Folklorisation and the Emergent Moral Degeneration: A Functionalist Approach


  • Siziwe Mandubu University of South Africa



morals, degeneration, social cohesion, societal norms, functionalism


Living in an egalitarian society has resulted in the corrosion of the moral base among certain sectors in the community. Some people misconstrue egalitarianism as an authorisation to act as they see fit. Young people, in particular, are gradually losing touch with reality in relation to acceptable behavioral norms in the South African society. Based on the functionalist theory of balancing the social equilibrium among people, the article delineates moral standards as the most fundamental and general principles of behaviour and reflects on how the society expects one to act in certain situations. The article, therefore, explores the primary concepts within functionalism and attempts to outline that the society is a system of interconnected parts that work together in harmony to maintain a state of stability and social cohesion. The article will use the folktale “uDyakalashe noMvolofu” (“The Jackal and the Wolf”) to reflect on the expected societal norms. It demonstrates that folktales, which used to transfer values, morals and shape the conduct of people in the olden days are still appropriate in reshaping the outlook and perceptions of today’s generation. As such, the shrewd nature of folklore in the moral regeneration of the current generation of young people is exposed. While there are many folktales in this category, “uDyakalashe noMvolofu” (“The Jackal and the Wolf”) provides the theme relevant for the analysis of the topic to highlight that moral standards generate moral principles and moral judgments.



How to Cite

Mandubu, Siziwe. 2020. “Folklorisation and the Emergent Moral Degeneration: A Functionalist Approach”. Southern African Journal for Folklore Studies 30 (1):15 pages.



Received 2019-10-07
Accepted 2021-01-18
Published 2021-03-15