'This matter of women is getting very bad' : gender, development and politics in colonial Lesotho /
Marc Epprecht ; [editor, Andrea Nattrass].
Pietermaritzburg : University of Natal Press, 2000.
ix, 281 p. ; ports. ; 23 cm.
0869809539 (pbk.)
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Pietermaritzburg : University of Natal Press, 2000.
0869809539 (pbk.)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. 257-273) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2002-02-01:
Women in sub-Saharan Africa have always been far more effective and central to indigenous economic and social development than their widespread underrepresentation in traditional and modern national political decision-making arenas would suggest. This is particularly so in the Sotho-speaking communities of Botswana, South Africa, and tiny Lesotho. Epprecht (Queen's Univ., Ontario) shows, not unexpectedly, that women in Basutoland and Lesotho have been important actors and unsung contributors to the destiny of their country ever since the colonial period. They were more assertive than their colonial rulers preferred, defined their own zones of autonomy, found significant places in mission and independent churches, were primary breadwinners, and were the central motivators of Lesotho given the prolonged absences of so many male contract mine workers. Women in Lesotho (and elsewhere in Africa) have never received the recognition they deserve at home. Foreign scholars pay attention, as this book shows, but the men at home are largely oblivious or derogatory. This would have been a much more lasting contribution to the study of Africa if readers had been spared endless authorial sanctimony and overly politically correct attention to the rhetoric of gender consciousness. Faculty and specialists. R. I. Rotberg Harvard University
This item was reviewed in:
Reference & Research Book News, November 2001
Choice, February 2002
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Bowker Data Service Summary
This text explores the historiography of the four decades prior to Lesotho's independence in 1966, when the contradictions of colonial rule and missionary paternalism created sometimes dramatic new opportunites and predicaments for Basotho women.
Main Description
Exploring the historiography of the four decades prior to Lesotho's independence in 1966, this book highlights neglected Basotho women's voices, including those of nuns, politicians, chiefs, prostitutes, runaways and homemakers, thereby providing a challenge to the models of development, politics and community that have been predominant in Lesotho in the modern era.
Table of Contents
A note on language and abbreviationsp. vi
Acknowledgementsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
Culture, Christianity and Capitalism: The background of social change in the nineteenth century
Sesotho customp. 15
Christianityp. 30
Class formation and the emergence of racial capitalist patriarchyp. 47
Women and the State
Colonial rule, 1868-1929p. 67
'Loose women' and the crisis of colonialismp. 80
Gender and the modernization of the colonial statep. 98
'Improving' womenp. 121
Basotho Women's Struggles and the Critique of Modernity
Basotho women's voluntary associationsp. 141
An alternative vision: Catholic patriarchy and the 'anti-capitalist' legacy of Bishop Bonhomme, 1933-47p. 168
'Women, mothers of the nation, should not be made slaves': Women and politics to 1965p. 189
Conclusionp. 212
Biographical sketches of informantsp. 215
Notesp. 218
Bibliographyp. 257
Indexp. 274
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