Women Writing Africa, Volume I
Named an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice
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.
"[A] splendid resource. . . . The first in a projected series of four regional African collections, this is a must for women's studies and African history and literature collections."
“Essential. All readers; all levels."