Rethinking Language and Gender in African Fiction: Towards De-gendering and Re-gendering

Andrew T. Ngeh, Sarah M. Nalova


The recognition and acceptance of the social construction of gender and the coercive nature of gendered subjectivities has been at the centre of feminist discourse which challenges the subjugation of the woman. G.D. Nyamndi, therefore, in his Facing Meamba attempts to address these concerns and proffer feasible solutions. The representation of women in literature, the role of gender in both literary creation and literary criticism, as studied ingynocriticism, the connection between gender and various aspects of literary form in such genre and metre embody masculine values of heroism, war, and adventure. This androcentric stand has compromised the rights of the woman, resulting in her marginalization, alienation and exclusion from socio-cultural activities. She is maligned with a sense of inadequacy. The patriarchal centre prevails and dominates the woman who has been pushed to the margin of the society. In this regard, Nyamndi demonstrates that, the African woman still has a place within the postcolonial context even though the man is imbued with more powers than the woman. Informed by the postcolonial theory, this study argues that, gendering constitutes a grave danger to a harmonious existence between the two genders. The study revealed that, de-gendering and re-gendering can create harmony between the man and woman because the two concepts are basis for gender equality. To achieve this, language which constitutes a semiotic mould has been exploited to deploy themes like, gender inequality and cultural issues.

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