Nation and nationalism have been associated with masculinity. Nations and states are often envisioned through heroic narratives. According to these narratives, nations are formed through the blood and toil of fore-fathers not fore-mothers. Women’s roles in nation-building are regarded as supportive, relegating them to the background as supporters of their male counterparts. Heroines receive little or no attention in the historiography of national struggles. Pedagogically, heroines are understudied in most African school systems. It is easier for one to encounter names of nationalists like Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana), Nelson Mandela (South Africa), Jomo Kenyatta (Kenya), Thomas Sankara (Burkina Faso) among other heroes who led the liberation struggle in their respective countries compared to heroines like Yaa Asantewaa (Ghana), Charwe Nyakasikana (Zimbabwe), Mrs. Theodosia Salome Okoh (Ghana) among other women who contributed immensely to the development of their nation. Women have contributed greatly to the formation of the African nation. They served as reproducers of the state not only through their biological role as child bearers, but also their roles as cultural transmitters and liberators. Women’s role in the nations of Africa must be examined if our understanding of nationalism is to be complete. There is the need for the history of nationalism in Africa to be examined through a feminist lens rather than the traditional masculine conception. This essay addresses this lacuna in the history of nationalism in Africa by examining the roles of Yaa Asantewaa of Ghana and Charwe Nyakasikana of Zimbabwe in the national struggles in their respective countries in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Women Nationalists in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Ghana and Zimbabwe: Case Studies of Charwe Nehanda Nyakasikana and Yaa Asentewaa.
Journal of International Women's Studies, 19(2), 159-171.
Available at: http://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol19/iss2/10