Literary reflections of African women's quest for socio-economic parity in selected African women-authored texts
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The original impulse for this thesis has arisen from observations that extant literature seems to suggest that African women have been passive recipients ofwhatever was handed down to them by the patriarchal system. It has also been put across that African women only voiced feminist concerns following after their western counterparts, notions that I do not agree with. In this dissertation I trace African women's quest for socio-economic parity from the time before Africa had any contact with the Western world. This is done by looking at the texts The Joys ofMotherhood (1979) by Buchi Emecheta, Nervous Conditions (1988) by Tsitsi Dangarembga and The Uncertainty ofHope (2006) by Valerie Tagwira. As the thesis develops from pre-colonial to post-colonial times, the voice of the African woman is traced. The analogy between patriarchy and colonialism is made, stemming from Bill Ashcroft's Post-colonial Transformation (2001) theory which is then factored into the STIWANIST theory which is the main theoretical framework for this mini-thesis. Both frameworks are used and their point of overlap which is non-confrontational resistance is highlighted as the texts are read. The socio-economic and socio-cultural clutches of patriarchy are highlighted in each chapter and it becomes apparent how patriarchy changes style in its quest to keep the woman oppressed. Feminist resistance and apparent subversion of the patriarchal system in all texts are unearthed in a manner that reveals that subtle resistance is the most effective type. A reading of the selected texts using the two frameworks gives hope to the African women's quest for socio-economic parity. Though not yet achieved, the possibility is closer than it was before. Studies ofthis nature should be pursued to further equip communities with ideas to facilitate the movement towards socio-economic parity.