Women Coming of Age in Today's Uganda
by Christopher Conte
Pub Date 03 Jun 2015
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African women stand at a crossroads between traditional culture and modern times. Now you can read their own stories in their own words in what one African reader describes as "an intriguing collection of human experiences in a fantastic yet delicate basket...a cultural keepsake."
What do you do when your education qualifies you for high-level professional work but your culture says you, as a woman, should kneel before men? When sex education stresses how girls should please men – even by making painful changes to their own bodies? Or when your family haggles with your fiance’s family over how many cows you are worth?
Similarly, how would you make sense of your life if you spent your childhood sleeping in the bush every night to avoid marauding rebel soldiers? If you were held and tortured in a secret prison on a vague suspicion that you were linked to an enemy of the government? If imported religions tell you to denounce your parents’ and grandparents’ faith? Or if western-trained doctors can’t heal local afflictions but many of your peers dismiss traditional healers as quacks or witch doctors?
In describing these and other dilemmas, these African women writers will surprise you as they strike a balance between past and future. Their stories will make you laugh and cry, simultaneously demonstrating what makes Africa unique and celebrating what unites people across cultures. Ultimately, their life stories will leave you celebrating the enduring strength of the human spirit.
See list and excerpts here: http://www.uganda-crossroads.net/reviews-2/
Crossroads is an intriguing collection of human experiences that engage yet mesmerize the reader. A very good read that educates society about what different cultural experiences can bring to life. Mr. Conte explicitly nurtures the stories in a fantastic yet delicate basket. This is a cultural keepsake. (Mazzi Wampamba, author of “Like an Ocean: Poems in Prose”).
“A beautiful and thoughtful series of essays” that brings the Ugandan experience into “stunning relief . . . The collection is no-holds-barred: these women critique traditional culture, Western influence, the bureaucratic bloatedness of NGOs, religion, and gender roles, all with clarity and nuance. . . . The result is a well-rounded, compelling and edifying picture of the challenges that women face in modern Africa.” (Michelle Anne Schingler, Clarion Foreword Reviews. Schlingler awards Crossroads the magazine’s top, five-star rating — an honor the journal confers on just 8% of the books it reviews.
“Chilling, thrilling . . . stories of empowered Ugandan women. [Crossroads] presents the challenges they go through to accommodate their newly-found strength. The writers address issues dear to the typical Ugandan woman.” (Andrew Kaggwa, The Observer)
“A magnificent work. One of the most important things we are here to do no matter where we are on earth is to witness to life. . . . The lives of African women are really complicated because we are witnessing to life through a lens that says “different.” The lens says “different” — you’re female you’re not male; the lens says “different” — you’re African you’re not from anywhere else. You have really witnessed to this difference in the most magnificent manner.” (Tsitsi Dangarembga, Zimbabwean author who wrote “Nervous Conditions” and other acclaimed works)
A riveting read. Crossroads is a window on a subset of African women that banishes cliché. How can anyone read the testimonies in this book and look at Africa in the same old, same old way again?! (Julia Royall, Global Health Information Specialist, Fulbright Scholar)
“Perhaps the most insightful and enlightening non-fiction publication yet about the search for identity among women in Uganda… The authors are not afraid to show their vulnerability, and admit to their ongoing soul-searching… Most of the (relatively well-educated, urban) women do not necessarily end up embracing ‘Western’ values whilst rejecting ‘African’ ones, or the other way around. Rather, they shape their identities around aspects from either side that they deem relevant, attractive and useful. Presents a very interesting insight into the many challenges, opportunities and dilemmas that women in Uganda are confronted with these days — how to relate to Western influences, to the village life, to men, to society’s more ‘traditional’ expectations, and so on. This issue of ‘modernization and traditionalism’ is a dominant theme in urban Africa.” (Mark Schenkel, Africa regional correspondent for Het Financieele Dagblad, The Netherlands)
“Gives a real sense of the breadth of issues Ugandan women face today. I appreciated the many explorations of identity, the description of mourning, the importance of names, perspectives on the ‘developed’ world approaches to African countries, and the wonderful laying out of the issues in the ‘complicated landscape’ of Western ways and African ways, and NGOs. From the joyful to the terrifying, what comes through in this collection is the intelligence and thoughtfulness with which the authors articulate their struggles and manifest a heartening strength and resilience.” (Candace Wood, Amazon.com customer).