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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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Conclusion 227

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Conclusion I'll break open the story and tell you what is there. Then, like the others that have fallen out onto the sand, I will finish with it, and die wind will take it away. Nisa, 1981 As my study has shown, the notion of women being voiceless, and the preferred Beti proverb: "Women have no mouth' 249 which is closely connected to voicelessness, has been revealed to be a myth. It is more apt that deafness surrounds women due to circumstances such as restricted education, profit margins in the book-selling industry, and limited references to existing African women's writing. Traditional views about girls not necessarily having to go to school still exist to this day in rural areas and the fact that unemployment and poverty are soaring leaves young girls and women a limited scope of options as they have to participate in informal employment. Profit margins define what kind of literature makes good money and what kind does not, which especially hampers literatures written, or which could be written, in indigenous languages. In addition, African women's writing is being given "minimal representation" (Lockett 58) by anthologists and critics.' To date, a poor amount of creative writing by Black and Coloured women writers is to be found an the shelves of bookshops as well as in national and university libraries in Southern Africa, a fact which I personally encountered in 2002. 249 CE Veit-Wild, "Women Have No Mouth," 3-5; Veit-Wild, "Borderlines," in Reif-Hülser; and Vcit-Wild, "Borderlines," in Smit....

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