“The two women who raised me never read books and had little education (…) but each told me in these exact words: ‘Be whatever you want to be. Go wherever your fantasies take you, as long as that place exists.’
For me, that place is in the literary world, where my name won’t trigger any evil suspicions, and I will be accepted for what I am, just like Chinua and Ngugi.
My name is Nakisanze Segawa.”
(from “My Name” by Nakisanze Segawa)
Fifteen stories about women’s statuts, life, ambitions and fears.
Fifteen testimonies of today’s life in Uganda where, like anywhere else, writers shape their own world and want to make a difference in people’s way of thinking.
In these autobiographical stories, some of which are gripping by their sharp observation of everyday life, what is ultimately challenged is narrow-mindedness: from the status and life of single women in small communities where marriage is compulsory, to high education; from male abuses to lesbianism; from pre-defined identities to literature as the free open space of defining oneself.
The authors’ voices are imprinted with a journalistic clear and insightful sense of observation which gives the stories a universal dimension, in spite of their obvious geographical focus. While reading them, one realizes that many injustices are closely linked to the misunderstanding of “culture”; each author gives a personal explanation of their own vision of culture and of how it should help people to evolve and open their minds to the world and themselves, rather than imprison them.
Finally, it is through writing that these female writers manage to create a space of freedom and introspection. It is yet another proof that language and discourse are ways of endlessly reinventing the world.
Crossroads. Women Coming of Age in Today’s Uganda
9781507680223 / Christopher Conte Editor/ 2015
Review by Ioana Danaila
Ioana Danaila was born in Romania. She graduated from University Lyon 2 Lumière with a Masters in Postcolonial Literature and a First degree in French for Non-Francophone people. She published a collection of short stories and translated books from French to Romanian. She speaks Romanian, French, English, and Spanish, and teaches English to high school students in France.