Arms Akimbo: Africana Women in Contemporary Literature

By Janice Lee Liddell; Yakini Belinda Kemp | Go to book overview

6
"Devouring Gods" and "Sacrificial Animals"
The Male-Female Relationship in Ama Ata Aidoo's Changes: A Love Story

WEI-HSIUNG (KITTY) WU

When asked whether focusing on the oppression of African women would "damage or undermine the ultimate struggle for a complete social, economic and political liberation of Africa," Ghana's leading woman writer, Ama Ata Aidoo, stated, "On the contrary, I feel the revolutionizing of our continent hinges on the woman question. It might be the catalyst for development" (James 26). It is this conviction, perhaps, that has propelled Aidoo to speak out, in the bulk of her work, against sexual inequality in African societies. Indeed, her work, from No Sweetness Here ( 1969) to Anowa ( 1970) to Our Sister Killjoy ( 1977), affords an insight into African women's struggle against this inequality in a patriarchal society and invites us to compare African women's experience with that of women the world over.

What informs Aidoo's writing, however, is not feminism as it is defined by Katherine Frank in her article "Women Without Men: The Feminist Novel in Africa", in which Frank observes that "feminism is . . . an individualistic ideology in contrast to the communal nature of African society" (17). For the feminist impulse in much of Aidoo's work has always been balanced with her examination of other forms of social injustice that have plagued her continent, such as the African "brain drain," the abuse of Black authority, and the victimization of the disenfranchised. Viewed in this light, much of Aidoo's work is what Chimalum Nwankwo has aptly described as "feminist literature with a difference" (155). And this difference is at the core of African feminism, which Filo

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