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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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