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Emerging Perspectives on ‘African Development’

Speaking Differently


Edited By George J. Sefa Dei and Paul Banahene Adjei

Emerging Perspectives on ‘African Development’: Speaking Differently discusses numerous areas of interest and issues about Africa, including contemporary challenges and possibilities of development. The book critically engages the many ways of presenting ‘development,’ highlighting the interplay of tradition and modernity as well as contestations over knowledge production in ‘post-colonial’ Africa. It offers cautionary words to field practitioners, researchers, and social theorists who work in development using language that is easily accessible to laypersons. This book is also for undergraduate and graduate courses on development, global education, rural development, and Africa studies. For readers looking for something new about Africa beyond the old stories of catastrophes and human misery, this book will be indispensable. It demonstrates that even in the face of many failures, tragedies, and suffering, Africa’s stories can be told with hope and a sense of possibility.
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Chapter 6. Centering African Indigenous Women within the Context of Social-Economic and Political Development



The continual and historical misconception by the West of the role of women in African development must be re-examined when one talks about gender relations and development in the African context. In the pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial African society, women played a fundamental role in socio-economic and political development alongside their male counterparts. This chapter argues that women have been and still are the pillars of societal development in Africa. Their contributions spawn numerous facets of social, economic, and political spectra, which is in opposition to the way Western education has perceived the role of African women in the development of Africa. I argue that without recognizing the contributions of African women, any attempt to initiate African development is bound to fail. The chapter utilizes secondary literature and personal experience to highlight the different contributions of African women in the social, economic, and political development of Africa. The chapter uses the story of Queen mother Nana Yaa Asantewaa’s resistance against the British in colonial Ghana more than one hundred years ago to demonstrate the role of women in African development. The chapter is divided into three parts. The first part provides an introduction to the study. The second part provides the traditional epistemologies which are rooted in anticolonial theoretical framework that challenges ways in which ← 117 | 118 → Western education continues to construct gender roles in Africa. The third part examines the contributions of women in African development.

I write this chapter from a political...

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