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Title:Through other eyes and voices: women in 'Koteba' and 'Mmonwu' performances
Author:Okagbue, OsitaISNI
Periodical:African Performance Review
Geographic terms:Mali
gender inequality
Abstract:While in many indigenous African performances a sizeable number of the characters and the majority of the spectators are female, only men and male actors organize and perform in these theatrical performances. This observation was particularly obvious in the 'Koteba' performance of the Bamana of Mali and the 'Mmonwu' performance of the Igbo of Nigeria, which the author examined. This paper's main argument is that theatrical performances are very much part of the cultural and social processes of society and they are therefore implicated in the politics of identity and its representation in society. Thus, the marginalization of women in most spheres of public life in Bamana and Igbo societies is visually reflected in the fact that women remain on the sidelines in the two performances. Women's views, their identities and the power to occupy and thus speak from the public domain are denied and usurped by the dominant male 'Other' who uses this power to maintain his position. The paper concludes that a theatrical performance is often a good indicator and a reflection of the culture or society from which it originates, and that perhaps changing the mechanics and dynamics of performance may be the way to change the mechanics and dynamics of society. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]