Original Research

Women and transformation: A recurrent theme in Head and Ngugi

N. Cloete
Literator | Vol 19, No 2 | a520 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v19i2.520 | © 1998 N. Cloete | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 April 1998 | Published: 30 April 1998

About the author(s)

N. Cloete, Department of English Studies, University of the North, Sovenga, South Africa

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This article evaluates, within the context of the increasingly important position assigned to African literature in general (and the novel in particular), the dominant roles played by Bessie Head and Ngugi through a focus on the significant contributions of these two writers concerning the theme of women and transformation. Although both authors put a high premium on wotnanism, showing themselves as champions of especially sexual and racial freedom for all women, their novels indicate different trends in their portrayal of this theme. Head, for instance, becomes increasingly autobiographical in her articulation of her female protagonists ’ struggle for freedom from oppression, while Ngugi tends to become increasingly politically biased in expressing his Marxist social, political and economic doctrines. This article furthermore examines the ways in which Ngugi and Head highlight different aspects of the discourse of female liberation, while also studying the dialogue of transformation and a sense of belonging. Finally, it remarks on Head's and Ngugi's aesthetic approaches to the discourse of women and transformation.


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