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The Predicament of Women in a Postmodern World

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A Reading of Njabulo Ndebele’s The Cry of Winnie Mandela

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Feminism has no unanimous acceptance in Africa, so women who are associated with it are regarded as deviants or radicals who have chosen to kick against the norms and traditions of traditional Africa. This study explores the plight of suppression and exploitation experienced by women and also revealed the dangerous and difficult situations that often reduce women to mental wrecks. Njabulo Ndebele’s The Cry of Winnie Mandela is the focus of this essay, as the novel accounts for the entrapment and subjugation of women caused by traditional laws and customs, as well as their determined effort to survive in a patriarchal culture. Njabulo examined the lives of five South African women in post-apartheid South Africa, who had to wait indefinitely for their absent husbands. This essay attempts to create awareness of the need for societal reforms in order to improve the lot of women in patriarchal societies and encourage cooperation between women in order to stand up to the challenges of life and assert their individual worth and value, as espoused in the novel. This study concludes that the subjugation of women by patriarchal societies is to the detriment of the family and society at large. Thus, there is a need to re-evaluate and redefine gender roles in African societies in order to establish mutual understanding and relationships between the genders.

Affiliations: 1: Kogi State University, Anyigba, Nigeria ; 2: Kogi State University, Anyigba, Nigeria


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