African Women Writing Resistance:.

Position:Book review

Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez (editor), Pauline Dongala (editor), Omotayo Jolaosho (editor), Anne Serafin (editor); AFRICAN WOMEN WRITING RESISTANCE:; The University of Wisconsin Press () $26.95 ISBN: 9780299236649

African Women Writing Resistance: An Anthology of Contemporary Voices collects writings of thirty-six women from thirteen African countries, providing a metaphorical megaphone to those women and a clear, unflinching look at what itas like to be female and oppressed in their respective countries. The picture thus drawn is anything but pretty, but contains the seedlings of hope and change.

The writers arenat hapless victims begging for hand-outs. On the contrary, theyare strong, determined, and fierce defenders of their right to choose their own paths in life. One of the most memorable stories of feminine resistance is in aWomenas Responses to State Violence in the Niger Deltaa by Nigerian-born freelance writer and social justice activist Sokari Ekine. She relates events in Nigeriaas Ogoniland during the 1990s, as documented between 2000 and 2003 through fieldwork by the Niger Delta Women for Justice and the Ijaw Council for Human Rights.

Multinational oil companies were essentially handed the Niger Deltaas petroleum resources in exchange for arms and money for Nigerian military and police forces. The resulting environmental disaster caused by unchecked gas and oil extraction led to several groups forming to oppose it and the Nigerian governmentas inaction. The Federation of Ogoni Womenas Organizations (FOWA) comprised a cross-tribal membership, and began protesting via the Federationas member groups. Their actions were met with repeated, numerous daily beatings and sexual assaults perpetrated by the military.

Thousands strong, FOWA women then occupied eight oil company facilities in the Delta. They threatened their opponents with a rarely-employed but highly effective cultural calling-out called the Curse of Nakedness. In Delta cultures, public nakedness by womenaespecially married and elderly womenais considered a shaming of the men at whom itas directed. Many men in the region believe that madness or other serious misfortunes will befall them if they see it. The FOWA womenas willingness to use it was proof of their determination and outrage. One only has to imagine the scene to realize the powerful effect it would have on those witnessing it.

Editor Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez also edited the [I]Women Writing Resistance: Essays...

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