“The image shows us an African(or Nigerian) present and future in one image, and thus serves as an excellent example of the value of the wish to speak to reality–along with the belief that there is no reality without representation, even though representation is always mediated,” says Susan Z. Andrade in her introduction of the book, The Nation Writ Small.  The femminist novels mentioned in the introduction all represent the image of the private female verses the public female.  What a female represents in her domestic life and the national image.  What she is and what she will become is addressed in the novels that Andrade mentions.  For example, in the novel, Nervous Conditions, by Tsitsi Dangaremmbga, the two female cousins represent who they are and who they will become– one middle class and the other poor.  Tambu comes from an impoverished background but she is determined to become educated.  Her cousin, Nyasha, is more educated and more aware of the political climate of the country they live in and suffers because of her patriarchal father who like the nation imposes certain limits on females–limits which challenges the sanity of his daughter.  The female African writers each expresses nationalism through characters who exist in the world of the family, the familar.  The female characters reveal what their nations have become through their ordinary lives.  Patriarchy and nationalism both represent symbols of oppression.  It is the way men treat their women and how well these females are able to cope or navigate through a man’s world that determines whether or not the nation is free of the shackles of colonialism.  Patriarchy existed before colonialism and after it’s gone.  But only the Europeans are gone–the psychological conditioning of oppression remains in the minds of the men and women who are natives in their country.  Since these female African characters live in a man’s world they have to be confident about what they want out of life and have a plan of action to make their dreams a reality.  The female African writers bring a very different perspective to life on the continent of Africa during post colonialism.  The human condition exposed from a feminist point of view is insightful and troubling.  This insight is troubling because it reveals the true image of the world we live in–one dominated by men most of whom are reluctant to see women as equals.  Even those men who treat women with the utmost respect can not imagine life through the eyes of a woman.


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