Three Generations of Sorrow for Black South African Women

By Elizabeth Levitan Spaid. Elizabeth Levitan Spaid is on the Monitor . | The Christian Science Monitor, April 25, 1994 | Go to article overview

Three Generations of Sorrow for Black South African Women


Elizabeth Levitan Spaid. Elizabeth Levitan Spaid is on the Monitor ., The Christian Science Monitor


WHEN Mark Mathabane was reunited with his grandmother, mother, and sister nine years after he left South Africa for the United States, he learned shocking and inspirational stories about their lives, which had remained hidden to him while he was growing up.

These stories, he realized, were not only about the women in his family. They also mirrored the lives of millions of black South African women who have suffered untold oppression under traditional attitudes toward women, intensified by apartheid.

In "African Women: Three Generations," Mathabane, the author of several books including "Kaffir Boy," a novel about his coming of age under apartheid, and "Love in Black and White," the story he wrote with his wife about their interracial marriage, tells the saga of Granny, his grandmother; Geli, his mother; and Florah, his sister.

Related in the womens' own words, the stories include accounts of being sold at a young age to older men for marriage, being physically abused by husbands and boyfriends, living in one-room shacks in slums, and toiling to preserve their dignity in a culture where the subjugation and degradation of women is deeply rooted. It is the kind of book that is difficult to put down, because the women bring the reader into their world quickly, candidly, and vividly.

Granny's story begins when she is sold to a man for lobola (bride price). After having several children with her, he leaves for work in the city, takes another wife, and stops sending money. With no means to support herself and her children, she travels to Alexandra, a township of Johannesburg, to try to eke out a living.

When her daughter Geli turns 17, Granny refuses to let her marry the man she loves. She picks an older man with the hope that he will be faithful, because he has already "sown his wild oats."

"I don't want you to end up like me," Granny tells her. "I married your father when he was too young. He grew tired of me and left me for another woman. And look what a miserable life I've led ever since."

Geli's arranged marriage to Jackson proves to be a union of hardship. He spends most of his meager wages on gambling and drinking, leaving the family with little money for food. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Three Generations of Sorrow for Black South African Women
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.