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Tangible Voice-Throwing: Empowering Corporeal Discourses in African Women’s Writing of Southern Africa

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Bettina Weiss

This study is the first book-length analysis of African women’s writing of Southern Africa with a focus on writing the body. The thesis is that women are not voiceless, but hold a powerful, liberating potential: they «throw their voices» by implementing a strategic corporeal. Notably, this mode is not carried out in a way of emphasising corporeal difference by lack, but by attributing positive markers to the body. It reaches beyond a speaking which only represents women’s thoughts and emotions physically – a mode which might render the impression that they are incapable of expressing their conceptions and sentiments linguistically. It is an empowerment that reflects their skill to break up the bonds between language and body. This study is wide-ranging in its choice of authors and themes.

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PART I

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First Steps in Examining Problems, Findings and Prospects 1 Women Have a Mouth': Re-theorising Voicelessness The Myth of Voicelessness Tales of hunting will always glorify the hunter until the lion learns how to write. Norah M. Mumba, 2000. "Women have no mouth" goes a Beti proverb of Cameroon and the attitude of African warnen being voiceless is a statement which, I insist, is as such not accurate. In the course of my study, I will verify the hypothesis that African warnen have indeed a voice. South African-born Sindiwe Magona paints a very drastic picture of contemporary women's voicelessness. It is true that African women's writing is much too underrepresented, but Magona's argument is much too eccentric when she makes women's voicelessness responsible for the destruction of African nations: My sisters, let us wait no more for others' permission to be heard, to have our say. Others' concerns are not women's concerns. A woman is unique for having a womb. This does not mean she is the womb and only the womb. That is but part of who she is. Together, all her parts make her uniquely equipped to nurture. She is not a predator. She values life for she is the source of life. But as long as she has no voice in the scheure of things, so long will nations self-destruct. If you need 15 Women Have a Mouth's Re-theori sing Voicelessness proof, look! Just look at the state of the world! Look at Africa, bleeding, bedraggled and begging...

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