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 her desire to gain an education became even greater. Consequently, she did not feel much loss when her brother died and mainly sympathized with pain of her family.
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. She fights through the stereotypical ideal that education of females only benefits other families, as protested by her father; and noting that the family’s money would be better spent on her successful brother – Nhamo. Tambu’s drive and determination is inspirational the way she grows her own vegetables and sells them in the village of Umtali. Eventually, she receives enough money to support many years of her education at the mission.
She works very diligently in her stud...