Social Condition of Women in the Kingdom of Kuba 
(E. Torday and T.A. Joyce, 1910)

 

 

“The social position of Bushongo women is remarkable. The first personality in the kingdom is a woman, the queen-mother. Among the important people in the kingdom, women have two representatives and in the council of elders, there are several women.


 
The woman is not bought, but it is considered fair that a man who has deprived a father of his daughter, who was useful to him, should give him some little compensation. Also, the fact that the woman must give her consent to marriage eliminates ever idea of slavery. Moreover, the fundamental idea of marriage for them is that it constitutes a collaboration between husband and wife. This of course is the case only in areas where Arabic or Portuguese influence has not been felt.
 
The role of the woman is to provide vegetables for her husband to eat while the role of the husband is to provide game (meat) and defend the household. If the husband fails in his duties, his wife will leave him. IF the wife neglects her functions, the husband can press charges and the guilty wife will be punished or chased from her conjugal home.
 
Being the stronger of the two spouses, the husband is the head of the family. However, in many instances, the woman’s decision takes precedence. One even notices that important political questions are frequently decided by women.” (emphasis mine)

As we can see here, indigenously within an African cultural milieu, we have the framework for a more egalitarian male-female relationship/marriage/society. This is why we highlight African culture during Black History Month, so that we can better understand exactly what we lost as a result of the trans-Atlantic slave holocaust and by adopting European cultural norms. In a more modern setting, a few things noted above can be tweaked (e.g., the notion of bride-price), but fundamentally the values and social practices of old will always be applicable and we do not have to look outside of ourselves for solutions to our problems. These are the kinds of examples I draw from when designing a framework for an African-American culture. Examples like these can be found all around Africa in the historical record.

 

Bibliography

Theophile Obenga's: _Readings in Precolonial Central Africa: Texts & Documents (1995)_. 

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