South African women writings: Tracing the journey of their presence, development, expansion and self-expression as a form of self-empowerment over time
This essay attempts to articulate South African women’s efforts to assert their voices and presence in an oppressive and discriminatory society through literary forms. Throughout colonial times to the present, white women and black women lived in a patriarchal society which systematically disempowered them politically, economically, and socially. In this male dominated society, women like Olive Schreiner in colonial times, Miriam Tlali in apartheid times and Sindiwe Magona in post-apartheid times, used literary art to assert themselves. This in itself was a feminist struggle to change societal perceptions and stereotypes. Literature was thus used as a tool for education, development and self-empowerment. Of particular interest here is the literary projects of a white woman, Olive Schreiner and how, through her novel, The Story of an African Farm, she emerges from being ‘otherized’ in a male dominated society.
Keywords:Oppressive and Discriminatory Society, Literary, Patriarchal Society, Post-Apartheid, Stereotypes.