Radical Themes: Zaynab Alkali

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1.8.2 Her Themes
Zaynab Alkali is believed to be the first notable female voice from Northern Nigeria. She was enthusiastically welcomed in the male dominated Nigerian literary scene. Her widely read novels focus on the position of African women in patriarchal Africa. In her various works, she has dealt with themes ranging from the problems of child-brides, child abuse, the negative consequences of unemployment, purdah, polygamy etc. She has repeatedly called for a new brand of feminism or what one may term as African feminism. She has equally advocated and identified with what she fondly refers to as ‘womanism’. This new brand of feminism emphasizes the improvement of social, economic and political status of women. She has on several occasions called for a rejection of the western brand of feminism as based on strict gender equality and often anti-male stance. Through her writings, she struggles against cultural, traditional and class privileges which have prevented women’s progress. “In all her works, alkali offers a rare insight into the life of Muslim women in Northern Nigeria. She builds a vision for a better life based on economic independence, self sacrifice and solidarity between men and women” (Parekh and Jagne 42-3). She has published several essays in Journals and anthologies locally and internationally. In one of her published essays titled “Feminism: A Radical Theme in African Literature”, she highlights women’s struggles against culture, tradition and class
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