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Sophia: An African Journal of Philosophy

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Efik women in political activism: echoes from the Calabar Market Women Revolt of 1925

Inyang Etim Bassey

Abstract


In the study of movements to oppose British rule in Nigerian history, the 1925 Calabar Market women's Protest Movement stands out as epochal. It formed the seed bed of women's rebellion in Nigeria. The significance of this protest lies on how a group of "Ordinary" market women expressed their collective consciousness to oppose political chicanery and nihilism. This revolt was sparked-off by governments unilateral attempts to encroach upon women‟s traditional territory, the local market place and impose certain economic measures, which adversely affected the market women. From all available documents the women had exhausted all constitutional measures in addressing their grievances. The revolutionary women of Efik extraction were illiterate having not acquired Western education. Despite this limitation, they knew their rights and would not be pushed around. The revolt achieved some of its objectives which included the modification of market policies as well as improved market conditions. Also there was to be increased participation of the traditional rulers and also participation of the menfolk and unfortunately not the women in the colonial administration. At least the cry of the women which was "NO taxation without representation" was achieved. The central thrust of this paper is to examine and analyse the reaction of the Calabar Market Women's Protest movement of 1925 as a trail blazer of women participation in the political process in Nigeria.

Keywords: Efik Women, Political Activism, Calabar Market, Revolt




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