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The European-African Divide: Nyashas Illness - Essay Example

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In Nervous Conditions, in a simply-stated revelation of internal conflict and of cultural dissimilarity, Tsitse Dangarembga, the Rhodesian woman schooled in both England and Africa, writes of one of her main characters, Nyasha, "But the psychiatrist said that Nyasha could not be ill, that Africans did not suffer in the way we had described" (201).
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The European-African Divide: Nyashas Illness
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Download file to see previous pages Nyasha is divided, she is at the same time both African and not, and this quotation distills in a single sentence some of the themes which permeate Dangarembga's entire work.
As a preliminary matter, this quotation cannot be understood without understanding Nyasha's background. Unlike Tambu, she has been offered a life of comparative privilege. She has experienced a formal British education. She has also experienced the life of a woman in Britain, where the treatment of the feminine is quite different than in Africa. How she acts and is perceived back in her native Africa, therefore, is central to the novel. How she perceives herself is also central. Outwardly, Nyasha is seen as rebellious and condescending of African traditions. In sum, Nyasha is in many ways everything which Africa is not. Her illness, therefore, is deemed something foreign, by both colonizers and colonized alike, and almost without legitimacy. Nyasha, despite being a part of both cultures, is alone and without resort to a true people or a true heritage.
What, therefore, was the nature of Nyasha's illness She was thin and frail. She was malnutritioned. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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