In towns and cities women's education under a Christian missionary direction took root. The oldest girls' school in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Annie Walsh Memorial School, was set up in Sierra Leone in 1847. In 1907 the first girls' school was established in Lagos.
Women's views and interests began to be voiced in newspapers and magazines, for example the Nnamdi Azikwe's publication The Pilot had a women's page in it. The Sierra Leone Daily Mail featured women's points of view and snap shots of domestic life on a regular basis.
"When my husband has finished a boiled egg, he always reverses the shell in the eggcup, making the egg appear untouched. This childish habit never fails to annoy me." - Female Contributor to the Daily Mail, 1936.
Women's organisations sprung up all over the continent. In Nigeria, the Lagos Women's League was founded. In Mombasa, Kenya, Muslim dance societies were set up. In South Africa the Bantu Women's League was created. A number of South African women writers emerged. Victoria Swaartbooi, Lilith Kakaza, and Violet Dube produced short stories and short novels, in Xhosa and Zulu.
Between the world wars there are a number of instances of women challenging colonial authority. In 1929 political protest triggered among other things by high taxes in south eastern Nigeria, took on a form of mass militancy. Women went about attacking factories and government offices in Owerri Province.
During the Second World War, in Senegal, the Joola priestess Aline Sitoe protested against the demands put on farmers to produce large quantities of rice. Some women built on the status they acquired through their husbands. For example Mrs. Roberts, the wife of the first President of Liberia J. J. Roberts, was an energetic fundraiser and travelled abroad for that purpose long after her husband's death.
"During a visit to London in 1910, this writer met Mrs. Roberts at the home of Mr. William Archer, the first coloured man to become Mayor of Battersea, a district of the Metropolis. Mrs. Roberts notwithstanding the weight of ninety one years, was clear in mind and wonderfully active. She was in England on official business.
In previous years she had secured considerable money to erect a hospital in Monrovia, and was endeavouring to enlist the support of English friends to supplement the same through generous gifts." - Haile Q. Brown, Homespun Heroines.
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