The African literary scene is awash with masterpieces penned by women as they explore the aspects of their lives that have and continue to hold them back in the realization of their dreams, aspirations, and freedom. The African Women Writing Resistance: An Anthology of Contemporary Voices pays tribute to women who, against all odds, have picked up their broken lives and embraced their dreams to achieve what a few years ago was considered beyond their realms. This book has been hailed as a worthy contribution to the woman emancipation from societal yokes of tribal and interethnic violence, male dominance, repressive religious dogmas, retrogressive female genital mutilation, early marriages, and unequal access to education. This collection provides a voice to the voiceless women who continue to suffer in silence and bestows a sense of endless possibilities for those who dare to believe and dream big.
The anthology depicts the African society as being patriarchal in nature with women being denied basic rights. Women in the African setting have been confined to a life of servitude, tilling of the farmlands, child bearing, and raising of families. Being born in a third world continent where most institutions seem not to function (and if they do, they favor men), an African woman is faced with endless challenges that bog and confine her to a life of squalor and wretchedness. However, as the anthology reveals, women are facing their demons head on against the backdrop of immense societal expectations and barriers. In The Old Woman, the author takes us through the resilience with which women carry on with their duties as they struggle to provide for their families. Raising three children is not easy, and despite the odds against her, she has done well. This collection shows the determination of the people who make drastic changes in the society they live.
In Slow Poison, the author brings out the bitter consequences and suffering the HIV/AIDs pandemic has brought upon the African woman. Manoji is bed ridden and most of his relatives have deserted him, except for his mother, who doubles up as his caregiver and has to put food on the table. Due to the dilapidated and rundown health facilities to unsustainable health care systems, the African woman still bores the brunt of taking care of family in their times of need. The African continent has always been ranked lowly in terms of health care provision to its populace. Maternal and child mortality continues unabated, and communicable diseases still rampage the African continent. The oppression of woman is rampant even in the noble institution of marriage, where love is supposed to be celebrated. Women continue to suffer in the hands of their benefactors from forced marriages, female genital mutilation and cruelties of domestic violence.
This reading addresses the inequalities that exist in society and shows how women have to go an extra mile to prove themselves and gain recognition from men. Issues of sexuality, equal opportunities in education, and access to resources still need to be tackled exhaustively to level the playing ground for both men and women. The African Women Writing Resistance: An Anthology of Contemporary Voices is a wakeup call to mankind, reminding them that practices that were in vogue in past times should be no longer entertained. Every woman deserves the best that is available, and the realization of this will make our societies stronger and better for all of us. In class, I would like to tackle the issue of how emancipation of women has led to a just society.