« I inhabit my cry so as to dance it »
Fatha Berezak, Le Regard aquarel II.
L’Harmattan 1988, p. 58.
The idea of a simplistic idealization or a hypocritical homage is far from our minds. Devoting the dossier of the second issue of Africultures to African women is a way of acknowledging all those men and women who are getting to know us little by little, a way of highlighting our difference. For, although women are often at the forefront of cultural news, they rarely have the opportunity to express their own voices.
This dossier echoes the image of the child on the cover of the first issue holding a megaphone, his eyes twinkling as he looks us strait in the eye: we have chosen to give voice to Africa’s creative women, without distorting their words or cutting them short. And we are convinced that we have a lot to learn.
This does not exclude a male view of women, such as that of Henri Lopès. If we think that the female gaze so important, however, it is without a doubt due to women’s capacity to empathize. « We give birth to the world and they abuse us », says one woman in Finzan, the film by the Malian Cheikh Oumar Sissoko. Strengthened by their experience of giving life, and by the inferiority status imposed upon them by our patriarchal societies, women know how to put themselves in the place of the Other, and do not automatically assume that the Other thinks the same as they do. In short, they do not imagine the Other as they would like him/her to be.
It is clear that we have remained faithful to what strikes us as crucial: the question of how to view the Other and his/her difference, which underlies all debates about identity and Africaness, and which marks African cultural expressions – and non-African ones too -today. The words of the women interviewed in this issue begin to form an answer.
In songs and in books, on the screen and on the stage, the women are the ones who rise up, who refuse the established order that constricts them. This unfaithful attitude to the obsolete traditions which have quite simply become the male power base is not without its own dramas. Nonetheless, it is a source of life: this unfaithfulness opens a breach and demands a respect for essential values. Can it not thus be seen as a question of faithfulness? A faithfulness towards life which is exemplary for all of society.
///Article N° : 5280