Egyptian literary icon Nawal El Saadawi died in the morning of Sunday the 21st of March 2021 according to local media reports.
The pioneering writer and women’s rights activists, who underwent FGM at the age of 8 and would become a relentless advocate against the practice, had been battling a health crisis that had her hospitalised.
Nawal El Saadawi was a novelist, activist, physician and psychiatrist, and one of the most renowned voices for women’s right and autonomy in Egypt.
Her writing and activism led to continued attacks against herself and her work, and even saw her fired from her position as director of public health for the Egyptian government in 1972.
El Saadawi was also vocal about the effects of colonialism, racism, and religion on the identity of North Africans. One of her essays, which is titled ‘About Me in Africa – Politics and Religion in My Childhood’, explores the impact of colonialism and racism on the self-perception and identity of North Africans and the issues involved in them seeing themselves as African, rather than Middle Eastern peoples.
Her activism for women’s bodily autonomy and general rights had made her the target of many attacks against herself and her work, but her belief in women’s equality and freedom was relentless, and, to the end, she prevailed.
During her lifetime, El Saadawi was a prolific author and novelist, and some of her most popular titles include The Fall of the Imam, Women at Point Zero, or The Hidden Face of Eve.
Her death is mourned around the world.