikalanga trickster as male. We explain the concept of androgyny to demonstrate why the trickster is a successful character, even though some storytellers and critics
view the trickster as either male or female. The paper argues that seeing the trickster as either male or female is flawed because the trickster functions outside the paradigms of masculinity and femininity. It is this non-conformity that helps us to better appreciate how we define ourselves socially as human beings. Using queer theory as a theoretical framework, we argue that even though Ikalanga trickster tales depict characters that display masculine and feminine qualities, the trickster is androgynous and operates outside the exclusive feminine and masculine paradigms. Because of this androgyny, hare does not function in a manner that is socially conditioned. Going into the culmination of Botswana’s national Vision 2016, with its pillars of an Informed and Educated Nation as well as a Moral and Tolerant Nation, the concept of an
androgynous trickster is revolutionary as it transforms the traditional manner that a storyteller and indeed a listener looks at their society.

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