Debuking patriarchal legacy in african traditional setting: A reading of Efo Kodjo Mawugbe’s In the Chest of a Woman

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Damlègue Lare

Abstract

This article investigates the critical views of Efo Kodjo Mawugbe on some African traditional customs which deny identity and welfare to women and his literary endeavor to unravel the patriarchal legacy in his In the Chest of a Woman. It examines the dictates of patriarchy that militate against females’ emancipation and lay a foundation for their marginalization and oppression. It attempts to read Mawugbe’s call for gender balance and equal treatment for men and women in modern society. Two sexist practices are targeted: the denial of inheritance rights to female children and the capital punishment of those who go against tradition by becoming pregnant out of customary wedlock. The study asserts that if modern African society should experience a participatory socio-economic development it is urgent to end sexism and gender oppression in families and society, and to give men and women equal opportunities to emerge as fulfilled free beings.

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