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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Negotiating Power: A Study of the Ben Ka Di Women's Association in Bamako, Mali
Author:Modic, Kate
Periodical:Africa Today
Geographic term:Mali
Subjects:women's organizations
songs (form)
Women's Issues
Development and Technology
Abstract:Women's associations in Africa are widespread, serving a variety of social purposes for its members and the local community. Within these official female domains, women are able to make decisions, deal with problems, and hold positions of leadership not as readily accessible outside of the association structure. In the Banankabougou neighbourhood on the outskirts of Bamako, Mali, a group of women has created their own voluntary association, 'Ben Ka Di' (Agreement is Sweet). The 'Ben Ka Di' association, whose membership exceeded two hundred in 1990-1991, when fieldwork was carried out, provides entertainment support for its members during their relatives' 'den kungow' (life cycle events). This paper focuses on the dynamics of power in the 'Ben Ka Di' association's events, negotiated through performance in three forms: 1) in the musical event as representation and enactment of reproductive power, 2) in circumcision events in which women, dressed as men, play with the power of gender in performance, and 3) in the emotional power in songs of praise and social criticism. Notes, ref.