Understanding Disempowerment

Concepts and Claims
  • Elinami Veraeli Swai


Women’s knowledge systems are central in the way of life of many African societies.1 Women’s contribution in the development of agriculture is pivotal everywhere in Africa, and Tanzania in particular. Women have incredible knowledge of farming, seeds, herbs, and plants of medicinal and cosmetic value commonly used by people of Africa, and this is considered precious both in the family and community. Women’s knowledge of the roots of particular plants is used in brewing rice beer, the most sacred and popular drink of the people. There are not many studies that have focused on women’s knowledge systems in Africa. There are few studies that have only alluded to this knowledge system by ethnographers, anthropologists, and other disciplines. The problem has been that many of these studies have failed to recognize the gender dimension of knowledge systems, especially in Africa. This is not surprising because many of these scholars were European and had very little means of understanding and deciphering gender dimensions in learning and construction of knowledge.


Rural Community Literacy Skill Knowledge System African Woman Modern Education 
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© Elinami Veraeli Swai 2010

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  • Elinami Veraeli Swai

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