I cite a little prayer: name your black feminist sources

Ideas

I cite a little prayer: name your black feminist sources

Writing about the manyano movement is important work, but we also have to talk about the politics of citation

Dr Athambile Masola

The manyano movement is one of the most visible black women’s movements. Its history stretches back to the late 1800s. Growing up in the Methodist church, I often heard that oomama bayidiesel yecawa — mothers are the diesel of the church — implying that without oomama, the church would not exist.

In part one of her essay Panashe Chigumadzi locates Charlotte Maxeke’s legacy within the story of umanyano in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Chigumadzi paints a vivid picture of her conversations with current leaders of the AME manyano in Johannesburg.

Even while umanyano occupies an important place in the cultural imagination and social fabric in black communities, we seldom know the names of the women who keep these organisations alive. I was impressed that Chigumadzi inserted conversations she had with AME Manyano women, who are often erased from the story about the AME church in this particular case, but more especially in churches such as the Methodist, Anglican, Presbyterian and Amaziyoni churches...

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