chapter  2
26 Pages

Oral Histories of Gender in Flux: Challenging Popular Perceptions about the State of Gender in South Kivu, Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo

WithTheo Hollander

This chapter explores collective and individual memory and current-day discourses and representations of the past, stretching from a past beyond living memory to a past well remembered by the respondents themselves. Gender performances, norms, identities and relations are fluid and always changing. These changes are usually slow and hardly noticeable, but there are also times when gender balances are shaken significantly in a relatively short time span. The chapter describes four periods that stand out in the oral tradition, collective memories and individual memories as times in which gender performances, relations and norms underwent significant change. It explains gender shifts that happened during the colonial time. It also discusses the Mulele rebellion and the fourth section addresses its direct aftermath. The Mulele rebellion is referred to as the Simba rebellion. This was remembered by my elderly informants, some of whom had fought in it, while others lived through it in other capacities.