Gender politics and politics in gender in Iringa District (Tanzania)

  • Cecilia Mignanti University of Pavia


The paper deals with gender politics in Tanzania through a social, historical and literary perspective. This analysis is the result of a two months fieldwork based in the rural area of the Iringa region, where I collected data related to gender-based issues expressed by women and girls of several ages and generations thanks to the collaboration with two NGO’s that operate in the area, namely the Tanzanian PSBF and the Italian CEFA. Through a historical analysis, this paper sheds the light on the women’s active participation in the liberation movements since pre-colonial time in Tanganyika and then Tanzania, presenting the path of several women’s struggles that contributed to the ideation of the gender politics of today.

Nowadays, patriarchal oppression is strictly bounded to globalization and cash-based economy. These topics are analysed in the Swahili literal repertoire and discussed by the contemporary African feminist movements that will be presented above.


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Author Biography

Cecilia Mignanti, University of Pavia

Cecilia Mignanti is a PhD student in Linguistics at the University of Pavia, currently working on a project about Southern Maa cattle colour terms. She holds a MA degree in “Asian and African Languages for International Communication and Cooperation” at the University of Turin. She has studied and done fieldwork in Iringa and Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), focusing on the Swahili language, literature and customs, also studying the cultures and the history of East African peoples. With Graziella Acquaviva she published: Acquaviva, Graziella and Cecilia Mignanti. 2019. “Kuvaa na kuvalia maana yake nini? Covering and Uncovering the Female Body: New Trends in the Tanzanian Fashion.” Kervan 23/1: 49-75; and Acquaviva, Graziella and Cecilia Mignanti. 2019. “Face to Face with the Natural Environment: A Look at African Literature.” Kervan 23/2: 75-96.

Cecilia can be reached at: or