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Breach in the System

In: English and Literature

Submitted By marychambers
Words 1177
Pages 5
The introduction of colonialism was brought about to civilise people and was used as a tool in the colonial power system. Not only did it help maintain the power structure, but it also aided in the maintenance of western ideologies inflicted upon the colonised. With this colonial power comes the perpetuation of other power symbols: Patriarchy is a medium to oppress under the category of retaining power. Colonialism and patriarchy are inextricably linked. Tsitsi Dangaremba's Nervous Conditions is used to portray the impact of these power hierarchies, and how it all comes down to the root of ‘Englishness’. The female characters are used in order to reveal how resistance to oppression works, even though the outcomes are successful to different degrees.
Nervous Conditions demonstrates how the traditional, colonised women suffer the most. Dangaremba shows in the novel that regardless of the class and social status differentiating the women, oppression through colonialism and patriarchy exists in all forms: “The needs and sensibilities of the women in my family were not considered a priority, or even legitimate,” (Dangaremba 12). Tambu, the protagonist of the novel, right from the beginning explicitly reveals the hardship which the women endure. In the novel, the women all undergo oppression from Babamukuru, the main male figure, who epitomises the inextricability of colonialism and patriarchy. He is a ‘good African’, trained under western rule. His role is to set standards for his children and family to also become good Africans. Babamukuru, as well as being the colonised, becomes the coloniser. As Tambu learns from her grandmother, Babamukuru has been part of this western rule for most of his life; he realised that the way to coincide with the colonisers is to reap the benefits they sow: “The suffering was not minimised but the message was clear; endure and obey, for...

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