Looking back moving forward: An appraisal of a black African feminist
AbstractThe article presents a critical evaluation of a selected poem originally published in a vernacular newspaper in 1902, from a feminist point of view. The poem is assumed to have been written by a woman, struggling to rise above the gendered construction of the society of her time. While questioning the historical stereotypes relating to the social configuration of gender in South African Xhosa culture on the one hand, she articulates an alternate worldview as experienced and aspired to by women, on the other. The poem specifically focuses on the institution of marriage, exposing as myth the belief that the destiny of women is, against all odds, in marriage. It will be argued that one hundred years later, in the 21st century, and despite South Africa’s progressive developments and a model democratic constitution, the gendered construction of our society continues to hamper women’s development and feed on modern stereotypes. Taking a cue from the poet, the objective is to contribute to a paradigm shift from women, as victims, to women, as empowered citizens, unequivocally articulating their worldview.
S.Afr.J.Afr.Lang., 30(2) 2010