Uncertanity of Hope Commentary
English and Literature
Submitted By roxanejenje
Oliver Nyambi considers The Uncertainty of Hope by Valerie Tagwira
First published by:
SAGE Open Jul 2014, 4(3) <http://bit.ly/1q7n9ui> ABSTRACT
There is a subtle yet discernible connection between the post-2000 political power struggle and the gender struggle in Zimbabwe. In both cases, a patriarchal power hierarchy shaped by tradition and history is perpetuated and justified as the mark of the nation’s unique identity. In cultural, political, and economic spheres, the status of most urban Zimbabwean women is still reflected as inferior to that of most men. During this economic and political crisis period, the prevailing gender power-relations evolved into gendered appraisals of the impact of the crisis and this created the potential for rather universal and androcentric conclusions. The consequent eclipse of female-centric voices of the political and gender struggle tends to suppress women’s perspectives, consequently inhibiting a gender-inclusive imagining of the nation. This article argues that discourses about gender struggle in Zimbabwe’s post-2000 crisis have not sufficiently addressed the question of space; that is, the significance of the oppressed women’s physical and social space in shaping their grievances and imaginings of exit routes. Similarly, the article argues that representations of this historic period in literary fiction have accentuated the wider political and economic struggles at the expense of other (especially gender) struggles, thereby rendering them inconsequential. Using two short stories by Valerie Tagwira (“Mainini Grace’s Promise” and “The Journey”), the article explores the stories’ focalization of gender-entangled women in an urban space to understand the literary evocation of the condition of women caught up in a crisis in urban settings.
The Organization for Social Science Research in Eastern and...