The first of four volumes in the Women Writing Africa Project, this landmark collection presents two centuries of texts by African women and reveals a powerful cultural legacy. Ranging from communal songs and folk tales to letters, diaries, poems, fiction, interviews, court records, and other documents, the texts offer a vivid picture of African women's lives. Their work and families, their experiences with the cruelty of colonialism and war, and their struggles for civil rights are described in voices young and old, of diverse racial and ethnic identities. The volume includes Urieta Kazahendike, an early convert to Christianity, and Queen Regent Labotsibeni of Swaziland, as well as writers and activists such as Bessie Head, Doris Lessing, Nadine Gordimer, Sindiwe Magona, and Winnie Mandela.

Professor Busia, a poet and short story writer, is Project Co-Director of Women Writing Africa. She has been involved in producing groundbreaking and historic published collections of African and Indian women writers, who have rarely been heard and never before gathered in one publication.