A Miscarriage of Revolution: Cameroonian Women and Nationalism

TitleA Miscarriage of Revolution: Cameroonian Women and Nationalism
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsTerretta, Meredith
Date Published2007

This article gives an account of Cameroonian women’s role in the radical, anticolonial nationalist movement led by the UPC (Union des populations du Cameroun). Drawing on women’s petitions to the UN, one of the largest collections of political documents written by ordinary African women, as well as archival research and oral interviews, the article explains the formation of the Union démocratique des femmes camerounaises (UDEFEC), a women’s political party linked with the UPC. The study demonstrates that the UDEFEC transcended ethnic, class, educational, and social divides, and popularized nationalism in both urban and rural areas throughout the Trusteeship Territories of Cameroon under French and British administration. By premising issues such as economic autonomy and biological and agricultural fertility, UDEFEC politics wove anti-imperial democracy into locally based political philosophies. More “womanist” than “feminist,” UDEFEC’s history sheds light on the essential components of women’s successful political mobilization in Africa, and contributes to the discussion of women’s involvement in nationalist movements in formerly colonized territories.

Short TitleA Miscarriage of Revolution
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