Africa is my home. You can see my heritage in the texture of my hair, the color of my skin and the way I move my body. I am a proud African. I see the beauty of my people but I also see how outside influence has encouraged us to forget our culture. I cannot speak for everyone, but I can speak to women like me with the hope that we can come together and find a way to bring ouur nation back to its feet.
Colonisation did many things to the African nation however, I do not belive we gain anything by dwelling on the past. That being said, colonisation and its effects should not be ignored altogether, but rather acknowledged for contextual purposes.
I came upon the term ‘Africana Womanism‘ some time ago and it resonated with me. Wikipedia states that it ‘is a term coined in the late 1980s by Clenora Hudson-Weems intended as an ideology applicable to all women of African descent. It is grounded in African culture and Afrocentrism and focuses on the experiences, struggles, needs, and desires of Africana women of the African diaspora’. My personal belief is that its principles, if applied by our people, can do so much for our continent. Women are the backbone of our society and in many cases, the heads of households. I address women specifically because I am one, but do not exclude men in any way.
To begin, I must state that feminism is not a term that I believe black people of African descent should subscribe to. The foundation on which it rests does not fall in line with our culture. It is, has always been and will always be largely to the benefit of a certain group of people, that are not African people. Unlike Africana womanism, feminists tend to see men as their enemy because historically their counterparts subjucated them to the position of property. African men have never had the power to oppress black women in the same way. Secondly, Africana Womanism adresses both racist and sexist ideology, something that feminism does not. The importance here cannot be stressed enough. It is perfectly fine to look at other nations and how they solve their problems. But to adapt to them without considering the scale of our own problems is pure idiocracy. There are many instances of this particular vice,, which I hope to discuss later on. But not today.
It is very important that as Africans, we remember who we are and where we come from. For those of us who have the opportunity to leave home, we must not allow ourselves to be deluded into fighting for others when our own problems still need to be addressed. There is a difference between acculturation and assimilation.
Africana Womanism addresses these issues and gives guidelines as to how we can overcome this fear of turning to our own culture, in situations that are indigenous to our people.
Here are 18 key components of African Womanism, which are then grouped into three characteristics:
- Role flexibility
- Struggling with Black men against oppression
- Black female sisterhood
- Male compatibility
- Respect for elders
My aim is to cover these characteristics, discuss their relevance in our current climate and communicate with readers (and writers:)) who have similar interests. There are many other issues and components that will be touched on and hopefully my blog can start a conversation.
To conclude, I suggest that you take a look at a YouTube video posted by Bowdoin College, titled ‘Clenora Hudson-Weems: “Africana Womanism”‘. It is very informative and she does a very good job of putting everything into context.