Gender dynamics in Shona culture

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The case of Yvonne Vera's novels

Earlier researchers on African culture have portrayed traditional African women as "second class citizens" who had no right to be heard or listened to in society.

This book endeavours to correct the misrepresented image of gender relations in Shona traditional culture and how male-female relations have been affected by the onset of colonialism, Islam, Christianity and codified customary law.

It endeavours to show that pre-colonial African women did not see themselves as an under privileged class which had to fight with men in order to seek social equality because they enjoyed more freedom and power in a complementary gender system in which they participated as active agents of development and made immense contributions in both the private and the public spheres.

Yvonne Vera's novels give a historical development of gender dynamics in Shona society and demonstrate that oppression of African women as it is understood today did not originate in African patriarchy but came with colonialism.

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