Commission Hearing Excerpt
This is an excerpt from a commission hearing conducted in southeastern Nigeria in 1930 by British colonial officials. The hearing investigated a series of disturbances by local women following a rumor that the British were going to tax women. This excerpt is a statement by one of these woman. These commission records are one of the few places in the colonial record where West African women’s voices can be heard.
This source is a part of the Analyzing Commission Records methods module.
“What have we, women, done to warrant our being taxed? We women are like trees which bear fruit. You should tell us the reason why women who bear seeds should be counted. Don’t you agree that the world depends on women? It is the women who multiple the population of the world. We suffer at the hands of Chiefs. They do many evil things and want to place the responsibility therefore upon women. We are not prepared to accept it. Our desire is that all the old Chiefs should be deposed and their caps taken away from them. Don’t you all agree with what I have just said?”