Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

Crossing Lines

Jessie Kabwila Kapasula


This short story draws from my experiences in Malawi and Zimbabwe that have shown me that the category of class, is the current battle ground of the African woman question, if not at global level. From my grandmother, I learned that the complexion and value of marriage as we know it now, is largely a construction steeped in colonial concepts. In Botswana, I learned that the so-called educated woman has a lot to learn from the so-called poor, illiterate and low class woman. When I had to earn a living without my university education, I learned to respect the survival skills of women who have much less respect in the world than me, the one who often employs them as a maid or whatever menial job I can come up with. When I was jobless, I learned that Africans, have their own unique way to communicate and understand their world. I learned to respect that life is not based on what one can see and touch only, there is a level of knowledge that science and the white man, and of course the many of us whitened Africans would do well to respect and learn from. My stay in Botswana showed me that you can be othered in Africa and who you are really depends on class, type of dress, whether you drive or not, your sex, the gender constructions that are linked to your sex, facial complexion, and of course, the type of passport you carry, down to its colour.

Full Text:


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

Published by Africa Resource Center, Inc. All inquiries about rights, permissions, reprints and license should be directed to AfricaResource.

Copyright © Africa Resource Center, Inc., 1999 - .