I found Dangarembga’s “Nervous Conditions” a very enjoyable novel. The narrator and main character– Tambu expresses her experiences with colonialism as a child growing up from a poor African community with tremendous correctness and detail. As part of the Shona Village, Tambu’s life would be predictable because the women of Shona typically display subservient roles to their male counterparts. Tambu is anything but typical. She does not like the way women are treated by simply as caretakers of children and their spouses at an early age and taking the back seat to males. Tambu is determined to be different and make something of herself through her desire to be educated.
Tambu’s relationship with her brother was not surprising. I believe jealousy and envy played a part in how she felt about her brother as he was getting the education she most desired in life. His attitude bothered her as he exhibited a sense of shame for his family having experienced the luxuries of cleanliness, running water, and automobiles. Tambu wanted what he had and as her feelings for her brother diminished
I believe the author meant to portray Nyasha as the symbolic nature of disturbances associated with post-colonialism. Tambu"tms uncle Babamukuru or Baba is a symbol of greatness of the Umtali community where he was an educated Blackman in a world of white dominance in South Africa. She fights through the stereotypical ideal that education of females only benefits other families, as protested by her father; and noting that the family"tms money would be better spent on her successful brother - Nhamo. Tambu"tms narration of her new environment is exquisite. I enjoyed the conversations and the laughter they shared. What amazement she must have felt in the Whiteman"tms world with all the luxuries she had only heard about. Eventually, she receives enough money to support many years of her education at the mission. As Tambu and Nyasha mature you can identify the differences in their character. Her commitment towards obtaining an education was very admirable considering the odds she faced as a young female of a large family with little money for education. her desire to gain an education became even greater. To me, Nyasha symbolizes the original resistance to colonialism in the post-colonial era as her character is well developed in the narration of Tambu. Consequently, she did not feel much loss when her brother died and mainly sympathized with pain of her family. Tambu still represents the quiet, shy, and obedient nature of the Shona woman whereas Nyasha is more outspoken and defiant. She became the focal point for Tambu as she observed many of the conflicts with Nyasha as she struggled with her father and ultimately herself to establish her own self image. Tambu and Nyasha share a room and become very close to each other.