Girls with Guns: Narrating the Experience of War of Frelimo’s ‘Female Detachment'

Citation:

West, Harry G. 2000. “Girls with Guns: Narrating the Experience of War of Frelimo’s ‘Female Detachment.’” Anthropological Quarterly 73 (4): 180-94.

Author: Harry G. West

Abstract:

This article examines the way in which female guerrillas both appropriated and contributed to the FRELIMO narrative of women's participation in the struggle for Mozambican liberation. The author argues that ideological commitment to the cause was essential to defining the experience of violence for these girls and young women and that, concurrent with their convictions, they felt empowered rather than victimized by the war. The article contributes to an emerging literature suggesting that the culturally-specific meanings given to the social category of youth as well as to experiences of violence are essential to understanding the impact upon Africa's youth of the continent's many armed conflicts.

Keywords: child soldiers, violence, guerrilla war, women's emancipation, ideology, narrative

Topics: Armed Conflict, National Liberation Wars, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Female Combatants, Gender, Girls, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-state armed groups, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Mozambique

Year: 2000

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