Abstract

This study is an attempt to document and critically explore what I term the "proverbial revolt" of Kasena women from northern Ghana. The women take advantage of a socially sanctioned medium, the joking relationship that exists between a Kasena woman and her husband's siblings or kin of the same generation, to subvert, contradict, and deconstruct the sexist ideology in Kasem proverbs. In the process, they create a corpus of "counter-proverbs" by which they establish their own signifying terms. This activity is termed ka jang de memanga (lit. "to fight with proverbs"); it is an activity that Kasena, who see proverbs as the wisdom of their ancestors, would typically avoid. Using the conception of proverb as strategy, and employing the theoretical concepts of positionality, identification, and performance, I examine how perceptions of gender and female personhood are invoked, evoked, enacted, rejected, consciously reshaped, or completely transformed by these contemporary African women.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2044
Print ISSN
0034-5210
Pages
pp. 74-95
Launched on MUSE
2009-07-08
Open Access
No
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