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Dismantling Female Solidarity in Mariama Bâ’s Scarlet Song

Lori Beth De Hertogh


The article explores ways in which Mariama Bâ’s novel, Scarlet Song, represents the backbone of African feminism—female solidarity. The idea of women working together to realize common goals and to support one another is the critical foundation on which African feminism is established and continues to flourish. Because this form of feminism often lacks the underpinning social and theoretical frameworks of Western feminism, it is in some ways more effective, transformative, and resistant to institutionalization and serves as a means by which African women unite to resist and reform paternalistic social structures marginalizing them. Within Scarlet Song, I focus primarily on ways in which female characters undermine one another in attempts to achieve impermanent forms of power or personal success. I also trace what Bâ’s novel reveals about the ways in which female relationships shape and are conversely shaped by patriarchal power structures and ideologies.

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JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies. ISSN: 1530-5686 (online).
Editors: Nkiru Nzegwu; Book Editor: Mary Dillard.

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