Love has often been placed among the lesser order of priorities against the more important issues that hold our attention in seeking to transform gender relations in Africa. In discussing the concept note for the issue we were reminded of feminists’ belief that love has been seen not only as one of the relational contexts where women were likely to reproduce the worst forms of gender inequalities, but these were often the very inequalities they sought to change in the wider world.
It situated them in vulnerable subject positions as love’s meaning was invariably determined by patriarchy. Among feminists there are therefore diverse understandings of love and its absence is cause for equal lamentation. The reason for placing a transformative eros at the heart of the gender debates, as Deevia Bhana, the guest editor of this issue of Agenda writes in the Introduction, is to correct the glaringly absent focus of intimacy and love in Africa, and to attempt to legitimate and build its recognition as an important analytic category of research.