This post was inspired by a one entitled "Great Girls Your Daughter Should Know (Before She Reads Twilight)" by Molly of the blog, Molly Makes Do, recommending strong, relatable female characters. While Molly's list does indeed include some inspiring heroines that I recall from reading lists in my youth, it's missing the diversity that girls from world literature can offer us. My contribution to filling that gap is the following list of great girls and young women, from African literature, that all girls, young and old, should get to know.
In alphabetical order:
- Beatrice from Anthills of the Savannah by Chinua Achebe
- Dikeledi from The Collector of Treasures by Bessie Head
- Kainene from Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- Mhudi from Mhudi by Sol T. Plaatje
- Nyasha and Tambu from Nervous Conditions (and Tambu again in The Book of Not) by Tsitsi Dangaremba
- Phephelaphi from Butterfly Burning by Yvonne Vera
- Sissie from Our Sister Killjoy by Ama Ata Aidoo
- Efuru from Efuru by Flora Nwapa (thanks for sharing Belinda!)
Molly makes the point that the girls in her list "can be wildly in love and impressively practical; they are a little too perfect and incredibly flawed. Most of them have happy endings, some of them don't. In an nutshell – these are girls who act like girls." Similarly, the girls in my list are not picture-perfect but instead complex and real.
Who are your favourite girls in African literature? I would love to hear from the guys too. Let's make this a collaborative working list!
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