Posts tagged ‘Tsitsi Dangarembga’

February 18, 2009

Nervous Conditions

by cwilcox2

Review #2
Chris Wilcox

The moral, coming of age novel Nervous Conditions, is a book written by the Zimbabwean author Tsitsi Dangarembga. In her work there are several thematic ideas presented through the eyes of a young African girl, Tambu. Though the book mainly focuses on this girl growing up in Rhodesia, Zimbabwe several other female characters are presented throughout the novel as well. The importance of these other female figures is what I believe to be the author’s real message as it shows how women can overcome the trials they may be born into.

Right from the very start of the book, the reader really gets a sense of women dealing with rugged lifestyles. It first starts off with Tambu’s homestead and the hierarchy of male dominance and then leads into the oppressive nature of Babamakuru. All the main female characters presented in the book, Tambu, Nyasha, Maiguru, Lucia, and Ma’Shingayi, are portrayed mainly as the caretaker, child producer, and maid.

Each of these women go through their own trials and manage to come out on top in the end. Nyasha would be the exception to this as she has a mental break-down. She is presented as the weakest of all the women in the book but even so, manages to come out on top a bit by starving herself and going against her father’s will. This “triumphant female” image is what seems to be Dangarembga’s true intentions when writing this novel so that all women could relate and look up to something. The women listed above all come from different upbringings and are different ages which allows for a wide range of the female population to connect to the characters.

Throughout the novel, these womanly triumphs can be traced to each prominent female character. Tambu finally gets an education and escapes what she thought was her fate in the beginning. Lucia gets a job and stands up for herself boldly even in the face of Babamakuru. Maiguru turns into the classic example of a respectable, modern woman who has money and also challenges Babamakuru in the end by leaving him. Lastly Ma’Shingayi, Tambu’s mother, who although is bound and trapped in the homestead most of the story, emerges in the end and accepts what she has as a woman and what she can do as one. All this creates the flow of a feminine power that is a constant from beginning to end.

In summary then, Nervous Conditions is a splendid book with several themes tied together with strong moral values. The underlying moral being that women can rise above their current standings no matter how oppressed or dominated they may be. Tsitsi Dangarembga challenges the female view in her society by presenting bold, feminine characters that take a stand in their own unique way. Dangarembga couldn’t of said it better at the back of her book by stating that African women need to just “get out there and do their thing”.

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January 26, 2009

Nervous Conditions Online Discussion

by jentooley
Jennifer Tooley
The entire work Nervous Conditions is all about the development of the mind; in this case the development of a young girl not only becoming an adult but finding her own path of becoming a person despite the constraints of being a woman. We see that Tambu fought long and hard to have the opportunities that she made available to herself, she struggles to find what she wants. Along the way there are the different tensions represented by the different women in her life; her mother wants her to remember where she comes from and honour her roots; Nyasha wants her to have a companion in her modern and foreign thought processes; and her aunt wishes her to be somewhere in between. Tambu is left to define her own proper path while the outsiders can argue whether she freed herself or remains trapped in a way similar to the rest of them .
The story has an underlying feminist tone to it, do you think a women’s studies class could read this book and analyze it through a feminist perspective? What points would they be missing if it was only analyzed through this approach?
Looking at the meaning of the title did it reflect what you think the story was about or did it remind you more of a psycology textbook? At which point in the book did you make the connection that Dangarembga was commenting a concern for the character’s conditions?
January 26, 2009

The White Man’s Burden: Quintessential Representation of Subjectivity in Post-Colonialism Africa

by valdesjoha

Robin Morris and Johannes Valdes

White Man’s Burden

Take up the White Man’s burden–
Send forth the best ye breed–Pears Soap Ad circa 1890's
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild–
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

Take up the White Man’s burden–
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another’s profit,
And work another’s gain.

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