‘Feminist’ African Women Writers

The “F” word is really a no-no on some circles these days. Indeed, if you admit to being a feminist in public, chances are you will be laughed at or worse you will receive the harass look. Inversely, if someone accused you of being a feminist, you have gravely  been insulted. Hence, you will be outraged and obviously promptly denied the charge.

But really, what is feminism? And more importantly, why is it that the definition and the image of feminism have not evolved since its creation? No one has found answers to this specific questions, just yet. Which means that for a while, it will be up to us to clarify this issue.

A quick search on Wikipedia turned out this definition for feminism:

Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A feminist advocates or supports the rights and equality of women”

These are very noble ideologies. Unfortunately, defining yourself as a feminist equals to professional suicide if you do this at work or to provocation if you do it in public. Indeed, there is a lot that could be done in terms of marketing the feminism movement. A generation of African writers have distinguished themselves by writing extensively on the condition of African women. Indeed, their writings on undocumented issues have greatly contributed to shed a light on African women’s unnecessary sufferings. Hence, they could effectively be labelled “Feminist”.

on-black-sisters-street-cover-page
On Black Sister’s Street by Chika Unigwe. Omage Source: www.africanhighstreet.com

Here is a list of African women writers and names of some of the books they have written, that have effectively contribute to the African feminism movement either by bringing out some of the most gruesome stories or just by celebrating the African women. Contemporary as  well as classical writers have been included. Also note that this list is in no particular order:

Distant View of a Minaret by Alifa Rifaat

Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits by Laila Lalami

July’s People by Nadine Gordimer

Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga

No Sweetness Here and Other Stories by Ama Ata Aidoo

On Black Sisters Street by Chika Unigwe

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Adichie

So Long a Letter by Mariama Ba

The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta

The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna

Tropical Fish: Tales from Entebbe by Doreen Baingana

Women of Algiers in Their Apartment by Assia Djebar

I also want to take this opportunity to thank some of the best book bloggers ever for having reviewed and extensively discussed these books. Thanks to their incredible work, I was able to come up very quickly with my list.

1) Me, you and books

2) Global Women of Color

3) Kinna Reads

4) Mary Okeke Reviews

About Teakisi 239 Articles
Teakisi (formerly ElleAfrique) is an English and French blogzine dedicated to challenging and changing the perceptions of African girls and women in the world today.

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