Elizabeth Musodzi & the Birth of African Feminism in Early Colonial Zimbabwe

Tsuneo Yoshikuni

 

Synopsis

Professor Tsuneo Yoshikuni was a serious student of life in the early townships. His research led him inevitably to the story of Mai Elizabeth Musodzi, whose life and work was exemplary at a time when the role of women was often not taken seriously. Mai Musodzi was born in the Gomba area around 1885. As a child, she experienced the first chimurenga, losing her parents in this struggle, before subsequently receiving a mission education at Chishawasha. She was a founder of the Harare African Women’s Club, an instructor in the Red Cross society, and active in various welfare agencies. As a keen gardener and small farmer she inspired women to better themselves through their own efforts, acquiring a reputation of the ‘uncrowned Queen of Harari’.

Review

Written accessibly and drawing on written archives and memories of those who knew Elizabeth Musodzi, this is a book that everyone interested in the history of Harare must-read.

Author

Tsuneo Yoshikuni was a pioneer of Zimbabwean urban and social history and published a collection of essays on the subject in Japan. A manuscript of his reworked PhD thesis was published by Weaver Press in Harare.