This document is from the opening speech – given by Samora Machel – of the First Conference of Mozambican Women. In this speech, Machel answers the question “why women’s liberation?” She explores the basis of women’s exploitation and oppression, how it is replicated, and why it should be disrupted – especially within the context of a colonial revolution.
“The liberation of women is not an act of charity. It is not the result of a humanitarian or compassionate position. It is a fundamental necessity for the Revolution, a guarantee of its continuity, and a condition for its success.
The Revolution’s main objective is to destroy the system of the exploitation of man by man, the construction of a new society which will free human potentialities and reconcile work and nature. It is within this context that the question of women’s liberation arises.”
In this speech, Frantz Fanon discusses the effects that colonization has on the culture of those colonized. Additionally, Fanon explores the connections between liberation and culture.
“The nation is not only the condition of culture, its fruitfulness, its continuous renewal, and its deepening. It is also a necessity. It is the fight for national existence which sets culture moving and opens to it the doors of creation. Later on it is the nation which will ensure the conditions and framework necessary to culture.”
Frantz Fanon – who was born in the French colony Martinique – extensively wrote about decolonization. According to Fanon, decolonization is always a violent process. The violence involved in decolonization for Fanon is a cleansing process for the colonized and violence is necessary for complete liberation. This conclusion of The Wretched of the Earth is a call to action for decolonized African nations. Fanon warns against European and Western thought. Instead, he advocates for the creation of a new man, a new consciousness, and a new way of thinking.
So, comrades, let us not pay tribute to Europe by creating states, institutions and societies which draw their inspiration from her. Humanity is waiting for something other from us than such an imitation, which would be almost an obscene caricature… if we want humanity to advance a step father, if we want to bring it up to a different level than that which Europe has shown it, then we must invent and make new discoveries.