Feminist Vision and Societal Transformation in Femi Osofisan's Morountodun and Nwabueze's the Dragon's Funeral
Catalogue Vol.26 No. 1 Feminist Vision and Societal Transformation in Femi Osofisan's Morountodun ... and Nwabueze's the Dragon's Funeral



With special reference to Femi Osofisan's Morountodun, this paper examines the idea of feminism and the role of women in transforming the Nigerian society. It focuses on the need to surmount some cultural assumptions that have little or no tolerance for women's involvement in nation-building. Efforts made by women to free themselves from these conditions are seen as outrageous and even offensive to conventional norms.

Through a critical analysis of Femi Osofisan's Morountodun, the paper reveals that the playwright projects women and other male feminist apologists in the plays in a positive light, by giving them significant roles which justify them as agents of social change and instruments of honour in the African society. Therefore, the paper concludes that the Nigerian society can benefit from women's emancipation, since they have proven over time to be worthy tools of positive societal transformation.

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In spite of substantial progress recorded so far through feminist activism, women in Africa have continually been undermined and victimized sexually, physically, emotionally and otherwise by men. More troubling is the reality that African traditions - which are patriarchal in nature - wholly place women under men's control.

Under the heavy dictates of the patriarch therefore, the woman is coerced into certain traditional practices that are performed at different stages in her life. They include, though not limited to: rules on virginity, bridal fattening, post-natal practices, women's veiling and seclusion, widowhood rites and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) (Amaefula “Constructing Femininity” 42).

Ohaeto defines patriarchy as

…“a system that extols male authority, domination and supremacy over the female, in all spheres of human endeavour” (146).

It is commonplace in Nigeria that boys are excluded from trainings in domestic spaces, particularly in the kitchen. Emphasis is placed on a girl-child who is exposed to gendered roles such as sweeping, cleaning and cooking with a view to preparing her to be a good wife in the future; to respect her future husband and his family; and serve as a helper to him. These beliefs are designed to suit the hegemonic interests of African men to the detriment of women. Most of these practices are cloaked in the traditional religion, Christianity and Islamic teachings and practices, in the guise of lessons on morality. Ohaeto, recounting the teachings of Apostle Paul in 1st Corinthians, states that

“…for the man is not of the woman but the woman of the man.” Neither was the woman created for the woman but the woman for the man” (qtd. in Oguejiofor O. and Oguejiofor N. 8)

These teachings have inspired ceaseless oppressions of women in Nigeria. The various forms of these oppressions include: subjugation, sex abuse, exploitation, sexism, chauvinism, political injustice, girl-child marriage, domestic violence against women, women trafficking and kidnapping, marital rape, deprivations of various rights and so on. It is based on this background that the paper examines the unsung roles of women in bringing social change in Nigeria, using Emeka Nwabueze's The Dragon's Funeral and Femi Osofisan's Morountodun.

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