Mariama Ba, a Senegalese writer and feminist, wrote in French. Born in Dakar, she lost her mother in her early childhood. She was raised by her grandmother in a Muslim tradition. She had the fortune of being educated with her Father’s support .She began to look at the inequalities between the sexes in the African tradition with a critical eye and took it up as her mission to expose and critique the power structures that suppressed women in a patriarchal and a polygamous society. Family to her is an important inner sphere which established the power hierarchy that extended itself conveniently into the outer social sphere politicizing the rationale employed to justify the established power structures. She strongly felt that people should be made to understand the complementarity of man and woman in all spheres as she felt that women are plunged in all aspects of life and made to suffer for the consequences of men’s actions on families. There is a lack of regard for women who silently go through the turmoils. Men are never allowed to repent for their domineering nature. Ba has written two novels: SO LONG A LETTER (1981), SCARLET SONGS (1986). Her novels depict her strong exploration of feminism. She lends a powerful voice for the women of Africa who are oppressed by culture as well by the virtue of being a woman, treated as the weaker sex. Even as a child she realized the importance of a WOMAN in a family, as it is only a woman who as a multitasker shoulders greater responsibility in carrying the tradition of a society. Ba urged the African women to identify themselves and believe in themselves so as to overcome the multiple hurdles that obstruct her path. She was very firm that only education can bring the change in a woman’s life, especially the married life. Through her women characters Ba expresses herself and exposes the social differences that block the progress of women. Her only mission was to tell the world through her books that a complete growth of a society involves a complementary approach by the men and women which will effect only on equal grounds possible solely through education. Education is the window through which light gleams and allows women to make certain decisions that could also topple any existing patriarchal archetypes. This could lead to the path to empowerment. This is the message that Ba sends through her writings.
patriarchy, religion, islam, african culture, women’s rights, liberating the self.