Gender and Politics in Africa: an Interview with Marjorie Mbilinyi
"Struggles over gender inequity have often been lost or buried in accounts of the fight against political exploitation and oppression in Africa. A parallel history of contestation over gender relations is here exposed through the life of one remarkable scholar and activist, Marjorie Mbilinyi. ROAPEâ€™s Janet Bujra discusses the life and politics of a fighter for gender and class equality on the continent. The interview is a powerful and critical account of fifty years of campaigning against patriarchal oppression on many fronts in Tanzania, in which Mbilinyi has herself been at the forefront. She traces the legitimisation of feminism as a means to understand and a way to organise for and with women. This is not a feminism lifted from Europe or the US, but one generated in response to Tanzanian and African realities. As a teacher, analyst and organiser, Marjorie Mbilinyi has inspired a generation to question patriarchy and to set up groups to study and fight against it collectively, and to do so in tandem with struggles against class oppression, neoliberalism and imperialism. In this growing movement she identifies and describes resistance not only from men in power but also from those who position themselves on the radical Left. "