Feminist voice in african women novels: evidence from Flora Nwapa’s one is enough, Calitxhe Beyala’s the sun hath looked upon me and tsitsi dangaregmba’s nervous conditions

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Kapuka, Kasonde Angela
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University of Zambia
The study investigated the feminist voice in African female fiction. It was a feminist appraisal of Nwapa’s One is Enough, Dangaregmba’s Nervous Conditions and Beyala’s The SunHath Looked Upon Me. It cross-examines how the authors project the feminist voice(s) in their writing. The research sought to establish whether women can speak for themselves and break free from the grip of patriarchy. The study employed the qualitative method of data collection and several secondary sources that deal specifically with the subject of gender relations and female self-determination were used. Reference was also made to the works of African female writers like Buchi Emecheta, MariamaBâ and Chimamanda NgoziAdichie. An analysis of the selected characters from the text was made based on the feminist theory purported by scholars such as Adrienne Rich, Simone de Beauvoir and Kate Millett, to cite just a few. It is this theory that was used to investigate and come up with themes on the feminist voice. The study was guided by three objectives: (i) To examine how tradition and culture contribute to the oppression of women in the selected texts, (ii) To exemplify that women are ready to break patriarchy ideals in order to liberate themselves and lastly (iii) To analyze the feminist voice in African female fiction. The study is organized in four chapters in line with the set objectives and the stipulated research questions. Chapter One gives a full background of the study highlighting the problem, theoretical foundations and overall concepts of the thesis. Chapter Two reviews the related literature and focuses on the absence of women writers and how they emerged on the literary scenes changing the face of the female. Chapter Three analyses female oppression and reveals how African tradition and culture has contributed to this by prescribing specific gender roles for them. The chapter further explores the female condition in Nervous Conditions, sexual violence in The Sun Hath Looked Upon Me and also discusses how marriage and procreation are used as vessels of subjugation in One is Enough. The Fourth Chapter explores how the African female writers, through their characters, show that women are able to defy all the odds against them in patriarchal societies. The female writers have given their characters a voice to challenge patriarchal ideologies in this Chapter. This Chapter also exemplifies that women too can make the right choices about their lives, family and children. Chapter five is basically the conclusion to this work. Keywords: Feminist, Feminism, Patriarchy, Gender, Female Voice, Oppression.
Feminism. , Feminism in literature.