The African Woman, “the prey to the Male Predator”: A Deconstruction of Feminism in Nawal El Saadawi’s God Dies by the Nile, Tsitsi Ndagarembga’s Nervous Conditions and Margaret Ogola’s The River and the Source
It will be more accurate to argue not in the context of a monolith (African feminism) but rather in context of a pluralism that captures the fluidity and dynamism of different cultural imperatives, historical forces and localized realities conditioning women’s activism in Africa. (Nnaemeka, 1998, p. 5)
African feminist narratives present the African woman on the continent as the innocent victim of the cruel, oppressive patriarchal system. African culture as a whole in most of these narratives presumably gives men authority to violate ethical standards in their treatment of women: men are gods, above the law thereby given to their primordial instincts. They commit diverse acts of sexual perversion without retribution from society because the culture permits them to do so. As much as feminist writing attempts to subvert dominant male hegemonies, it is essential to interrogate the claims, which these narratives depict and the extent of representation by the authors. Do the views of African feminist writers represent the plight of all African women? Is every African man a male beast or this is just a skewed belief “Under Western Eyes?” This paper examines representation of men, women and African culture in African feminist writing. Using ideas of Gayatry Spivak and Chandra Mohanty the study interrogates the representation in Nawal El Saadawi’s God Dies by the Nile, Tsitsi Ndagarembga Nervous Conditions and Margaret Ogola’s The River and the Source.
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