Gods Bits of Wood

1062 WordsApr 5, 20055 Pages
The evolution of the strike causes an evolution in the self-perceptions of the Africans themselves, one that is most noticeable in the women of Bamako, Thies, and Dakar. These women go from seemingly standing behind the men in their lives, to walking alongside them and eventually marching ahead of them. When the men are able to work the jobs that the train factory provides them, the women are responsible for running the markets, preparing the food, and rearing the children. But the onset of the strike gives the role of bread-winner-or perhaps more precisely bread scavenger-to the women. Women go from supporting the strike to participating in the strike. Eventually it is the women that march on foot, over four days from Thies to Dakar. Many…show more content…
The men who once acted as providers for their family, now rely on their wives to scrape together enough food in order to feed the families. The new, more obvious reliance on women as providers begins to embolden the women. Since the women now suffer along with their striking husbands, the wives soon see themselves as active strikers as well. The strategy of the French managers, or toubabs as the African workers call them, of using lack of food and water to pressure the strikers back to work, instead crystallizes for workers and their families the gross inequities that exist between them and their French employers. The growing hardships faced by the families only strengthens their resolve, especially that of the women. In fact, some of the husbands that consider faltering are forced into resoluteness by their wives. It is the women, not the men, who defend themselves with violence and clash with the armed French forces. The women instinctively realize that women who are able to stand up to white men carrying guns are also able to assert themselves in their homes and villages, and make themselves a part of the decision making processes
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