ĒįćÓĒŚĻ ĒįŌĪÕķ ĒįŃŽćķ

ćŌĒåĻÉ ĒįäÓĪÉ ßĒćįÉ : The Other Woman's Man is so Delicious



ĶČęČÉ
03-17-2013, 03:17 AM
“TheOther Woman’s Man is so Delicious”: Sudanese ‘girls’ Songs’ as a FeministNightmare

By: EimanAbbas H. El-Nour



The hall isbright and colorful with a bewildering variety of toabs (Sudanese Saris)and fashionable dresses; excitement is in the air, and all the crowded space isfilled with visible anticipation. The wait ends with the arrival of the singerand her entourage: three to five women; one would be carrying a dalluka(a clay and skin drum) and in some cases, depending on the singer’s preference,there would also be one or two shatams (tambourines). The singer,feeling all important and usually demanding a perfect setting, would wait untilher seating place, the sound system, and the way her audience is seated is toher liking to ensure maximum audience participation and satisfaction.

Some singersprefer to be accompanied by an organ or a keyboard instead of the traditional dalluka,and the singing group in this case would consist of the singer and the organplayer. The singer would usually start with a familiar or traditional song toinsure participation of the audience and get them into the mood. The occasionusually determines the choice of songs; the dalluka songs aretraditionally associated with the” bride dance”, a traditional dance repertoireperformed by the bride usually on al-subhiya (the second day of thewedding festivities). The bride who intends to perform this dance spends abouta month before the actual day learning and rehearsing the dance sequences. Eachdance is associated with a certain song which often includes a description ofthe bride, her beauty, the high pedigree of her family, and how lucky the groomis to have her as his bride;

Al mihaira‘igd al jalad sweetscented foal;

Al nar ya‘aroosna ourbride you are a burning fire

‘Areesikghalabo al thabat your groom became so restless

Inti algamara ma bishbahook you are themoon that is without an equal

Inti almalkabit al milook you are thequeen, daughter of kings

‘Areesikghalabo al thabat yourgroom became so restless

ĶČęČÉ
03-17-2013, 03:19 AM
The bridedance used to include something like a game; as the bride is into her dancing, shesuddenly stops dancing and sits on the floor in a dramatic, well-rehearsed,move. The groom is supposed to be alert enough to catch her before she ‘falls’,if he failed, which usually happens, this is considered a goal scored againsthim. The bride would be kneeling on the floor covering her eyes with both handsand smiling victoriously. This episodeinjects into the already happy atmosphere a sense of fun and amusement.Recently, however, most brides would refrain from acting out the falling gamedismissing it as childish and unsophisticated.

Otheroccasions include parties for boy’s circumcision, naming ceremonies, andengagement parties. Recently femalegraduates from rich families have a ghannaya (female singer) party tocelebrate their graduation. Some times women of comfortable means gather in oneof their homes to have a relaxed leisurely, girls only, time and they invite a ghannaya to sing for them.

Traditionally,female songs were usually sung by a group of older women, and played animportant role in the social and cultural history of the Sudan. They wereused o celebrate the bravery of Sudanese men as proud protectors of theircountry.

During the so called Anglo-Egyptian Condominium (1899) somefemale singers appeared on stage, who also participated in political issues.They sang on the frontline during World war Two to encourage the Sudanesesoldiers, they participated in demonstrations against colonial rule and sangsongs about achieving independence. Aisha al-Fellatia was the best known singerat that time and was often called the ‘mother of Arts’. (Westende, 2009: 39)



Female hamassa(battle songs) authors and performers were a powerful driving force in encouraging fighters on their way tobattle and raise their moral and sense of duty. Their songs contain patrioticvalues as well as praise of chivalry and heroism. Many of the songs which areused to fan fighters or hail heroes are anonymous; they are part of an oldheritage passed from generation to generation. The moment the singing starts,the audience leaves their seats, cracking their fingers and waving their sticksor swords amid loud ululations from the proud females. A good example of thatis famous song:

Ana laihombagool salam

Dakhaloha wasigaira ham

Here thepoet is promoting the bravery of her people and their victory which left thescattered corpses of the enemy for eagles to feed on.

The objectof their praise and admiration is often described as akho albanat (The girls’ brother) ‘sha albaytat (provider of food for those who would sleep hungry) Mugna’alkashfat (provider of cover and protection for needy women) representingthe ultimate embodiment of the value of Sudanese society:

Akhui alma bingadir my brother, the invincible

Sail al wadi al minhadir cascading flood water

Jabalu ma bintali’ hismountain is too high for climbers

Sid al asil walnas fari’ you are the trunk others are mere branches



Saifu waktain yinshari’ whenhe lifts his sword

Biyakhd azzoal wal diri he takes thefighter and his shield

ĶČęČÉ
03-17-2013, 03:21 AM
HawaAltagtaga is good representative to these singers who performs hamasa songs as well as popularcelebration songs and is still, in her eighties, an important and popularfigure in the Sudanese musical scene:

Hawa Altagtaga was one of the pioneer singers, whohad participated in the struggle for independence. At the time she made, forexample, the following song:

Ahtif wa-agol ‘alani I shout and say loudly:

‘Ash al kifah al watani longlive the national struggle

Nihna ya habaybna wa ya garaibna weshout, my friends and Britanya ya zalmah wa dareen matalibna relatives,

Britain you are unfair and you have to fulfill our claims. .(Westende, 2009: 53)





Thetraditionally admired attributes ofchivalry began to take second place during the eighties and nineties, and werereplaced by a new set of favored qualities; the desired male is now describedin these songs , referred to as ghuna al banat (girls’ songs) asphysically attractive : tall with darkcomplexion (akhdr tawil), tall and well built(fari’ qawamak), has drowsy eyes(‘uyunu na’sana), but still at that time women singers wereechoing women’s dream of a ‘arees(bridegroom) who possesses certain social status and gentlemanly qualities;

If you are going to Paris, Yal mashi lai Paris

Bring me a husband, Jeeb lai ma’aaka ‘aris

He must be elegantly dressed Shartan yikun libbis

One of the teaching staff Minhayat al tadris



A smooth dark complexion, Khudrana’ma

A tender voice, Saut hinayin

The one whom I love, Albaridu

Is prominent among his people Min ahlu bayin

ĶČęČÉ
03-17-2013, 03:31 AM
These simple and shy demands represented the period when Sudanese womenwere still finding their way in a traditional society when female singers werevery few in number and were actually looked upon as “loose women”

I perceived their roles as important,because they performed at weddings, probably the most important ritual insociety, and ambiguous, because the singers had a ‘loose’ reputation and werecommonly accused of singing a repertoire of ‘sensual’ and ‘shameful’ songs. Thesingers were popular and could, when they were in demand, earn a lot of money,but were also commonly perceived as ‘bad women.’ (Westende, 2009: 38)

This marginalization and stereotyping is not surprising in asociety where all working women were regarded as having dubious morals as theyare freely mixing with men in the work place. Women were mostly house bound andnot complaining.



Because traditionallythese are male-dominated professions so that a woman who goes into these areas,is regarded as a wayward woman or worse still, as a prostitute, even though shemay be married. Although societal attitudes and values are changing and peopleseem to be more accommodating of changes brought about by modernization to be aprofessional in this case, a woman must be prepared to risk her reputation, andsometimes her marriage. Paradoxically, society tends to enjoy or applaud themusic produced by women.(Kassam, 1996: 117)





Most of the haqibasongs glorified the image of the woman who is almost invisible and who, just bya strike of luck, the poet had a chance to glance at on one of her rare visitsto her neighbors’ house or at one of the segregated wedding parties:



The haqiba poem is alove poem it is a ęÕŻ (description) poem and it is very muchsensual being influenced by the classic expression and model of beauty. It alsodepends on imagination as they rarely saw women. The wedding party which was asocial event was the only place where young men could see a young lady althoughthe young man could not talk to

her as she wassegregated and completely veiled with the exception of her eyes. It was theonly chance where the young man could select a lady to court. He could thenmake the offer to the family not to the lady herself. (Soghayroon, 2010:197)



The early 1990s witnessed a new type of songs which transferred thealready frowned upon girls’ songs into what is known today as ŪäĒĮ åĒČŲ (trash songs). Thisterm is given to this type of songs because of the language of expression whichis implied in some instances but most of the time it is a very sensual andprovocative language. The language of the songs combined with the openly sexualdancing routines performed by the singer herself and some of her audienceinstigated the negative stereotype of the popular female singers as “loosewomen”. The generally conservative Sudanese society mirrors the usual socialprejudices in the Arabo-Islamic world; the image of shikha in theMoroccan culture is a similar example:

The "footsteps"of the shikha, a female performer, trace the patterns of propriety andimpropriety in Moroccan culture. Her body is a socially designated site ofshamelessness in that her social mask requires a refusal of deference rules andmoral norms. By artistically publicizing the intimacies of private life in thepublic space of ritual and secular celebration, the shikha sets cultural definitionsof public and private domains into relief. She does this by overstepping socialboundaries in a performance mode designated for such activity. By assertion ofsexual liberty in heterosexualcompany-expressed in song lyrics,physical postures, and provocative dance movements-the shikha transformssexuality into a commodity and, in turn, herself becomes a fetishized commodityoccupying the margins of Moroccan society. (Kapchan, 1994: 86)



People in their 40s or 50s who witnessed “better days” insist on callingthese type of songs `trash’ arguing that society should not be molded by suchdubious ideas. The young generation, on the other hand, refuse the term, arguingthat these songs represented their needs and what they face in everyday life,and consequently they reflected the realities of society because it is theyouth who represented the society of today.

Those who reject these songs, lyrics as well as music, from a religiousperspective, dismiss them as haram (forbidden in Islam); althoughacknowledging that celebrating a happy occasion is perfectly permissible, as singingand beating their drums as to announce a marriage was familiar since the timeof the Prophet. But the objection to present situation stems from a rejectionto almost every social behavior connected with wedding celebrations in general,such as free mixing between the sexes and the clothes and make up. The song anddance is the icing on the forbidden cake. Some elders in the community regardthis as an unfavorable omen for start of a new blessed liaison.

ĶČęČÉ
03-17-2013, 03:33 AM
What’s in a Name

What distinguishes this type of songs is that they do not seem to haveknown authors. The lyrics are mostly short phrases which keep growing, shiftingand acquiring a new flavor as people continue to add to them; sometimes thesinger, the band and the driver who drives them contribute in composing thesong. But some people claim that the earliest songs of thistype were written by famous Sudanese poets such as Omar Alsha’ir who wrote thefamous song aljalabya to one of his singerfriends. However, the song keeps getting adapted and gaining more lyrics as thesituation requires.







Your jalabya, Jallabiya

Is very white and clean. Baida makwiya

Oh my love, Habibi

Am afraid they will give you the evil eye. Bisharuklaya







Like with the early girls’ songs, the dalluka stayed the main, and most favored, musical instrument especially in the case ofbridal dance. Recently a new kind of music had been improvised: a combinationof modern instruments namely the keyboard or the organ mixed with rhythmicclapping. This “new music” is now known as Alrubu ’music, after the person whocreated it( Aymen al rubu’)

In addition to this connection between music and musician there is an evenstronger link between the song and the singer. The singer’s own identity is linkedto some of her well known songs. Somesingers get their ‘stage’ name from the title of their most famous song; forexample:

Mona Alkhayna (Mona the traitor). She got this name fromone of her songs in which she says:

The one who betrayed you not worthy ofyour tears.

Al khaina mabtistahal ‘alaiha tanzil dam’a

‘Awadya ‘Azab ( Awadiyya misery), Najat Ghurza (Najat obstruction)

(Ghurza is a coined term for some one who comes in betweentwo lovers with the intention of causing them to split)



Hanan Bakumba (the bakumba is a type of porridge used in fatteningbrides before the wedding; a phrase in one of her songs)

This game of association is not unique to Sudanese girls’ songs;

The titles of the songs do not help anyclaim that tries to defend the songs against being branded”trash”. Most titlesreflect the deteriorating economic situation of the whole country,where girls view marrying a rich husband as their only salvation. Where marriage hasbecome the last station which many girls never succeed to reach, and arebranded as spinsters who have “missed the train” or are about to, and as thenumber of men willing to ask for a woman’s hand in marriage is dwindling, thecompetition between girls on winning a suitable husband is getting more intense.So the song war starts.

You, the rich one (ya al murawwig)

You whose money is filling banks (ya al girshak mali al bunuk)

You whose pockets are heavy, carrying money, come to us and we will carryyou(ya al gaibak tagil ta’al laina bnashilak shail) And:

Ya akhwanna al zaman fat Oh my dears time is ticking



Al raid biga hisabat Love isbut calculations

Or:

‘Arabitu al Cressida. His car, the Cressida

Samha wa samih sida Beautiful as its owner

Al ghalya wa jadida A new and expensive car

Al marka al ana barida the brand that I like

Barido wa arid gurushu I love him and I love his money

Abadan ma basibo Iwill never leave him

Lao aharib jiushu If I have to fight his armies



The “desperate” girl speaks explicitly about her material needs andpassion for wealth and comfort which she intends on achieving by any meanspossible;

Sajil lai al raida registeryour love in my name

Register your cars in my name Sajil lai ‘arabatak

Register your companies in my name Sajil lai sharikatak

Register your mother’s furniture in my name Sajillai ‘afash ummak

Register your mother’s gold inmy name Sajil lai dahab ummak………..

then good riddance inta albala yikummak



This direct ‘material’ song was a hit for a considerable amount of timeduring the 1980s and continues to captivate audiences and bring out theirululations and enthusiastic clapping. However, the song which is theincontestable “Top of the Pops” these days is the song entitled “the marriedman” or “the other woman’s husband”. The song is the ultimate feministnightmare; expressing how wonderful it is to marry someone who is alreadymarried; to become a second or a third wife. The tune is famous and easilyrecognized by the crowd which becomes almost hysterical when it starts playing,all standing up joining in with the singing and dancing in earnest.

The singer addresses the singing, dancing crowd aiming to add more totheir enthusiasm;(al ma bitsaffig in shaAllah ma yi’arrisuha) the girl who doesn’t claps may she never gets a husband. Thenuproar intensifies and the clapping and cheering would reach the sky. And ofcourse the singer is over the moon as this cheering guarantees a flow of moneydropped over her head, tucked in her bosom or entrusted to one of her companions.More importantly, it guarantees thecontinuity of her successful career. Another winning tactic is the calling ofpeoples’ names within a song; the singer would call out some (male or female) namesthat coincide with names of people at the party, causing their relatives andfriends to cheer or ululate. People tease each other by asking the singer tocall out the name of someone they love, they hate, orsomeone betrayed them…..etc. The floor becomes a theatre of chaos and thrill:





Different rules ofbehaviour apply in festive contexts, as the ordinary and quotidian gives way tothe extraordinary and exceptional (Abrahams 1986).



Events such asweddings inevitably provide counter performances to everyday norms andconventions by putting them into differential and experiential relief.(Kapchan, 1994: 88)



The songs and the negative connotations they carry do not seem to causeany distress to the girls who value their self worth only through finding ahusband, albeit another woman’s man, or conning another into putting all hisworldly possessions, and his mother’s, in her name.

ĶČęČÉ
03-17-2013, 03:35 AM
Adding insult to injury


A large number of these songs play a major role in increasingpsychological and social pressure on women. In the song Bortalbanat (girls becoming spinsters), the totally politically incorrect andantifeminist lyrics tell that the worst disaster in a girl’s life is for her tostay unmarried. This is a constant social stigma on those blameless girls whousually feel singled out and picked upon through no fault of their own. Thissocial pressure is already prevalent in the Sudanese society being aconservative society which encourages marriage as protection, for both sexes,against forbidden liaisons. The result of the social prejudice stated in thistype of song leads to a new set of social ethics publicly condoned andencouraged by women who are, in this case, the victims and the perpetrators.This new “genre” is to do with publicizing and glorifying polygamy. One ofthese songs goes:


Rajl al mara hilu hala The otherwoman’s man is so delicious


Rajl al mara ta’mu bara The other woman’sman’s taste is so unique!


Ana jayak ya khaina I amcoming to you, traitor


Kan inti sahya wala naima Be you asleep or awake,


Kan inti marato al ula If you are hisfirst wife,


Ana la ula la Tanya Then I amneither first nor second,


Rajl al guwa da Aman you snatch away


Hilu hala Is so, so delicious


The semi hysterical crowed would all repeat the line, a married man is so,so delicious!


Although polygamy is practiced in Sudan as it is condoned by Islamic law,this scale of public acknowledgement and social acceptance was never known inthe society.


This manifestation of feminist dilemma is prevalent in mostAfrican countries, where women are not equal to their male counterparts ineducation, work, or social status, and the majority of them mostly live a lifeof dependency and subordination. M’Pongo Love, a famous Zairian singer told areporter who asked her whether she was singing feminist songs:


With polygamy, being feminist in Africahas a strange sound. To convince your self, it is enough to observe thelanguage of the wrappers that the women wear – all those wraparound bolts ofwax cloth, of fancy, or of batik. The designs have names like “My Rival’s Eye”(all red from crying or anger); “My Foot, Your foot” (drawings of steps thatwarn the husband that his wife will follow him); “Mistress, let Me Have MyHusband.” But alongside “Jealousy,” “Apple of Divorce,” and “My Husband’s PackAnimal,” The fabric designs also refer to housework, money, the disappointmentsof the city, the difficulties of childbearing, and the ordinary life of theAfrican woman. (Tenaille, 2002: 134-135)





As these songs being a constant reminder of their forced situation, someof these “spinsters” are voicing objection to this social insensitivity,arguing that this attitude is an anti-Islamic stance which rejects therecommended fatalist approach to all life’s “tests”. The famous Arabic sayingthat marriage is divinely destined and ordained (qisma wa nasib) is widelyaccepted in Sudanese society, and people, especially women, resort to it forsolace.


An unmarried friendcommented that these songs are responsible for our misery; they describe theperfect woman for the perfect man; others like us who do not possess these “idealqualities” of beauty or wealth have to settle for less than desired. When askedwhat she thought of the song ( the otherwoman’s man), she replied “do you think that a girl like me who is 37, with nojob and nothing to do, do you think that I have time to say I want this and Idon’t want that? I swear if anyone proposed to me I will grab him and run awayeven if he was a married man. Beggars can not be choosers”. Apparently sheidentifies with the ideas in this new trend in songs and sees the only way outof her social predicament is to resign herself to the possibility of being asecond wife. The lyrics and tone give hope, or at least solace, to listeners insimilar situations. This is certainly not a unique Sudanese phenomenon, In his article on 'Love and money in Kinois popularmusic’, Trapido, Josep points to similar instances of audience relatingemotionally and physically to music,








While partner dancingis considered the ‘correct’ response to the rumba section, other forms of participationare more common. Chief among these is singing along. Individuals throwthemselves


into the lyrics, byturns pressing their hands to their hearts and outstretching and shaking theirhands, as if imploring an imaginary interlocutor; gestures that real singerswill also often make when performing. More than anything else these gesturesseem to define the space of the bar as an arena where delicate passions are tobe performed. The identification with the protagonist that takes place duringthe rumba section appears to inculcate various types of romantic feelings inthe listener, and the lyrics, the vocal tones adopted by the


singer, and thegestures, all assert the irresistible importance of romantic love in humanexistence, albeit in despairing fashion (Joseph, 2010: 131)

ĶČęČÉ
03-17-2013, 03:37 AM
Other women thought that the people who wrote such songs were just havinga laugh, nothing serious or sinister was intended. Others say it reflected theconditions of a society where women outnumbered men as a result of wars, sothese songs are actually doing society a service in promoting the idea of getting married to a married man.


The men , as expected, werepositively on the side of the song, asserting that it made them feel desired, and this exactly what men needbecause they are never satisfied with one woman and their wives must acceptthis fact referring to the belief that men’s sexual desire are stronger thanthat of women. Although many married women agreed that it’s just words girlslike to repeat, to enjoy themselves or tease married friends, some, includingsecond wives, show anxiety towards such songs and confess that they give them asense of insecurity.


This feeling of insecurity stays with the second wife, as she would alwaysexpect to have a taste of her own medicine. Matters are not helped by theprevalence in Sudanese culture of proverbs, songs, and sayings to the effectthat what goes around comes around, and he, or she, who digs a hole for hisbrother will end up falling in it. Songson this theme would be a poignant reminder that the sweetness of the marriedman might eventually turn into bitterness. This state of affairs is not withouta hopeful party; as the first wife, believing in the same proverb, dreams thatone day there will be a third wife and she will get her retribution on thesecond wife.


The question that comes to mind is: why do the singers, and indeed theaudience, find it necessary to demonstrate this abject hostility and overtaggressiveness? What turned love into a commodity and women into “predators”and fierce rivals? And is this song culture representative of the Sudanesesociety?


Sticks and stones?


Are there any girls who feel humiliated by these songs?


In a discussion about girls’ songs and their overt and implicit meaning, anumber of girls realized that they were driven by group mentality and some weresurprised and even ashamed of it. Most of the girls, especially educated ones,claimed that they do not pay much attention to words of the songs, rather, theywere responding to the music and the general happy intoxicating atmosphere.


Some words in these songs should be really offensive and totallyunacceptable to women who see themselves as more than sex objects and part of aharem only created for the pleasure of her master:


Whether she is elevated to the status ofa goddess or reduced to the level of a prostitute, the designation isdegrading, for he does the naming whereas her experience as a woman is trivializedand distorted. Metaphorically, she is of the highest importance; practicallyshe is nothing. She has no autonomy, no status as a character, for her personand her story are shaped to meet the requirements of his vision. One of theserequirements is that she provides attractive packaging. She is thus constructedas beauty, eroticism, fecundity – the qualities the male Self values most inthe female Other. (Makuchi and Abbenyi, 1997: 5)





Words that describe big breasted girls as taza (fresh [milk]) andthin girls as al’dum da, alkalib aba (this bone, even the dog rejectedit ) as the traditional Sudanese society prefers women who are overweight,regarding this as a sign of prosperity and comfort. Girls who are on the thinside are ridiculed in songs and folk narrative. This social attitude lead manythin girls to feel uncomfortable about their body image and desperately try to put on weight by taking weight gaining pills which are sold under the counter,putting themselves in fatal danger some times. The pills promise miracles andquick results, hence they carry names like the clap, the shootingstar, you watch tomorrow, etc


This strange reaction to thehumiliating lyrics demonstrates the power of words and their effect onvulnerable girls and the limits they are willing to go to in order to conformto the desirable images as projected in these popular songs. One notices theabsence of counter narrative or any lyrics that promote women empowerment or denouncethe existing song culture. Women singers and their songs could be powerfulagents of change and social reform. M’Pongo Love, a famous Zairian singer realizedthe effective role she could play as a woman with a double mission;entertainment and empowerment:


“I sing about women’s problems, I try to givethem courage… and I will stop singing when the relations between men and womenin Africa become problem free. But what African man doesn’t have a mistress? Inaddition to a hard life, women have a lot to endure. I have a feminist duty tosee they fight, that they defend themselves, that they hold their heads high,that they take independent women as examples.” And she added; “We must know howto stay what we are, we African women without fearing all the modernism that weneed to assimilate.” (Tenaille, 2002:134-135)


Feminism as an ideological philosophy seeks to radically alter the traditional image of women insociety:


To deconstruct the image of the female,an image that has, perennially, been subjected to routine objectification andrhythms of prejudices and stereotypes under male hegemony and domination. Toretrieve the female self from the vice-grips of patriarchy. To inscribe thefemale self in the contours of society that is under phallic oppression andrepression. To assert and affirm the indispensability of the female as acomplementary in a societal engineering processes. (Tsaaior, 2011: 48)

ĶČęČÉ
03-17-2013, 03:39 AM
This ideological stance does not stand on firm grounds on the Sudanesecultural scene. . The majority of Sudanese women try to make their demandswithin the frame work of the dominant culture. In the 1960s, even Fatima AhmedIbrahim , a member of the Sudan Communist Party and president of the SudanWomen’s Union saw that the time was not right to implement reforms dealing withgender relation in Sudanese society, she viewed the idea as ‘premature and secondary to engaging womenin national politics at large’,(Ibrahim,2010:1)


Few women, most probably politically committed to leftist ideologies andother educated women engage in feminist discourse. Not totally at peace withthe way the society is structured, they rallyin collective attempt to challenge patriarchyand reassert their role in a male dominated society:


A feminism of sortsstarted to emerge on the scene:





wo­men on individualand community level have shown dynamism, formed many country basedorganisations to help each other, started their own business, headedhouseholds, migrated to towns for work or education in large numbers, currently52% of the students population in universities are females, migrated outsidethe Sudan, decided to mix with foreigners (an issue that used to be a taboo forSudanese women especially from educated families). New models of life stylesincluding student or working women living by themselves, marrying in what hasbecome known as secret marriage without family consent, living as partners,becoming active in political and civil societies, in the media and engaging inrelief activities that demanded travelling to dangerous zo­nes, aid activitiesthat required late returns home. They managed to combine family responsibilityand activism or work without extended family support with only the support oftheir husbands by negotiating a division of labour.(Badri,2006:14)




The stories in the girls’ songs at discussions are, more often than not,written by women. The male participation is supervised and condoned by women; and, as a rule, sung by women infront of a largely female audience; an audience which is by no means passive,instead, it is an enhancing, participating part of the performance. For thelyrics to succeed, they must gain the approval of this audience. With all thesefacts in place why do some women consciously and activelypromote this negative, even derogative, image of the self and worship of theother? And how could this attitude bereversed, or at least contained? Couldthe following suggestions of professor Balghis Badri holdthe key to a possible answer:

It is the forces of themarket economy, education and transmigration together with the little influenceof transfeminist movements that brought change to the lives of many women indifferent ways. We have to em­phasise our attention and efforts on these forcesas they are the key to let the individual women’s forces become collective inorder to accelerate change to promote the women’s profile, address the rootcauses of a structural nature to end gender based discrimination, subordinati­onand violence.(Badri,2006:14)