Extending the Imagination of African Gender Thought

Amir Curry
An African woman resists the police at anti-Museveni protests in UgandaAfrican women combat unique oppression. Cisheteropatriarchy, racial capitalism, colorism, and so forth. However, there are specific historical and cultural realities many African women exist within that are distinct to continental African women. Mary Modupe Kolawole, in her 2002 Agenda article addresses the necessity to broaden accessibility to gender theory and practices, “The number of national, tribal and ethnic groups is as important as race, colonial experience, post-colonialism, neo-colonialism, apartheid, military rule, culture, tradition, religion, modernity, and more recently globalisation. All these factors impact on African women’s reality in particular ways.” Feminism perhaps is not a monolith and can not be broadly applied to each struggle of all women, particularly African women, even considering the several parallels of experiences that African women, and more widely, women in the Black diaspora share. But the delineation must be made. African women’s perspective and ability to engage with gender hinges on their specific cultural and historical contexts, and that must be centered when examining the relationship between feminism and African people.

Feminism(s), Not Singular Feminism 

The experiences and realities of African women are not a monolith, and the solution to collapsing gender oppression and domination must not be placed into the mainstream iteration of feminism either, as it is often perceived negatively by African people. Instead, the nuance of the cultural and historical contexts must be thrust to the center, as many African women involved in studying or participating in gender theory emphasize, including Ogundipe-Leslie, Mama, Mugo, and others. It should be expanded to feminisms, not singular feminism, as the monolith of mainstream white feminism is deeply attached to racist, colonial, and outright misogynistic views on the condition of African women. White feminism assumes African women to be uncivilized helpless bush women squirming under the weight of the African patriarch with no autonomy of their own. It elevates the notion that feminism will have a civilizing impact and that feminism should be naturally integrated into African women’s experience. There is no denying patriarchy, and other forms of structural misogyny permeate across Africa in tandem with racial domination projects as well as other forms of cultural oppression. Then how do African women identify their struggles appropriately and engage with liberatory theory?

Self-Naming 

Kolawole provides insight from Ama Ata Aidoo in the mixed but often negative reception of mainstream or white feminism to African women. “Feminism. You know how we feel about that embarrassing western philosophy? The destroyer of homes. Imported mainly from America to destroy nice African homes.” Mainstream feminism, arguably for all women of African descent, submits to a myopic view of gender liberation and in no way enables African women to appropriately describe and name their oppression. It instead arrives with givens that are often in conflict with the accepted traditions and thoughts that African women hold about their own autonomy. African women strictly should have the authority to name and place into existence the reality of their oppression without an alien concept being delivered to them to solve their problems and validate their struggles on their behalf.

Two of the tenants of Clenora Hudson Weems’ practice of Africana Womanism articulates the necessity of African, and more broadly, Black women to draw power and create a framework that meets their struggle and centers their unique context. Names and naming represents personal power, often indicate membership to a larger collective, and allows for the legitimacy of a certain person or group. “Self namer and self definer, two of the eighteen characteristics of the Africana woman, are seminal descriptors that delineate the first step in establishing an authentic paradigm relative to the true level of struggle for women of African descent.” Nommo, the alternative name for self-defining or naming, not only articulates the significance of defining the specific circumstances that African women experience but is important because a naming process enables their specific reality to be recognized and placed into existence. Nommo or self-naming creates names for things that might otherwise be abstract and allows those participating to more sharply identify the specific circumstances of their struggle. If African women oppressed by the power structures of patriarchy, neocolonialism, capitalism, and so forth are able to have the authority on naming and actualizing their reality, thus begins the process to properly combating all circumstances which are against their liberation.

While there is certainly a rejection of western manifestations and enforcements of feminism on African women, there is a critical understanding of what the broader structure of feminism demands, as Abena Busia articulates in Kolawole’s article:

I am comfortable with feminism. If we concede the term feminism, we’ve lost a power struggle. As a strategy, we might be conceding grounds that we shouldn’t. Feminism is an ideological praxis that gives us a series of multiple strategies, and what those strategies have in common is that the woman is important.4

Abena Busia

This principle is certainly central to African women’s understanding of the primary goal of gender-based ideology. While there may be conflict for many African women with the incompatible idealization of western feminism, what remains is that feminism provides an avenue for not one form of feminism but rather feminisms that allow for women to ameliorate the conditions which maintain a state of domination over them. One which actualizes, in Busia’s own words, the woman is important. The simple exclamation of the woman is important while understanding feminism or womanism as a framework which pronounces that very statement has been critical for several African feminists. Conceptualizing feminism as a framework is connected to the process of self-naming.  Although Hudson-Weems herself would not agree feminism is relevant to Africana women’s lived experience, it enables African women to attach their particular oppression to a liberatory thought process and ideology. Furthermore, African women being able to label the framework for their liberatory work, places their needs into reality toattain liberation and eradicate the systems that perpetuate the brutal subjugation of women and women’s liberation movements.

African feminist Josephine Ahikere further clarifies the need of women holding the authority when naming their movements and modes of political engagement and thought. We recognise that the work of fighting for women’s rights is deeply political, and the process of naming is political too. Choosing to name ourselves feminists places us in a clear ideological position. By naming ourselves as feminists, we politicise the struggle for women’s rights, we question the legitimacy of the structures that keep women subjugated, and we develop tools for transformatory analysis and action. In this sense, Ahikhere furthers the general framework that Hudson Weems and Busina outline by not only emphasizing the power that comes from the process of self-naming but that it is indeed a political action. The term feminism must not collapse into a singularity, as that is often how it is operationalized in the west as a narrow and rigid ideology. African feminist theory pushes feminisms beyond a limited and isolated scope. Ahikhere asserting feminism is concerned with both women’s struggle and developing tools for transformation and action broadens the ideology so all women might find their place within the framework. Again it provides an avenue into several strategies for gender emancipation. African feminisms are situated in the multiplicity of experiences women across Africa exist within, which challenges and seeks to dismantle all forms of patriarchal domination and gender contradiction.

To successfully capture the necessity of why a specific framework for understanding gender struggle is needed for African women, the types of oppression African women combat must be outlined and interrogated. How do particular structures of domination remove African women from full autonomy, complete possession of themselves, and control of their self-determination? Why isn’t mainstream feminism easily accepted, and what makes it so out of touch with the political needs of African women? Meyre Ivone De Silva takes from prominent Nigerian writer and gender theorist Molara Ogundipe-Leslie, who enumerates six forms of oppression she believes represents African women’s struggle. “The mountains that African women are carrying on their back: “The first one is oppression from outside (colonialism and neo-colonialism); the second one is from traditional structures; the third one is her backwardness; the fourth is man; the fifth is her color, her race; and the sixth is herself.” Key to remember, while Ogundipe-Leslie certainly has been avowed as a respected figure on the advancement of women’s emancipation in Africa, she also recognizes there exists no single lived experience for women in Africa. But what her perspective embodies is the very specific circumstances which African women endure. Mainstream feminism derived from whiteness proposes a symbolic growl against men and patriarchy by advocating for women to leave their home and get their own jobs or adapt into generally male dominated arenas to gain their own sovereignty. But this ultimately is a futile attempt to dismantle patriarchy, if it is even proposing to do that. It simply is not compatible with the realities of African women and moreover does not identify or attempt to combat the structures which patriarchy works in tandem with: capitalism, colonialism, racism, whiteness, systemic sexism, and so forth. Western conceptualizations of women’s emancipation hang within the oppressive and crushing imagination of white supremacy, patriarchy, and overall global homogeneity. The several manifestations of women’s domination can not be defeated with an ideology which does not recognize the plurality of power structures and systems which warp the lives of African women.

Representational Politics 

White liberal feminism assumes imperatives which allow for representation without political substance to reign supreme, simply highlighting women leadership, without a deep analysis of the power structures said leaders will preside over. Women can now be the proponents of white supremacy, empire, colonialism, dictatorship of capital, and so forth. But liberal feminism blinds itself to these observations; it instead lionizes historically marginalized people who ascend to the pinnacle of government, corporate hierarchies, and otherwise transgressive power structures. Even if those figures perpetuate the continued subjugation and destruction of the people who they represent.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in 2006 became the first woman president of Liberia and the first woman to become president of any African nation-state. It was lauded as an accomplishment for Liberia and African women. But under the veneer of democracy, peace, and women’s political determination, Sirleaf’s presidency would represent a return to the Liberian status quo of the old guard. Alliances to Western imperialist nations and submission to global capital through sophisticated economic relief projects that left many already displaced indigenous Liberian communities, especially women, impoverished and moreover separated from their self-determination, were Liberia’s political reality under Sirleaf. Without substantial political or otherwise moral evaluations of historically marginalized people in positions of power, figures like Sirleaf will remain situated at the center of feminism.

With a revamped political image after two Liberian civil wars, multiple exiles, and stints of incarceration, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf adopted the moniker Ma Ellen when she became President. By the external world, she was hailed as the matriarch of African politics. Her political journey from a superficial orientation would position her as a hero, but on the contrary, the polishing of Sirleaf’s image does not completely absolve her political career, as she was devoted to advanced forms of colonialism and corporate power. Rehabilitation of political figure’s public presentation occurs constantly and must only be viewed as a sleight of hand meant to legitimize powerful reactionaries. No liberatory feminism concedes or assimilates to the state apparatus of power for societal transformation. Instead, forms of liberatory feminisms actively struggle against the state. Sirleaf has been dubbed a champion for women and Africa but would actively foundationalize a political career built on contradictions.

Sirleaf would emerge as a staunch supporter of western imperialist constructions. Most notably Sirleaf was an early and fervent supporter of AFRICOM. The African Press Agency reported in 2008, “President Sirleaf had expressed her government’s desire to host AFRICOM, and made several representations to US government officials on this issue.” Sirleaf’s would cozy up to the United States by affirming the legitimacy of imperialist creations like AFRICOM, which maintains the American boot of military intervention, surveillance, and political control firmly planted in Africa. It is axiomatic that a supporter of imperialist projects like AFRICOM would be an enthusiastic collaborator with capitalists. In attempts to repair Liberia’s collapsed economy Sirleaf turned to multinational corporations and scrupulously signed away land rights. Up to one third of Liberian land was granted to investors under Sirleaf. “Sirleaf made deals with international corporations to buy or lease rights to exploit Liberian land officially in the public domain, but which indigenous groups had long claimed as their own, despite having no formal  “Liberian President disappointed over U.S. decision on AFRICOM.”Yet, Sirleaf is still celebrated as a champion of democracy and women’s liberation across Africa. Undoubtedly figures like Sirleaf are neocolonial reactionaries. Sirleaf’s policy choices resulted in a more deeply divided Liberia and an alienated population of rural Liberian women, whom she supposedly represented. Sirleaf has not been a champion for African vitality, less the vitality of African women. Instead, she naturally capitulated to the global bourgeoisie carrying the torch of Liberia’s two hundred year legacy of neocolonial leadership. Mainstream feminism nonetheless upholds a sanitized image of Sirleaf, and its premium on mere representation which does not attach it to substantive evaluations of policy will not eradicate global patriarchy, and all other forms of domination which even allow women to thwart and destroy women’s liberation. African feminists and gender theorists continue to unravel the many complex barriers African women face, from neocolonial presidents to casual systemic sexism.

Molara Ogundipe-Leslie reveals that it was effortless to recognize the instances in which women were subjugated by patriarchy through institutional and cultural practices, as well as individualized moments of patriarchal domination. Ogundipe-Leslie expresses how African men were completely removed from the idea of women’s emancipation, as that might challenge the established order of men’s superior advantage. “Most men do not like women concerned with social transformations that shake the roots of their male dominance. As a colleague of mine said to me at Ibadan University: ‘No man wants a revolution in his kitchen.’” The simple interaction Ogundipe-Leslie remembers is an expression of patriarchal domination. But deeper than that, the colleague completely invalidates the notion that African women should be critically conscious of their social class struggles and be energized to create societal transformations. The “No man wants a revolution in his kitchen” blatantly articulates the respectability and desirability of a woman is decided within a patriarchal context and that a woman should be mainly concerned with maintaining the current order; women should silently submit to the patriarchy’s idealized role for women to fulfill. Ogundipe-Leslie’s colleague is suggesting that not only is gender discourse and liberatory movements for women undesirable, but they are something that should not be thought about less acted upon; it has no place in a woman’s mind. Even with a resounding defense of patriarchal norms by African men, as Molara Ogundipe-Leslie demonstrates with her story, there is an even deeper nuance to the condition of African women, which impacts how they are able to engage in gender theory and the liberatory work that pairs with it.

Ama Ata Aidoo defines herself as a feminist and believes it is of the utmost importance to recognize that feminism, the ideology, is not a blanket that you throw across the world and expect all women to coddle up to. In a 2014 interview, Aidoo explains how feminism should operate according to a woman’s environment. “Feminism is an ideology; it depends on how it is formulated or negotiated. It [feminism] depends on the details of the particular environment.” Aidoo articulates what many African feminists want and expect from feminism, the desire for the global view of all African women as inhuman oppressed beings who are desperate for outsiders to arrive and release them to be dismantled. The anti-black global view of African people, especially women, removes their agency and prevents any interaction with any feminisms because the popularized practice of feminism fails to recognize the variety of social and political environments African women exist within. While there is a large web of oppressions and detrimental socializations African women are impacted by, their experiences as women and human beings are not solely situated upon that. No form of feminism that has not been developed for African women should determine how they should feel, act, perceive others or themselves.

Mainstream Feminism is Late 

Molara Ogundipe-Leslie argues that there are varied dynamics which feminism must contain so that African women are not provided with the mainstream western feminism that centers whiteness, saying, “I discovered that the Yoruba woman had more private and public spaces and respected roles than pre-feminist American middle-class women. They needed Betty Friedan; we already had the right to work outside the home and secure our material needs.” Mainstream white feminism is out of touch from the experiences of African women. The feminism an African woman might ascribe to is not interchangeable with the iteration of feminism which might be appealing to white women in the United States or the west at large. As Ama Ata Aidoo emphasizes, it is the specific environment and circumstances which must be considered when grappling with a gender theory like feminism. It is irresponsible to compare Betty Friedan’s plight, a white woman in the United States, and Molara Ogundipe-Leslie, a Yoruba woman in Nigeria, by applying the same feminism to their lived experience. The socio-political circumstances and needs of white women and African women are worlds apart.

The incompatibilities of the goals of white liberal feminism and African feminisms are stark; for instance, in Akan culture, they consider children to inherit their soul and character from their father but inherit material possessions and property from their mothers. In the West, however, property historically has been and continues to be attributed to men. It is for the men to inherit, own, and administer property. The mainstream framework of feminism is incapable of meeting the needs or critically understanding the circumstances of African women to successfully combat the nexus that is heteropatriarchy, colonialism, imperialism, whiteness, and misogyny, all of which deeply destabilizes the lives of many African women. Feminisms which are entrenched in anti-patriarchy, anti-colonialism, anti-imperialism and so forth that have been constructed by and for African women must be applied. This also neutralizes perceptions or actions that would remove African women from their own agency. Dismantling the attitudes and power structures which remove agency is important; it is equally important to challenge the gender contradictions that exist within Africa and currently accepted gender theory and thought within the African consciousness.

The Idealization of Pre-Colonial Africa

One of the misconceptions that must be uprooted is the idealization of pre-colonial Africa. Equalizing an Africa before the advent of whiteness and colonial domination to utopia prohibits an authentic analysis of the contradictions which existed upon the continent, even with the understanding of colonialism, apartheid, and many other domination and exploitation projects that have advanced and exacerbated pre-existingpatriarchal and misogynistic practices and beliefs. While a myriad of feminisms and womanisms and other sorts of gender theory exists, it is necessary to escape the anti-liberatory paradigms that may be integrated within them, a certain popularized branch of womanism delivers liberation under a patriarchy as a viable form of empowerment for African women and women in the African diaspora. Clenora Hudson-Weems, in a recorded lecture quoting from Call and Response: The Riverside Anthology of the African American Literary Tradition Out of the Revolution: The Development of Africana Studies A Historical and Bibliographical Guide to the African American Experience describes an Africana Womanist as such, “Africana womanism [and by extension the Africana womanist] is a Black woman activist. Who is family-centered rather than female-centered, and who focuses on race and class empowerment before gender empowerment.” This analysis is limiting and even a barrier to fully realizing the gravity of the condition of African women, as they face a plurality of oppressions. A Black woman activist should not be combating the several intersections of oppression she faces? Hudson-Weems’ analysis ignores how several forms of domination interlink and operate together to form a larger matrix of oppression. A paradigm which defers the gender struggle and enables continued patriarchal oppression ultimately has no interest in removing it.

Hudson-Weems reinforces her race first gender last analysis once again in Africana Womanist Literary Theory. Hudson-Weems states, “Clearly, the Africana woman must insist upon continuing the powerful legacy of a collective liberation struggle for African people, as the inequality between the black man and woman is inauthentic relative to our true history”13. Hudson-Weems does not explain the true history. This is puzzling because the assumption Hudson-Weems’ work assumes is no major gender conflict or contradictions have existed within Africa historically when this objectively is a glaring inaccuracy. Women in several African societies are considered the natural subordinate to men, and many times are relegated to a subservient position, which has been repackaged as a positive representation of African women. They are mothers, wives, caretakers, or child bearers. There is no doubt all African people must be in concert to combat every facet of oppression, and that communalism is a fundamental imperative of African life, but this should not come at the sacrifice of placing oppressions into a hierarchy as if one is more vital than the next. Meyre Ivone De Silva references Molara Ogundipe-Leslie, who in a 1994 writing more deeply explains how the patriarchy with and without colonialism has functioned in Africa. “The colonialism systems negatively encouraged or brought to the fore the traditional ideologies of the patriarchy of male superiority which originally existed in African societies. Thus colonialism has brought out the basic sexist tendencies in precapitalist Africa. It has calcified existing ones and introduced others.”14 It is completely irresponsible to marginalize the clear conflict within African societies between men and women; they must be resolved. A claim which deprioritizes gender liberation and, in fact, separates it from all other forms of subjugation like racism and colonialism, which work in concert with gender oppression, makes the entire African community more susceptible to continued and more sophisticated systems of exploitation and external rule.

The womanism which Hudson-Weems champions, “a black woman activist who is family-centered,” also brings into question the notion of family. Families are clearly of very high cultural import for African women. But what has made it so? In what ways has that imperative allowed patriarchy to exist in feminist and womanist thought and practice? The positioning of women as a mother is a paradox that is steeped in patriarchal tradition, which is often extrapolated improperly and does not allow for the full nuance of the African woman as a mother to be depicted. Meyre Ivon De Silva states:

In most African societies, the woman that cannot have children, “the barren woman,” is seen as evil. Instead, the woman who has many children acquires a higher status and is considered blessed. In African societies, the mother is respected and mythologized; thewoman generally acquires a higher status if she has children, preferably sons.

Motherhood is a theme that is present in several of Aidoo’s stories; she deals with this imposition of the African societies on African women.

De Silva further contextualizes the mythologization of African women as mothers in the following statement: “In the Nigerian Igbo society, mothers and wives play contradictory roles, the man who worships his mother is the same one who despises his woman.” Dr. Hudson-Weems’ analysis simply does not meet the bar as it comes to removing Africana women’s liberation away from a patriarchal and androcentric frame. It is inconceivable every African woman aspires to be a mother or even feels motherhood as a natural imperative of their existence as a woman. However, for the women who do, it is key to disentangle the notion of motherhood as a life goal but instead recognize its root in certain patriarchal indigenous tradition while simultaneously demystifying African women as passive or magical mothers. African women should choose how they will contribute to their communities and be humanized, not mystified. The broad assumption of African women as mothers without any contextualization of the clear patriarchal paradigm it exists within displays a limited vision of emancipation for women and all African people. Emancipation can not occur while combating one vestige of oppression like white supremacy. Racial liberation under patriarchy is no freedom at all because systems that work together to combat racial domination are the same ones that include and work with systems of gender domination.

The strictly traditional view of feminism being removed from African women’s reality must be met with nuance. There are certain feminisms that certainly impose alien and even detrimental understandings of gender, but there are also other feminisms which shed a light on the existing cultural and historical context while seeking to extend the vision of women’s liberation in Africa and also the entire African people’s liberation. In the article The Context of Agency: Liberating African Consciousness From Postcolonial Discourse Theory, Dr. Virgilette Nzingha Gaffin in analyzing Gayatri Spivak’s work, reveals the contention of feminism with traditional African or afro-centric thought. “First, the Afro-centric paradigm affirms male-female relationships as inspirational and stimulating; any declaration of independence between males and females should be viewed as cultural suicide.” However, the uniquely African feminisms heralded by Ama Ata Aidoo, Molara Ogundipe-Leslie, Amina Mama, and Hakima Abbas do not seek to break apart male-female relations or even disrupt the community. The feminisms, as earlier noted by Ama Ata Aidoo simply upholds the value that is believing in the potential of women to reach the highest level of development. This does not assume women do not have a role in their communities; in fact, to ensure communalism is effectively practiced and executed, it must be ensured all member’s social and political needs are met. The survivalist strategy demanded by heirchalizing oppressions, race before gender, is of adverse impact to all African people. African women exist not simply as Black but as women too and whatever other intersection their identity may include, their struggle is one of pluralism, so it is counterproductive to recognize the racial fight as more important than that of other struggles. Gaffin’s interpretation of cultural suicide should be expanded upon; feminisms cultivated and theorized by African women are representations of cultural evolution on the contrary to cultural suicide. Tradition which is repugnant to feminisms will inevitably be outgrown as it realized there is vested communal effort in liberating Black women from patriarchal oppression and socialization. To finalize, as Molara Ogundipe Leslie poignantly points out in her 2002 interview, to begin the positive social transformations that all feminists and womanists truly desire, from Aidoo to Hudson-Weems, there must first be a specific understanding of African women’s circumstances and a recognition of the attitudes which prevent them from their self-determination. “This meant recognising the ways in which we, African women, were ahead through our cultures, and condemning the poisonous aspects of borrowed cultures, including the belittling parts of our own inherited cultures.” Ensuring the collective vitality and life force of Africa requires a vision and imagination to see the liberation of every member of that community, so we must include all that face a particular oppression: African women, children, queer and trans folks, non-binary folks, and so forth. An anti-colonial Africana scholar and person must keep in mind to achieve social transformation is to develop and evolve beyond tradition, which does not recognize or allow the tools for which every member of the community will need to reach social transformations which ultimately liberates the entire community.

Endnotes 

[1] Kolawole, Mary Modupe. “Transcending Incongruities: Rethinking Feminisms,”. Agenda: Empowering Women for Gender Equity. No.54, 2002, p.93.

[2] Ibid, 94.

[3] Hudson-Weems, Clenora. Africana Womanist Literary. p.18.

[4] Ibid,. p.94.

[5] Ahikhere, Josephine. “African feminism in,”. Feminist Africa. Volume XIV. p.7.

[6] da Silva, Meyre Ivone. “Femenists towards the Politics of Empowerment.” Revista de Trejas. Vol.XLIV p.28. [7] “Liberian President disappointed over U.S. decision on AFRICOM” African Press Agency. p.1. [8] Scully, Pamela. “This is why Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.” The Washington Post. 2018.

[9] Ogundipe-Leslie, Molara. Interview with Lewis, Desiree. “Desiree Lewis talk to Molara Ogundipe.” 2002. [10] Aidoo, Ata Ama. Interview with Badawi, Zeinab. “Ama Ata Aidoo on feminism.” BBC Hardtalk. 2014. [11] Ogundipe-Leslie, Molara. Interview with Lewis, Desiree. Desiree Lewis talk to Molara Ogundipe.2002. [12] Hudson-Weems, Clenora. Call and Response: The Riverside Anthology. 2005.

[13] Ibid,. p.56.

[14] da Silva, Meyre Ivone. “Femenists towards the Politics of Empowerment.” Revista de Trejas. Vol.XLIV p.134. [15] Ibid,. p.132.

[16] Ibid,. p.132.

[17] Gaffin, Virgilette Nzingha. “The Context of Agency: Liberating African.” Handbook of Black Studies. 2005. pp.282-289.

[18] Ogundipe-Leslie, Molara. Interview with Lewis, Desiree. “Desiree Lewis talk to Molara Ogundipe.” 2002.

Bibliography 

Abbas, Hakima & Mama, Amina. “Feminism and pan-Africanism.” Femenist Africa, vol. 14, September 2014, African Gender Institute, All Africa House, University of Capetown.

Ahikhere, Josephine. “African feminism in the 21st Century: A reflection on Uganda’s victories, battles and reversals.” Femenist Africa, vol. 14, September 2014, African Gender Institue, All Africa House, University of Capetwon.

Aidoo, Ata Ama. “Ama Ata Aidoo on feminism in Africa.” BBC HARDtalk. July 2014. 

da Silva, Meyre Ivone. “Femenists towards the Politics of Empowerment.” Revista de Trejas, vol. 44, Jul-Dec., 2004, no. 2, Literatura de Autoria Feminina, pp. 129-138.

Gaffin, Virgilette Nzingha. “The Context of Agency: Liberating African Cinsciousness From Postcolonial Discourse Theory.” Handbook of Black Studies. Edited By Molefi Kete Asante & Maulana Karenga, 2005, pp. 282-299.

Hill Liggins, Patricia. “Call and Response: The Riverside Anthology of the African American Literary Tradition.” Houghton Mifflin Company. April, 1997.

Hudson-Weems, Clenora. Africana Womanist Literary Theory. Africa World Press Inc., 2004.

Kolawole, Mary Modupe. “Transcending Incongruties: Rethinking Feminisms and the Dynamics of Identity in Africa.” Agenda: Empowering Women for Gender Equity. No. 54, 2002, pp.92-98.

“Liberian President disappointed over U.S. decision on AFRICOM”. African Press Agency. February, 2008. p.1.

Ogundipe-Leslie, Molara. Desiree Lewis talk to Molara Ogundipe, leading feminist theorist, poet, literary critic, educator and activist, about the interface of politics, culture, and education. 2002.

Scully, Pamela. “This is why Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was just awarded the $5 million Ibrahim prize.” The Washington Post. February, 2013.

Amir Curry, is a pan-africanist communist, currently enrolled at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania. Amir seeks to broaden his scholarly work particularly in studying and analyzing liberatory movements and figures in the Black diaspora.