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This study examines the role of the woman in the socio- Political development of the society in Bate Besong’s Requiem for the last Kaiser. It also aims at bringing out the various themes in the play such as conscientisation, revolution, oppression, dictatorship through which the women is the spearhead in the fight to emancipate herself and to liberate her people from the shackle of the oppressors.
This study attempts also to bring out the different literacy techniques which have helped to enhance theme and ease understanding.
Background to Study
In the early eighties, feminism was undeniably one of the major events in the development of literary criticisms in this century. The position occupied by the African woman during the pre-colonial and post-colonial periods has not been conducive as far as her contribution to socio-political activities is concerned. The African woman for centuries lacked education while the man could attain whatever level of education he desires.
Looking at the African Society, women are expected to stay quiet when the men are engaged in a conversation, women are expected to stay at home while the man goes to work but Bate Besong is his play Requiem For the Last Kaiser, is out to make us understand that the women have the right to choose for herself as he presents his heroin, woman who is able to move from the position society has given her to that of a freedom fighter.
In another dimension, it will be important to give a brief definition of African literature to make this study more adequate since it is about an African writer. African literature as defined by Chinweizu and others in Toward The Decolonization of African literature, as Works done for African audiences, by Africans and in African languages whether these works are oral or written Constitute the historic indisputable core of African literature. (11-12).
This definition implies that African literature constitutes the history and experiences of the African people, and should be documented by Africans. Looking back to the ages, the African woman has always been relegated to a second position in the society by men.
She has always been a maid and housewife which goes in conformity with the slogan that “a woman’s place is the kitchen and this has gone a long way to inspire writers and critics who write to criticize this views.
Feminist critics like Nnemeka Obioma, Molora Ogundipe- Leslie and Others who are the founders of African feminist criticisms go contrary with the above view concerning African women and their representation.
According to these critics, the struggle is not for the woman to take over but for women to be included in all spheres of life. Critics like Nnemeka Obioma also hold that men and women have to work hand in hand in the improvement of the society as they both make up the society.
As a result of the emergence of feminism, many authors started writing about women and the roles they play in the society, giving them roles orders Requiem For The Last Kaiser too portrays all of the above ills but the point of interest of this study is the role played by women in the socio-political development of her society,
Statement of Problem
This study seeks to investigate the feminist dimension of Bate Besong’s Requiem For The Last Kaiser, Many writings on this play have ignored the feminist dimension of the play, more emphasis is often placed on its historical dimensions and also on its revolutionary dimension. Although Bate Besong is a male writer he seeks to bring out the role of the Cameroonian woman in nation-building.
The aim of this study is to portray the African woman’s role in the social and political development of her society and also analyze Bate Besong’s Requiem For The Last Kaiser in the light of the feminist dimension. This study will also go further to analyze the play as literature of conscientisation and change.