Women Writing Africa: Volume 1: The Southern Region

The Feminist Press at CUNY

Published by The Feminist Press at CUNY, 2003
ISBN 10: 1558614079 / ISBN 13: 9781558614079
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Synopsis: The product of a decade of research, this landmark collection is the first of four volumes in the Women Writing Africa Project, which seeks to document and map the extraordinary and diverse landscape of African women's oral and written literatures. Presenting voices rarely heard outside Africa, some recorded as early as the mid-nineteenth century, as well as rediscovered gems by such well-known authors as Bessie Head and Doris Lessing, this volume reveals a living cultural legacy that will revolutionize the understanding of African women's literary and cultural production.

Ranging from communal songs and folktales to letters, diaries, political petitions, court records, poems, essays, and fiction, these texts provide a vivid—and heretofore largely invisible—picture of African women's lives. Their work and families, their experience of the cruelty of colonialism and war, and their struggles for civil rights are described in voices from twenty original languages and six countries in the region: Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. Together the texts demonstrate women's critical role in cultural continuity and resistance to oppression.

Each text is accompanied by a scholarly headnote that provides detailed historical background. An introduction by the editors sets the broader historical stage and explores the many issues involved in collecting and combining orature and literature from diverse cultures in one volume. Unprecedented in its scope and achievement, this volume will be an essential resource for anyone interested in women's history, culture, and literature in Africa, and worldwide.

From Publishers Weekly: The first in a four-volume series, this collection features works by distinguished, as well as lesser-known, African women writers. The editors' selection of excerpts ranges from the 19th century to the 21st, documenting the varied backgrounds of African women's oral and written traditions. The comprehensive anthology comprises communal songs, folktales, letters, journals, poems, fiction, political speeches and more. Standouts include "Leaving the Farm" by novelist, short story writer and political essayist Olive Schriener, the anonymous "Song of the Afflicted," and Elizabeth Dube's reflection on how her family suffered five murders in the space of a few weeks during conflicts in Zimbabwe during the 1980s. An introductory note accompanies every text to explain its cultural and historical context. This is an important work, of interest to women's studies scholars and those fascinated by the countries these writers hail from: Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.
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Title: Women Writing Africa: Volume 1: The Southern...
Publisher: The Feminist Press at CUNY
Publication Date: 2003
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: New

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