The Plight of the South Sudan Woman

The Plight of the South Sudan Woman

In Arts & Culture, Diaspora News, Viewpoints by Ramciel Managing EditorLeave a Comment

On March 8, 2019, on Women’s Day, I thought about the plight of South Sudanese women; our history and our contemporary struggle. We often have our indigenous Nilotic and Bantu issues labeled through the lens of ‘the western gaze’ and the rhetoric that has been pushed out. The South Sudanese women’s plight has to be seen in a proper historical context, not relying solely on contemporary western information.

Today’s South Sudanese women’s issues are rooted in multiple colonizations stemming from the dynastic period during the reign of ancient Egypt, Nubia, and Kush. During those multiple colonizations of the Ottoman Turks, Arabs, Greek, Roman, and European the image of the Nilotic and Bantu women became redefined. She went from ruling beside her men to being demoted in the eyes of the colonizers.

These colonizers brought their own definitions of beauty, womanhood, and proper gender conduct. The gender values and constructs deeply rooted in their own societies were then imposed upon the African woman. The African people became a conquered people and, as a result, the image of the African woman became defined and controlled by the colonizers

Today’s South Sudanese women’s issues are rooted in multiple colonizations stemming from the dynastic period during the reign of ancient Egypt, Nubia, and Kush. During those multiple colonizations of the Ottoman Turks, Arabs, Greek, Roman, and European the image of the Nilotic and Bantu women became redefined. She went from ruling beside her men to being demoted in the eyes of the colonizers.

These colonizers brought their own definitions of beauty, womanhood, and proper gender conduct. The gender values and constructs deeply rooted in their own societies were then imposed upon the African woman. The African people became a conquered people and, as a result, the image of the African woman became defined and controlled by the colonizers.

The image colonizers had of African women has to lead to an interiorization of African women in cultural space, politics, religion, and overall African society. As the image and characteristics of foreign women became the dominant force in African society, the reduction of African women leads to a downfall of the collective society. Conquer the image of women to control the narrative of the country.

The narrative from the colonial perspective has cheapened the role of African women internationally and globally. We must understand the strategic mechanisms applied to understand how the African woman’s image continues to be colonized to this day. For the authentic image of the African Nilotic and Bantu women to emerge, the image has to be decolonized, healed, and promoted in an empowering way. Authentic change comes from unearthing the true history of our women in antiquity to understand the contemporary plight.

 

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​​Nyabuoy Gatbel

​​Nyabuoy Gatbel

Nyabuoy Gatbel is a South Sudanese Canadian currently living in Calgary, AB. She was born in Ethiopia in 1993 and moved to Canada as a refugee in 2002. She’s currently an undergraduate student at the University of Calgary. Besides her studies she’s a social entrepreneur focusing on the ”Paarman Centre project,” a fashion model, writer and author of the book, ”The Fire Within poetry in Thok Nath and English.” She’s interested and passionate about alternative ways to bring about personal, communal, and national healing. She understands the importance of a cultural and personal narrative. The narrative about her place of birth and residence have been dominated by one voice in a world full of many diverse voices. She hopes to represent, present, and validate this diverse reality through her writings, research, and ultimately her life’s work to come. She invites us along on the path to unearthing the realities, complexities, and perspectives of a South Sudanese Canadian of African descent. 

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