Of the 94 writers in Côte d'Ivoire, 20 are women and 74 are men. There exists a 43 year gap between male and female writing: the first published work by a man (Bernard Dadié) was in 1933 and it wasn't until 1976 that a work by a female author (Simone Kaya) was published.
Before independence from the French Republic in 1960, the literary world in Côte d'Ivoire was marked by the supremacy of male writers. Men were the first to be educated and the first to resort to literature to express themselves. As a consequence, Ivorian literature was a mirror reflecting the male perspective.
It is important to stress here that education and training was undertaken in French, the language inherited from the former colonial power. Côte d'Ivoire has 60 different languages and the Government did not want to embark upon a choice among these languages, jeopardising the nation's stability and unity. As a consequence French, which appeared to be the most politico-linguistically comfortable consensus, was declared the official language. Although there have always been many people advocating that books should be written in Ivorian languages, there is not one author (man or woman) who has ever used them to write a book.
Designed by Assamala Amoi - 29 July 99