Gender, Health and Socio-Political Issues in Tanure Ojaide’s The Activist
Languages of publication
For many years, gender issues have continued to dominate discourses locally and globally. It is therefore heart-warming to note that women are providing leadership not only at home but in other spheres of life, be it economic, social or political. The exploration and exploitation of oil in the Niger Delta region has resulted in untold hardship, eco-trauma, bio-terrorism and the general neglect of the area. The debacle associated with oil exploration has affected the people and denied them their traditional occupations. Women are not left out and are confronted with new challenges of violence, health and political issues metted on them by the federal government of Nigeria in collaboration with multi-national oil companies, the army, navy and the police. Lives and properties are lost to gas flares, blow out from oil spillage, environmental pollution etc. Meanwhile, the federal government and multi-nationals grow fat at the expense of the poor. Oil capitalism has brought sorrow and doom to the region, as the Delta remains under-developed. Ojaide’s thematic preoccupation in The Activist is to throw more light on the plight of the Niger Delta people especially the women who face various forms of victimizations like rape, miscarriages, occupational disempowerment, pollution, lose of eyesight and other health hazards. This paper seeks to highlight the role of these women who refuse to be seen as docile and second class as well as their socio-political activism in reversing their predicament. Three theories inform the focus of the paper through it’s characters representation namely; eco-feminism, feminism and the Marxism theories as the women and the masses fought the oil workers and their cohorts to a halt to gain full control of the companies and become employers of labour in the once ravaged, impoverished environment by oil companies. The paper is based on library research.
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