Gender Inequality in Southern Africa
This semester we have studied Namibia and Botswana through different analytical lenses such as colonialism, gender, race, ethnicity, and religion. All of the information we studied was used to thoroughly understand the history of this country and all the events that happened that led to each country’s independence. Out of all the information we learned, gender is what interested me the most. For my final essay, I want to pursue the topic of gender, specifically gender inequality, throughout Namibia and Botswana. In books we read, including Histories of Namibia by Colin Levs and Susan Brown, The Other Side of Silence by Andre Brink, Maru by Bessie Head, and Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman by Majorie Shostak, I noticed that women were always degraded in society. In my final paper, I will have analyzed these readings and further support my topic with outside sources.
For my introduction, I will explain the importance of knowing the difference between gender and sex, because people tend to think these words are the same when in fact their meaning is different and specific. I will also explain the geographic location of Southern Africa and give the audience a brief overview of the country. In the last sentence of my introduction I will let the audience know the thesis of my paper so that they focus and prepare themselves about what they are going to hear.
In the body of my essay, I will explain how the books that I mentioned above portray gender inequality. Each book will have it’s own separate paragraph so that the paper is organized and easy for the reader to comprehend. Supplementing the readings, I have my own outside sources that I looked up in the PCL Academic Search Complete database that I am going to use to compare to the readings.
In my conclusion, I will do my best to raise some questions to leave the reader thinking about gender inequality in Southern Africa. I will also compare gender inequality to the United States and how things have changed over time to show the reader that Africa isn’t the only place that this issue takes place.
1) Leys, Colin, and Brown, Susan. 2005. Histories of Namibia: Living through the Liberation and Struggle. London: The Merlin Press. This collection of oral histories reveals the struggles of 10 Namibians in surviving 23 years of war and moving forward with their lives in the aftermath. This book reveals that most of the Namibians had endured hardship and hunger and witnessed terrible cruelty and suffering, yet their outlooks were triumphant and optimistic, and their stories are full of enthusiasm, energy, determination, and purpose. In my essay, I will use the story of Lindi Kazombaue. She speaks about Women’s Liberation and National Liberation and gives great insight about how women were treated, especially when they tried to make their own woman organization. To say the least, men were not happy about this. I am using this book as a primary source because it is a real life history that was recorded from a person who actually lived in Namibia and took part of the Women’s Organization.
2) Shostak, Majorie. 1981. Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. Marjorie Shostak was an anthropologist studying the women of the !Kung hunter-gatherers on the edge of the Kalahari in the 1960's and 1970's.This book is the result of her interviews with one of those women, Nisa. It is Nisa's life story as told to Marjorie in conversations that took place over a period of many years, left off, to be taken up again during Marjorie's next visit. What I liked best about this book is that the translation seemed to me to capture Nisa's voice and the rhythms of African oral storytelling tradition.It was also an interesting study, and sad to see how the way of life of the !Kung, and all of the San people have changed so dramatically. This book will be used in my essay...
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