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Women’s WORLD has been networking in Africa since 1996. In 1999, we established partnership projects with Femrite in Uganda, Mbaasem in Ghana, and WEAVE in South Africa. We are posting some writing by members of Femrite and WEAVE, both groups of Black women writers who have formed publication ventures. We are also posting a few recent essays by African feminists Gertrude Fester and Patricia McFadden,and an interview with Amina Mama, as a first attempt to make their important work more widely available to the global women’s movement.

South Africa
Women writing for their rights

Gertrude Fester

Talking about feminism in Africa
Amina Mama

ink@boiling point
forward

Alien in Amsterdam
Malika Conning Ndlovu

Joeseph & Trinesha
Maganthrie Pillay

I.C.U.
Shelley Barry


Return to Groenfontein
Beverley Jansen

Two Sides of the Story
Gertrude Fester

The Newcomers
Joan Baker

Recognition
Mavis Smallberg

Zimbabwe
Homeless in Harare Another Day

Patricia McFadden

Political Power: The Challenges of Sexuality, Patriarchy and Globalization in Africa
Patricia McFadden

Radically Speaking: The Significance of the Women's Movement for Southern Africa
Patricia McFadden

Issues of Gender and Development from an African Feminist Perspective
Patricia McFadden

Uganda
Words From A Granary
Introduction
Violet Barungi

I Watch You My Sister
Goretti Kyomuhendo

Vengeance of the Gods
Beatrice Lamwaka

The Leopardess
Rose Rwakasisi

End of a Journey
Waltraud Ndagitjimana


Women's WORLD has been networking in Africa since 1996. In 1999, a delegation to the Zimbabwe International Book Fair held two brainstorming dinners with a diverse group of African women writers, who identified the following as obstacles to their creative expression:

  • General social problems, particularly structural adjustment, AIDS, and war, which close up the space available to women writers
  • Informal censorship of women activists, found in traditional social attitudes towards women, often reinforced by governments, the media, and the growth of various fundamentalisms, with illiteracy acting as another kind of silencing
  • Specific barriers experienced by women writers, who suffer from lack of resources, training, and access to publishing opportunities, as well as discrimination by male publishers and critics
  • Co-optation of the women's movement by governments and the establishment, so that the women's movement itself encourages censorship and betrays progressive women

Participants felt that their concerns as writers could not be isolated from other social problems, and that an African women writers' network must deal with all these issues. In the course of discussing programmatic ideas, they identified four main needs:

  • A different kind of women's movement, that includes poor, young, and rural women, and promotes a vision of development that supports cultural change
  • More women cultural activists, including publishers, who can develop new markets for women's writing, and feminist critics, who can support new writers
  • A network of African women writers' groups, with groups that already exist helping the new ones
  • An emergency action network through which African women writers can defend one another within the continent, to avoid situations in which human rights concerns are labeled "Western."