African Woman; A Dying Breed?


I turned the topic into a question because to me, the concept of the African woman being a dying breed for me is in question. This is due to the fact that I think it’s still very much in existence. I guess it boils down to the idea of Africanism. What does it mean to be an African Woman? From my end, I think what is generally embedded in our minds is the fact that Africa is primitive, local and uncivilized. Then when the concept of civilization and globalization comes into play, it seems we are losing ourselves to American/European culture.
Let me run this by you, my ever ardent reader: What are the characteristics that make African women
African women? Here is the idea my mind creates, “A woman locally bred to live for and only for the wishes of first, her parents, then subsequently, her husband and children; totally lacking a personality or mind of her own; forever doomed to be in either the kitchen or the farm; lacking a listening ear to her opinions, interests and passions; being purely a background figure, never in the limelight or at the helm of affairs.” If you are looking for these kind of women, there are still so many of them. Reach out to your rural hometowns and villages. The concept of outlooks of life, style and fashion, choices made in variety of regards are just topics that fit into the scratching-the-surface category. And if you ask me, if anything bad is being done by our women today, there is really nothing new under the sun. Regardless of tribes, continent, climate or taste of water, people everywhere make wrong choices every day. So, blaming scanty dressing and being oversexed on civilization is pure ignorance.

Don’t get me wrong; I want my wife to be able to cook and take care of our family. I want her to respect and love me as her husband and give all her love to the kids. But I also want my wife to have a mind of her own. I want her to work for her own money and not be totally dependent on me. I want her to contribute to society as a right-standing citizen and be her own woman. I want her to be able to run fairly for positions of authority, or be a boss in her own company. I want my love to have her own dreams and aspirations, to be able to help her pursue and realize them. I can have the best of both worlds, can’t I?

And these are the women I see today. There aren’t too many of them but they are out there. You need to be in the right crowd to see them. I think there should be a new definition of African women. Women who beyond all odds of society stand strong and act superhumanly, juggling the pressure of taking care of the homes as well as keeping their jobs. This is my idea of the true African Woman, the New True African Woman.

About author

Kemi Wale-Olaitan

Kemi is a retired broadcaster from the service of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria; while in service, she had her interest in women issues and had interviews with several notable women in the course of her duty as a producer in the service of the Federal government. Her interest in broadcasting was informed by her creative writing prowess; she has been very active in creative writing since her undergraduate days, and she has written a few fictional works in form of short stories and novel. Some of her short stories have appeared in anthologies of Short stories. Kemi was also very active in the establishment of the Women Writers Association of Nigeria (WRITA) and she served on its first Executive Council.

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