Cultural Influence on Women Emanciption in Achebes Anthills of the Savannah and Buchi Emechetas Second Class Citizen


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This research project deal with the cultural influence on women emancipation, which is the concept of feminism as worldwide theory, ideology and political movement directed at changing the existing power relation between man and woman. This work attempt on re-analysis of gender equality from the pre-colonial to post- colonial period and also reveal how the themes of gender discrimination, exploitation, and hardship is carefully handled in Buchi  Emaecheta’s second class citizen and Chinua Achebe’s anthills of the savannah.

This works identified the sociolinguistic factors such as age, gender, religion, education, occupation and culture as factors affecting the use of language in terms of what one says and how it is concerning feminism. It also identified the numerous forces militating against the right of African women especially in the traditional setting and blamed them on some cultural beliefs and customs which are destructive enough to keep women perpetually at the background. The work concludes with some contemporary showcase and Meta narratives by both male and female writers like Buchi Emecheta and Chinua Achebe. The study has shown that as long as men wield power, women will continue to be subjugated, oppressed and suppressed.


Cultural Influence on Women Emanciption in Achebes Anthills of the Savannah and Buchi Emechetas Second Class Citizen



1.1  Background to the Study

When we talk about “culture” we often mean intellectual and creative products, including literature, music, drama, and painting. Another use of “culture” is to describe the belief and practice of another society, particularly where these are seen as closely linked with tradition or religion. But culture is more than that. Culture is part of the fabric of every society, including our own. It shape “the way things are done” and our understanding of why this should be so. This more comprehensive approach is proposed in the definition if culture adopted at the world conference on cultural policies (Mexico,1982) and used in ongoing discussion of culture and development.

       “Culture is the whole complex of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features that characterize a society or a social group. It includes not only art and letters, but also mode of life, the fundamental right of the human being, value system, traditions and belief”.

       Feminism exists in a rich diversity of forms, reflecting a complex historical development. According to Guerin (1992:82), this diversity has been especially important as feminists try more and more to examine the experience of women form all race and classes and cultures.

       Lives of women were (and still are) often portrayed in negative terms. Although it is difficult to generalize about the lives of women from different cultural, racial, economic and religious background in a century of steady change, women are agitating for a change in status in various way where generalization can be made. African women are treated as second class citizens, disempowered and subjected to all kinds of discrimination and oppression.

       According to Gwendolyn Mikell, the emerging women movement across Africa is quite like it counterpart in the western world. They are both based on the same ideology: the ideology of the women as a sexual being. The continent’s political unrest and cultural milieu have helped to shape this ideology. In anthills of the savannah Achebe’s presents women ads protagonists. Beatrice in anthills of the savannah inspires the men around her, especially as she tries to get them to mend their relationships that are falling apart. Emecheta uses gender and sexuality to express the many ways in which society treated women and the obstacle that they had to overcome.


1.2. Statement of the Problem

It is believed women are the bulwark of  a society undoubtedly, their contribution to the over development of mankind and the nature in general is great starting from raising children at home and other routine work of the family up to the country’s top leadership, they are as important as men. This is because they are considered to be half part of their husband and the family. Unlike this fact women have been marginalize from their own respected culture for ages. Traditional gender role cast men as rational, strong, protective and decisive. In contrast, women are presented as emotional (irrational), weak and submissive. Gerdalerner quoted in lodge: 

Women have been left out of history not because of the evil conspiracies of men in general Or male historian in particular, but because we have Considered history only in male centered terms, we Have missed and their activities because of history Which are inappropriate to women.(345).


Cultural Influence on Women Emanciption in Achebes Anthills of the Savannah and Buchi Emechetas Second Class Citizen

1.3.      Objective of the study

This study explores the gender, races, class and cultural experience of African women. The main argument of this study is based on the notion that even though gender oppression against women is widely discouraged and is in the process of being eradicated, unequal power relations between the sexes still lingers.

Women still suffer daily violation of their basic rights as human beings and live with the ever present experience of cultural influence. We shall take a look at Buchi Emecheta’s contribution in her novel second class citizen and how she has achieved her goals. Also Chinua Achebe’s anthills of the savannah will also be treated with focus on how they achieved their own feminist goals.


1.4       Significance of the study

The significance of this study focuses mainly on issues from women’s perspectives and experience, such gender, politics, education and employment. In essence, African women’s portrays their quest for emancipation from male dominance. Also, this work will serve as a reference point to other researchers.


1.5       Scope and Limitation

In this study, the scope of the study shall be limited to feminist concept in Buchi Emecheta’s the second class citizen and in Chinua Achebe’s the anthills of the savannah as touching the force militating against women’s self-actualization in a patriarchal society and how they can  and have been able to reform themselves in such society.


1.6.      Methodology of the Study

            The researcher used qualitative research as the suitable research method for this study. The major source for the material in the writing of this project work will be restricted to the library and the internet dues to the inability of conducting a private interview with the novelists.

Cultural Influence on Women Emanciption in Achebes Anthills of the Savannah and Buchi Emechetas Second Class Citizen

1.7       Emecheta’s Background

Buchi Emecheta was born in Lagos (1944) Nigeria she was born of Ibuza heritage. She is a Nigeria writer with a B.Sc. degree; she attended Methodist girl’s high school, Yaba in Nigeria and university of London, United Kingdom where she studied sociology. She was appointed senior research fellow, department of English and literary studies, university of Calabar, Calabar Nigeria in 1980. She was a teacher, a librarian and community worker. A member of art council of great Britain , member of advisory council, home secretary on race equity, London, united kingdom. Her awards include best black writer in Britain, 1978.

Jack Campbell awards, 1979, daughter of mark twain, an American literature award.  She has many publications to her credit, they include the following: in the ditch published in 1972, second class citizen (1974), the slave girls (1976) the joys of motherhood (1979), destination Biafra (1982) her auto-biography, head above water (1986) and many others. She is a mother of five children. She is a sociology graduate of London University. All her novels centered on the plight of women as wives and makers and at the same time, a contributor to society growth in the typical African society.


Bio-data of Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe born Albert Chinuaumogu Achebe; (10 November 1930-21 march 2013) was Nigeria novelist, poet, professor, and critic. His first novel things fall apart (1958) considered his best, is the most widely read book in modern African literature. Raised by his parent in the Igbo town of Ogidi in south-eastern Nigeria, Achebe excelled at school and won a scholarship to study medicine, but changed his studies to English literature at university college (now the University of Ibadan). He became fascinated with world religion and traditional African culture, and began writing stories as a university student.

After graduation, he worked for the Nigerian broadcasting service (NBS) and soon moved to the metropolis of Lagos. He gained worldwide attention for his novel. His later novels include: no longer at ease (1960), arrow of God (1964), a man of the people (1966), and anthills of the savannah (1987).

Achebe wrote his novels in English and defended the use of English, a “language of colonizer” in African literature. In 1975, is lecture an image of Africa racism in Conrad’s “heart of darkness”. When the region of Biafra broke away from Nigeria in 1967, Achebe became a supporter of Biafra independence and acted as ambassador for the people of the new nation.

Achebe novel focus on the tradition of Igbo society, the effect of Christian influence, and the clash of western and the traditional African value during and after the colonial era. His style relies heavily on the Igbo oral. Tradition, and combine straight forward narration with representation of folk stories, proverbs, and oratory. He also published a number of short stories, children’s books and essay collection.

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