Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.”
― Margaret Atwood
Patriarchy: A system of society or government in which the men hold power and women are largely excluded from it.
By assessing some of the works of renowned African writers, all of whom are women, I have drawn out a conclusion from the works of Chimamanda Adichie, Mariama Ba, Amma Darko, Nawal El Sadaawi, and Tsitsi Dangaremba and stated some master plans in which the female characters in their novels have adapted to journey through life.
Alternatively, the second topic for this blog post could be “5 African Feminist Novels you need to read”.
The first Strategy: Become defiant
I found this strategy really effective. Although it has got a lot of women killed in many African countries, this doesn’t mean that one would continue to succumb because in the course of succumbing one can also get killed. Take for instance; many women have been killed in most African countries for refusing to marry the men imposed on them. Read my post on honour killing to understand more https://thenifeminist.wordpress.com/2016/07/18/exposing-a-damaged-society-the-act-of-honour-killing/. These women are considered defiant for rebelling. Now, take the cases of women who have remained submissive and silent. Some of them are victims of domestic violence and many more who become dolls and puppets to men.
If you haven’t read Nervous Condition, a Zimbabwean novel by Tsitsi Dangaremba I urge you to do. In the novel, the life of a young girl, Tamba is depicted and her survival in a Patriarchal Rhodesian society. The novel portrays her desire to go to school even though her family was too poor, but could afford to send her brother to school because he was male. She is asked if she can cook education for husband and is confined to join her mother in the kitchen. The novel also deals with women who suffer because they were poor, female, black and also uneducated.
One defiant behaviour I loved in Tamba was when she first rebelled against her family to continue her studies. She began planting on her grandmother’s garden and finally sold green ears of corn. Fortunately, she met a white woman who gave her teacher ten pounds for her education.
More importantly is the character of Nyansha who defiantly goes against her father, Babamukuru every time in her quest for independence; although she suffers a severe eating disorder and a kind of mental illness, she however recovers at the end of the novel.
Also, in Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Adichie it tells the story of an abusive home in which a mother and her two children are victims of a father/husband fanatical and brutish ways. You need to read it; I hate summarizing.
I ‘d be placing emphasis on Kambili(daughter) and Jaja(Son) defiant attitudes against their abusive father, although it is one step to gaining independence, they paid the price of being physically inflicted and tortured by their father. Towards the end of the novel, their mother began to poison their father’s tea which eventually led to his fortunate demise.
You see my point is, liberty is not for free, and it definitely doesn’t come on a platter of gold. One person can’t attain freedom only with the help of others. This is why it’s important for women to work together to empower other women and loosen them from the shackles of brutish cultures and individuals.
To Be Continued!