African Patriarchy: Remnants of the Empire That Need To Be Dismantled

Daniel Sincuba June 09, 2014

African Patriarchy

By endorsing or allowing patriarchy and misogyny one asserts that it’s good to marginalize powerful people who could make more significant contributions to all facets of life. We already know that in many African countries, women are more educated than men.

The active discourse in present-day Black culture (worldwide) identifies women as less meaningful to society than men. Indeed, signification is unequal. The meaning of being man or woman in modern Black society is an ancient artifact: Physical, political, and economic power are generally informed by one’s genitals.

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Men are the No. 1 threat to women and therefore to societies and therefore to ourselves.

What will rebuild us and what will hold us back, why do we need to protect our male privilege — via the oppression of women? What does this behavior say about our self-esteem and actual “manhood”?

There is no reason for our cultures to remain undeveloped/underdeveloped while time progresses. The past, in which these cultures were formed, was once the present. These ideas were formed by humans in their own present moments and changed by others in that glorious way.

But their present was not the age of enlightenment and advanced feminism.

Nothing stops us from improving some of our customs and belief systems to suit new knowledge and our appreciation of women. In any case, what is culture apart from other men’s takes of the past, maintained with the religious aggression of blind following?

Reasons for Patriarchy

So what is it exactly that has people still actively hanging on to patriarchy?

1) It is easy to keep your big boots on the necks of marginalized people who your economical, political, and social privilege is built on. See White privilege.

2) An inferiority complex has gripped many women. Now the desire to be treated like children is not worth flinching at and appears before us as something natural (gold diggers/people whose only ambition is to find a man’s credit card to spend.) And men, women, and children vouch for it in the splendor of ignorance. See ghetto mentality.

3) The Black woman is the only one to have been more marginalized than the Black man and selfishness and habit have set in to keep her down there. See sexism.

4) As the average Black African man, the world has taught you that you are worse than worthless — and proven it with western civilization and other hells. Amid all this survives your natural instinct to want to be impressive to the opposite sex and fulfill social expectations by being the head of the household. These desires/goals, though, have been compromised by your own economics so you don’t want women to feel like they are more than you despite the insanity at play here. See the Black male inferiority complex.

 We can no longer despise or work against misogyny or patriarchy but the conditions that create(d) it if we are serious about our battle against them.

The real enemies to full liberation are culture, religion, and society; our vexations are products of these and not some kind of weird, vile departure from them.

To merely say that Black men are misogynist or that patriarchy sucks is an exercise in futility. Furthermore, while feminists did nothing to deserve the burden of educating people or entertaining primitive thinkers, it does fall squarely upon those of us who are touched by reason to spread enlightenment.

Stupidity, as in any case, is our greatest threat and we must work to quell it rather than merely point it out.

The Effects of Colonization on Patriarchy in Africa

Also noteworthy is the influence of other patriarchal societies on African patriarchy. Considering the West’s domination and destruction of everything African, what makes misogyny/culture exceptions? This means that human agency is not always or has not always been locally governed/determined.

There will never be any telling where African/black patriarchy, feminism or misogyny would be today minus the influence of the colonizers.

Patriarchy & Religion

In addition, Christianity and Islam are massive in Africa and often people who are very much inclined where culture is concerned are even more religiously inclined. The aforementioned religions are very misogynist in their nature; these religions actively teach, every day, that a man is the superior of any woman.

That religious Africans praise imported male gods exclusively says a lot. That many are mami wataunaware that original African gods include many female ones says even more. That so many religious (and those who haven’t had the chance to decide) Africans are taught to praise Yahweh or Allah and not Mami Wata (a rendering of her appears at right) for instance who is a female African goddess who is not of the rib of a male superior is atrocious and demeaning.

Mama Zogbe, author of “Mami Wata: Africa’s Ancient God/dess Unveiled, Reclaiming the Ancient Vodoun Heritage of the Diaspora,” says, “It is under present day patriarchal Africa that the Mother religions have been almost completely shunned and forgotten. Abandoned and condemned, because they were the sacerdotal power of the matriarchs, now replaced with patriarchal corruptions.”

Deference to Our Elders to a Fault

The unquestioned and automatic deep respect for old people is so deep in African cultures. While it can be a beautiful thing, it is detrimental when they bring forth old ideas like religious and cultural misogyny and we lap it all up just because we consider them saints of society. Artifacts of love are in our hands right now working as tools in lieu of assuming their places in museums of viewing.

We as the new generation and the future of Africa need to assert ourselves on African culture immediately and allow it to reflect the sophistication and progress that is fitting for us.

But oh, privilege and ignorance are comfortable and we are addicted to the warmth of indulging in them without having to give a damn about a victim. The great South African poet Lesego Rampolokeng said in a poem dedicated to the plight of women that “they say clit is crown of horn so they mutilate it” and that “we legalize what we can contain.”

Free will and cross-cultural influence aside, it should be a matter of consistency for Black men to be feminists. How can we continue to look ourselves in the mirror and each other’s eyes if we are no less oppressive than the western capitalists?


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Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: September 15, 2018


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