Theorizing African Feminism(s): the 'Colonial' Question

Citation:

Mekgwe, Pinkie. 2006. “Theorizing African Feminism(s): the 'Colonial' Question.” QUEST: An African Journal of Philosophy 20 (1-2): 11-22.

Author: Pinkie Mekgwe

Abstract:

This paper has arisen from a recognition that while the development of African Literature over the past four decades presents itself as an overt exercise in de-colonization, adopting as it does an anti-colonial, anti-'father’ stance, the development of African feminism becomes propelled towards being anti-Western feminism. This is manifested in an approach that while it seeks difference from the West, is anti-’difference’; while anti-gender-separatism and pro-male, yet seeks female agency and autonomy. It is this fluid character of African feminism that this paper seeks to explore. The paper sets out to demonstrate the impact that ‘Africanity’ and the decolonisation project has had in shaping debates on African feminism firstly, by highlighting the intricate relationship enjoyed by postcolonialism and feminism in African literature. I then link this relationship to the paradoxical, often ambivalent stance that theories of African feminism have adopted over time, resulting in an apparent stasis in theorizing African Feminism. Such stasis, as I shall argue, emanates from the ‘double bind’ lent to the meaning of ‘Africa’ as tied to the colonial experience.

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Feminisms, Gender Regions: Africa

Year: 2006

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