By Corrie Decker
The reviews of African ladies within the period earlier than independence stay a woefully understudied side of African historical past. This leading edge and punctiliously argued research hence provides drastically to our figuring out of colonial heritage through concentrating on women's schooling, professionalization, and political mobilization within the East African islands of Zanzibar.
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Additional resources for Mobilizing Zanzibari Women: The Struggle for Respectability and Self-Reliance in Colonial East Africa
By this point, there were six girls’ primary schools across the protectorate and more planned. These schools required qualified teachers. Two years after the Ng’ambo Girls’ (Primary) School was built in 1943, women’s teacher training was transferred to a building next to the school, where the trainees did their practice teaching. Despite these rapid developments in the 1940s, the primary goal of Arab Girls’ School before 1940 was to prepare girls for marriage and motherhood. Islamic studies classes were the most prominent aspect of the girls’ school curriculum in the lower standards.
31 The stigma against boys’ schools in rural areas only faded in the 1940s when colonial officials directly coordinated with Quranic teachers. ”32 The difficulties around Islamic studies in boys’ schools served as a warning to officials as they responded to the elite’s demands for the Arab Girls’ School. Of course, it also helped that “marketable skills” were not a factor in girls’ education, at least not when the first school opened in the late 1920s. As with the French experiments, collaboration bore Islamic/ Western institutions that reflected the patriarchal ideals of both local elites and colonial officials.
After the seven-day instruction, some non-elite girls then joined communal dance ceremonies (unyago), at which initiation instructors demonstrated the mechanics of sexual intercourse and sang verses with overt sexual symbolism. Combined with lessons the girl received on the night before her wedding, this initiation process (ukungwi) formally marked the girl’s transition to womanhood. 48 Elite Arab women who disapproved of this aspect of initiation replaced them with new “respectable” ceremonies in the 1920s.