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Perfect gift for Mother's Day

By unknown | Apr 22, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

If you've been agonising over what to buy the woman in your life for Mother's Day, look no further than this literary gem.

If you've been agonising over what to buy the woman in your life for Mother's Day, look no further than this literary gem.

It serves to confirm the feminist view that women are capable of serious pursuits other than just cooking up a storm in the kitchen and being barefoot and pregnant!

The book is into its third volume, which gives you enough ideas to appear thoughtful and intelligent on Mother's Day for three years in a row.

The current volume, according to the publishers, boasts entries of uncommon historical interest, including two rare texts by former slave women: a 1711 letter written by a woman who ruled a large Muslim domain and a memoir by a Mau Mau general.

This is thought-provoking writing from women in East Africa - Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. They write about every aspect of their lives in the form of poems, journalism and, often, just straightforward letters from the heart.

Please read these and fall in love, or, just be wowed by the courage with which women have carried the continent on their collective shoulders with such resolve for so many years.

The 2004 Nobel Peace laureate, Wangari Maathai, also features, but her contribution pales into insignificance next to the offerings of ordinary women, some with little or no education.

In 1895, when those who raped the Mother Continent want the world to believe Africa was dark and unenlightened, comes a memoir from a modest woman, Bwanika, about how she was enslaved, not once but 10 times!

She's Zambian. Read her work and shed a tear of joy.

From the records of a February 1922 civil court case comes the story of Luiza, a woman in the then Northern Rhodesia, who laments the state of her marriage and writes to seek a divorce from her slouch of a man.

And you want to tell me women have always been subservient to men, when this was penned aeons before Beijing?

In 1932 a Ugandan prostitute says she's irked by the word used to refer to ladies of the night.

She writes a letter to a newspaper editor arguing that since women have a name and do not engage in the salacious game of the flesh by themselves, the men who pay for their services also need to be called a name.

"The word prostitute is too much in use for women alone," she writes.

Long before the advent of pseudonyms, the letter is signed off properly: Lusi K Kyebakutika, Makerere Kyadondo, June 17 1932.

You go, sista!

There's also a Kenyan letter opposing female circumcision, dated 1931.

This, you will obviously note, came long before model Waries Dirie could tug at the world's heartstrings with her own tale of female genital mutilation, which scarred her for life.


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