The African Renaissance and gender: finding the feminist voice
The African Renaissance, which has its origins in the 1960s during the de-colonization period of Africa, is about transformation, an African continent reinvention that pleads for renewed autonomy and Africa’s own effort to take its intellectual destiny. Africa is beset with a massive amount of problems, and the African Renaissance in general is trying to address these issues and find a solution to all these problems. It has been seen as a call for the people of Africa to work towards the resurgence of Africa, economically, sociologically, politically and spiritually. President Mbeki of South Africa sets the tone for the African Renaissance project and its implementation, but the vision is for the rest of Africa that must equally own the concept and actively fuel its realization. The African Renaissance has limitations in that not all African countries have embraced it, or are passionate as other countries are. Still, most people in the continent do not understand the concept the African Renaissance as it has found them in conditions that are still disadvantageous to them and are grappling with other issues of life. Most importantly, it is not inclusive of women despite the fact that they constitute a clear numerical majority on the African continent. There is no significant cultural renaissance that can take place while sectors of the population under transformation are victims of silencing. Looking at the position of women in Africa and their development, it is important to understand what the implication of gender is in this discourse. Also, why has the African Renaissance not included women and lastly, that can it hold as a discourse of renewal without the voice of women? The African Renaissance has come to epitomize the democratization of the African continent, therefore, the voice of women and the role that gender must play, should be of great importance.