Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga

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In the novel Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga, the theme of female rebellion is displayed throughout the book and can be seen In the novel Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga, the theme of female rebellion is displayed throughout the book and can be seen by the characters Nyasha and Maiguru. The main cause of their rebellious act is their struggle with female oppression. The colonized education that Nyasha and Maiguru receive initiates the awareness that women are living in oppressed conditions. This essay will set out to discuss that even though a woman is educated, she is forced to be inferior to men. Nyasha is a young black African girl who spends her formative years in England receiving an education. Nyasha experiences assimilation into a new English culture. However, with no education in her Shona language or identity in her African traditions and customs, Nyasha gets a sense of alienation from her native African culture when she says, “They do not like my language, my English because it is authentic, and my Shona because it is not.”(p196) Her school mates dislike her for her white mannerisms and she has no Shona mannerisms to fall back on. Nyasha is stuck in the middle and her struggle to make a place for herself in society leads to her rebellious ways. Nyasha has had the benefit of a British education and knows first hand what kind of lives women in Europe lead. She sees women who are modern with mini skirts and women who are independent and can lead their own lives. After living this way of life and then being placed back into Africa, Nyasha must deal with a major culture shock. Having such a vast education and knowing a certain way of life, she can’t help but rebel against r... ... middle of paper ... ...ght in the modern education and it leads to her breakdown. Nyasha realizes she is stuck in the middle, “I’m not one of them but I’m not one of you.”(p201) Nyasha has no memories of traditions and customs to silence her voice. This is a major disadvantage for Nyasha because she is only behaving by what was taught to her. This novel displays that being modern does not indicate people will be happy or advance in life. Maiguru was educated but that led to her outlook on her culture and traditions to evolve. Maiguru received her English education late in life so she would never be totally free of her oppressed way of life, but by encouraging Tambu to attend Scared Heart she is starting a change in the cycle. Tambu is young enough that she has a firm sense of her identity and to mix that with a colonial education she will not end up in exile as Nyasha did.
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