Violence Towards South Asian Women in the Economic Sector of East Africa, 1972-2012
Mentor:Richard Marcus, Director of International Studies, California State University Long Beach
South Asian women began settling in the East African countries of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania in the late 19th century. They joined their husbands and other male relatives who first came as indentured laborers recruited by the British Crown and later transitioned into a subculture of traders. As traders, South Asians took near complete control of the East African economy which attracted antagonism of the colonial settlers and African aspirations after independence from colonial rule. African aspirations after independence subjected South Asian women to threats, abductions and rape prior to their and their families’ exodus from East Africa. This violence continues on till the present as the East African countries of Uganda and Kenya decided to give back property to South Asians in recent years. The violence is directed towards South Asian women by their male relatives as well as Swahilis who enforce patriarchal norms in order to procure property owned by these women. This article will address this issue and by utilizing feminist theories of liberation, seek to provide theoretical solutions.