Yearning for an All-embracing African Feminism

When I began to call myself a feminist in high school, the general response I got from many of my friends was amusement. Who were feminists? Male­bashers? ‘Independent’ women? Why was it so necessary anyway? We were children of the middle class and our parents educated both girls and boys. Our playing fields were equal, and women had the ability to be whatever they wanted to be.

Of course my male friends were not sexist, they were better men than some of the ones in the real world outside our boarding school gates ­ the ones who did not think women should, or could, lead institutions. But if they shared some of these views, ‘that was how things were’. It wasn’t their fault, it was things that were the problem, or better yet, there was no problem. Maybe women cooked, men washed cars. Our roles were separate but equal, and sometimes women agreed with that too.

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