Friday, January 22, 2010

Women Writing Africa: The Northern Region

A new book of women's writing from North Africa has recently been reviewed by the Association of Women's Rights in Development.

The book is edited by Fatima Sadiqi from Fez, Amira Nowaira, Azza El Kholay and Moha Ennaji. The review calls it a valuable resource, long overdue, that challenges the usual western-orientated view of women in North Africa. The texts reach back as far as the 15th century BCE when the Egyptian female pharaoh, Hatshepsut, wrote in celebration of her power, 'My command stands firm like the mountains and the sun's disk shines and spreads rays over the names of my august person; and my falcon rises high about the kingly banner unto all eternity'.

The time-span of the writings is remarkable, and yet at the same time the themes that dominate women’s lives thousands of years ago and today are neatly tied in.

The religious, social and cultural diversity of North Africa is well reflected in the book. Although today the region’s inhabitants are predominantly Arab and Muslim, the northern part of Africa has been part of many empires, each of which has left traces of itself in language, culture and belief systems.

The review states that Women Writing Africa: The Northern Region is an impressive and comprehensive tome which undertakes – very successfully – to document North African women’s self-recorded experiences and perspectives over several centuries. At a scholarly and visceral level, this book will be of immense appeal to amateur and professional historians and sociologists and anyone who is interested in human nature and social justice.

Read the full review here. The book is available from Amazon.

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