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Gender in Africa Date Gender in Africa The chapter, presenting research arguments by Hilda Kuper, mainly looks at the peculiarities and contradictions of colonial taxation on morality and the colonial legislation in Belgium Africa…
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Download file to see previous pages Kuper, while introducing the article making the chapter points out that, “I cannot be the first to notice that where women most often appear in the colonial record, is where moral panic surfaced, settled and festered” (53). Thus, the plight of women, having been crafted then, appeared to have continued in the precedent generations. According to the colonial regime of the then Belgium Africa, women only fell in the category of prostitutes, polygamy, adultery and concubines. The author observes that not all moral crises in the African society then emanated from the African actions, rather than the policies of the law itself. Addressing the various types of noises in the African society during the colonial period, the author points out that marriage was the worst hit institution then. However, this was not the only crisis facing Belgium then, as the author reveals a myriad of other crises such as labor, population, infertility, moral as well as sexual crises all affected the country then. Despite these issues affecting the country that time, the colonial government singled out polygamy and prostitution. Passionately, they showed their hatred for these vices, condemning them as early as twenties, and in other cases even earlier. When protesters came out to defend the rights of these individuals and group in the society, the government responded by marginalizing them even further, making their operations even more difficult. Even authors then, such as Arthur’s book criticizing the transition period of king Leopold I, painted three different images of the Congolese women. One was that of fallen woman, the other of the slave and the other of the liberated women in the society. The transitional period, despite its hope to revive the polygamous nature, faced stiff rebellion from different people in the society. There was out ward rejection and discrimination n of the individuals thought to engage in polygamy. For instance, the new tax legislations were supposed to end the ignominy of the Belgium rule, and uplift the standards of the African women by favoring monogamy. Women who had fallen victim of the infamous “forty-four” tax rule policy in the previous regime were released using cash during the new regime” (54). The law further required every man with more than one wife pay a supplementary tax for the extra wife. This clearly showed that the policies set then, even by the government-discouraged polygamy. The biggest contentious n between the reasons for the policy was not whether polygamy was wrong, or the moral values of a man having more than one wife; then biggest argument was that polygamy directly contributed to depopulation of the country. Morally, the African raced could not reproduce, and this even sunk the country into even another crisis, that of low economic production. The progression of the colonial period to the 1920s created a shift on the kind of agitation that the colonials portrayed towards the Africans. There emerged a new form of agitation towards sterility and infertility, a falling birth rate, abstinence, infant mortality rate and increasing industrial labor requirements. However, monogamy was not discouraged un-supported. There were cited reasons why monogamy was good in a society. Among these examples, include Christianity, taxation, the expansion of the colonial obstetric and pediatric services. Due to the effects of this crisis, work and having a wife became a problem of the modern colonial supported anti-polygamy campaign, which ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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