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Buchi Emecheta on Feminism Mother of African Literature on feminism, motherhood and why Black women all over the world should unite

Buchi Emecheta is a role model and a woman of strength.

  • Published: , Refreshed:

A woman of extraordinary intellectual and creative potency, Buchi Emecheta is a role model and a woman of strength.

Considered by many to be one of the most important female African writers, she is greatly respected and admired for her creative and narrative writing about African women's experiences in Africa and in Great Britain.

Buchi Emecheta on Feminism play

Buchi Emecheta

 

Emecheta tells the story of Black women as equals. She gives women positive roles, encourages education and is not satisfied just with the roles of wife and mother:

"Women are capable of living for so many other reasons than men," she states in an interview with Julie Holmes  in The Voice July 9, 1996.

Due to gender bias of the time, the young Buchi was initially kept at home while her younger brother was sent to school but after persuading her parents to consider the benefits of education, Buchi spent her early school at an All-girls missionary school.

Buchi Emecheta on Feminism play

Buchi Emecheta on feminism, motherhood and why Black women all over the world should re-unite

 

Buchi received a full scholarship to the Methodist Girl’s school a year after her father died, where she remained until she was married to Sylvester Onwordi at sixteen years old.

After her marriage, she bore five children in six years but it was an unhappy oft-violent marriage. To keep her sanity, Emecheta wrote at her spare time, however, her husband was deeply suspicious of her writing and he ultimately burnt her first manuscript. At the of 22, while working as a Librarian at the British Museum, Dr. Emecheta left her husband and supported all five children while earning a Bsc degree in sociology at the University of London. Taking a sociology degree and working to support her family, she would rise at dawn to pursue her dream of becoming a writer.

Buchi Emecheta on Feminism play

Buchi Emecheta

 

By modern standards this is one of the signs of a great feminist but Emecheta does not like that term:

"I work toward the liberation of women, but I'm not feminist. I'm just a woman.In all my novels, I deal with the many problems and prejudices which exist for women today. I speak for the marginalized woman."

In a radiant wisdom on the discipline of not letting others define us, Emecheta adds:

"Black women all over the world should re-unite and re-examine the way history has portrayed us"

Buchi Emecheta on Feminism play

Buchi Emecheta

 

Her story is one which gives hope to us all. She turned her dreams into reality. In her own words, whatever you want to do with your life:

"Just keep trying and trying. If you have the determination and commitment you will succeed."

She challenges and triumphs over the social and political restrictions of race and gender which many Black people face. She writes to educate White and Black society about the realities of Black experience. She uncovers the lies which colonisation wove. "At last," she states,

"I have the courage to say I write for Blacks."

READ: Chinua Achebe on storytelling, translation of his works to Igbo, and his advice to young writers

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