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Title:Domesticating 'Ivoirité': equating xenophobic nationalism and women's marginalisation in Tanella Boni's 'Matins de couvre-feu' (2005)
Author:Moji, Polo
Periodical:International Journal of African Renaissance Studies (ISSN 1818-6874)
Geographic term:Ivory Coast - Côte d'Ivoire
Subjects:women writers
gender roles
About person:Tanella BoniISNI
Abstract:Tanella Boni, an author engaged with African women's emancipation, has written cautionary essays since the 1990s decrying the xenophobic nature of government-sanctioned ivoirité in the Ivory Coast. Forced into exile owing to the subsequent strife (2000-2010), she wrote 'Matins de couvre-feu' (2005), an allegorical novel in which the woman's status as a second-class citizen is equated with that of a foreigner in a xenophobic state. This representation plays on the domestic/public space dichotomy, considered by feminist discourse to be a social barrier to women's equal citizenship. Drawing on Boni's own, feminist, monograph, 'Que vivent les femmes d'Afrique?' (2008), this article explores the internalization of national politics (the public sphere) through the 'domestication' of an anonymous female narrator who is placed under house arrest. Thereafter an analysis of Kanga Ba, a character who is a victim of xenophobic nationalism, is used to substantiate the equation of the woman's social and political marginalization as being that of the foreigner. The argument concludes that Boni's representational framework ultimately subverts the very notion of a public/domestic dichotomy through narrative strategies that illustrate the porous nature of both spaces, thus eliding the separation between private and national experiences. Bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract]