African Feminism in the Nigerian Context: A House of Affirmations and Denials

Document Type : Original Article


1 Instructor, Department of Linguistics, African and European Languages, Kwara State University, Malete, Nigeria

2 PhD Candidate, Department of English, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria



Theorizing the roots of feminism in the specific African experience has been a quest by a number of prominent African female writers. They have avidly reflected on it in their various creative and critical outputs. The inherent ideological differences among these writers in their quest for an African variant of feminism, owing to the peculiarities of their respective sociocultural settings, has led to what critics have contentiously regarded as ‘voices’ in African feminism. Against this backdrop, on the one hand, Charles Nnolim (1994) [2010] argues that feminism in African literature is “a house divided”. On the other hand, Chioma Opara (2013), in contention with the former, posits that it is rather “a house integrated”. The present study thus establishes the two critical poles as wherein the entire gamut of critical and theoretical points of contentions in African feminism is largely subsumed. Neither of the two paradigms is discredited in favor or defense of the other, noting their huge critical substances. This paper rather attempts to strike a balance in-between, ultimately with a view to delineating its own critical perspective. By drawing instances from three prominent Nigerian female writings, the study moves away from the aforementioned established critical patterns to a novel paradigm which conceives feminism in African literature, with specific reference to the Nigerian context, as rather ‘a house of affirmations and denials.’.


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