African Women's Lives: Historical Narratives and Literary Depictions in Post-Colonial Fiction

Akahara, Ndidi
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This thesis analyzes the impact that literary works by female African authors have had on the lived experiences of African people. Most of their works depict life in the early post-colonial and colonial periods in Sub-Saharan Africa. I argue that through their depictions of women's lives, they address themes concerning the individual's relation to the collective. By placing the novels within their historical context, I show that issues of gender equality, class, culture and politics are at the forefront of these works. Their approach to women’s rhetoric uplifts, projects and dignifies the voices and lives of ordinary African women. We as readers, historians, literary critics and scholars have much to learn from the deeply complex works of these women. As authors, they invoke the sympathetic imagination within us, as women, they are symbols of history, dignity and the ultimate triumph of the human spirit. This thesis is therefore not just a testament to their characters, but also to their persons.