ISBN 9781779220745
Pages 44
Dimensions 245 x 170 mm
Published 2008
Publisher Weaver Press, Zimbabwe
Format Paperback

Elizabeth Musodzi and the Birth of African Feminism in Early Colonial Zimbabwe

by Tsuneo Yoshikuni

Professor Tsuneo Yoshikuni was a serious student of life in the early townships. His research led him inevitably to the story of Mai Elizabeth Musodzi, whose life and work was exemplary at a time when the role of women was often not taken seriously.

Mai Musodzi was born in the Gomba area around 1885. As a child, she experienced the first chimurenga, losing her parents in this struggle, before subsequently receiving a mission education at Chishawasha. An orphan, she married Frank Ayema, a policeman originally from what was then called Barotseland (western Zambia), and they settled in Chizhanje (Mabvuku). With five children of her own, Musodzi worked hard to improve not only her life and that of her family, but through her initiative, leadership qualities, determination and hard work, did much to improve the lives of other women in the townships. She was a founder of the Harare African Women’s Club, an instructor in the Red Cross society, and active in various welfare agencies. As a keen gardener and small farmer she inspired women to better themselves through their own efforts, acquiring a reputation of the ‘uncrowned Queen of Harari’.

Yoshikuni provides the context in which to help us understand this remarkable woman, and in doing so gives a role to women often written out of early urban historiography. Written accessibly and drawing on written archives and memories of those who knew Elizabeth Musodzi, this is a book that everyone interested in the history of Harare must-read.

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Review

"Written accessibly and drawing on written archives and memories of those who knew Elizabeth Musodzi, this is a book that everyone interested in the history of Harare must-read."

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