Hybridity and the Shape of the New African Woman

Regie Panadero Amamio


Hybridity is argued as an intricate combination of attraction and repulsion that describes the relationship between the colonizers and the colonized. This combination creates a challenge to and disruption of the monolithic power exercised by the colonizers of Africa who (mis)represented the land as a Dark Continent. Such monolithic power underpins the portrayal of the colonizers’ patriarchal tradition within which women characters in creative works by Africans are commonly situated. The inclusion of women as part of the many subjects of power strengthens the discourse on hybridity in African literature. To question power is to see men and women both apart and together as ambivalence that defines the idea of hybridity in the African literary tradition. In this paper, the employment of deconstruction in the  analysis of women characters in five selected stories by African writers reveals a new consciousness in African literature using the Dark Continent metaphor as a mirror of  the female aesthetics. In this sense, the use of women’s bodies in the short stories does not only point to the issue of gender oppression but also to a power that is disrupting and slowly dismantling the long-entrenched patriarchal stance forcing the male characters to question their current worldview and position. Overall, this paper has established that contemporary African literature on women recognizes the hybridized identity and shape of the new woman, consequently proving that the so-called Dark Continent is nothing but a myth.


Dark Continent metaphor; African women’s bodies; deconstruction; hybridity

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.24071/joll.v21i2.3168


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