The Making and Remaking of Gender Relations in Tanzanian Fiction


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships




Locating itself at the intersection between English and Kiswahili literature in Tanzania, this study examines the representation of the shifts in gender relations in Tanzanian fiction and re-visits the ways in which the two languages shape the discourse on gender relations and offers the possibility of different portrayal of gender relations in English and Kiswahili literature of Tanzania. Tracing a thread from the fictionalised pre-colonial, colonial, nationalist, socialist, to the ongoing neoliberalism periods, the study tracks the representation of how the socio-economic shifts have mapped and remapped both household and extra-household gender relations. It notes that due to the cross-fertilisation among the periods, the interaction between gender and other identity categories, and the collusion between indigenous patriarchy and other patriarchies, male and female characters variously seek to maintain and or transform existing gender relations and or discard or restore past gender relations.