The iconic Yoruba female personage of Ẹfúnṣetán Aníwúrà has, in several studies, been vilified; and at a first glance, it would seem that Akinwunmi Isola’s eponymous protagonist and heroine of that play reinforces the image of a villainous, wicked and self-centred woman. Contextualized within the Yoruba socio-political and economic national narratives of the late18th and early 19th centuries, this image appears both problematic and complexly contradictory. It is therefore useful to appropriately recuperate and verify the status of Ẹfúnṣetán Aníwúrà within the backdrop of Yoruba cultural context. This is illustrated through a feminist re-reading of Ẹfúnṣetán’s actions and character against the grain of the Yoruba masculinist cultural backcloth and the uneven devolution of powers of her time. In this essay, we make the argument that Isola’s heroine astutely resists and rejects the cultural prescriptivism and master narratives of the powerful masculinist oligarchy of that period. We therefore suggest that in spite of Isola’s seeming pejorative representation of Ẹfúnṣetán, the chieftain adumbrates possibilities for more equitable gender relations in her time.
Ladele, Omolola A. and Oyinlola, Abimbola O.
Who Is Afraid Of Ẹfúnṣetán Aníwúrà? Performing Power in Yoruba Masculinist Oligarchy.
Journal of International Women's Studies, 21(1), 79-88.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol21/iss1/7