Abstract

The assertion that the mid-twentieth century Black freedom struggles across the African diaspora was a masculine era is one that continues to strike a chord with many African women whose voices have remained absent from the rhetoric on national liberation struggles across the continent. In an effort to broaden and diversify the scholarship on African freedom struggles, which has focused inordinately on masculinist narratives from the Anglophone regions of the continent, this essay centers the experiences of Angolan women and their involvement in the 1961–1975 armed struggle against Portuguese colonialism. It pays particular attention to how nationalist movements deployed the trope of patriotic motherhood to appeal to women to join and support the fight for national independence. Focusing primarily on the maternal body, this essay argues that while women are often rendered invisible in national politics because of their relegation to the domestic realm, their presence as historical agents and patriots in the body politic of the nation is made possible through the figure of a patriotic mother.

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