Years before the second wave of feminism began to take form in the West, there was a woman making activist waves in Nigeria.
She was a woman nationalist named Funmilayo Anikulapo-Kuti.
Her feminism and democratic socialism lead to the creation of The Abeokuta women’s union (AWU) and later Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF), organisations and movements that aided Kuti to promote women’s rights to education, employment and to political participation.
When King Alake Ademola of Egbaland wanted to impose taxes on women, Kuti and the AWU clan went to protest using the slogan ‘no taxation without representation’. They were not equal members of society and were strongly opposed to paying taxes until the injustices were rectified.
As the women protested outside the Alake’s house, they sang in Yoruba:
“Alake, for a long time you have used your penis as a mark of authority that you are our husband.
Today we shall reverse the order and use our vagina to play the role of husband.”
Their unified actions resulted remarkably in the King’s abdication.*