2010 Student Research Conference:
23rd Annual Student Research Conference

Detrimental Effects of "Mimicking the Master" in Tsitsi Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions
Daniel R. Granda
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

The epigraph to Dangarembga's novel, Nervous Conditions (1988), "the condition of native is a nervous condition," speaks to Homi Bhabha's concept that the manifestation of the colonized native's identification with and desire to imitate the colonizer leads to "mimicking of the master" by the colonized native. The irony, according to Bhabha, as he notes in his seminal essay, "Of Mimicry and Man: The Ambivalence of Colonial Discourse," is that the colonized native's attempts at "mimicking the master" make at best for imitation but never acceptance into the colonizer's fraternal circle, its ideology underpinned by power. This paper will examine the ways in which Nyasha and Tambu reflect this paradigm as colonized natives in Nervous Conditions, even as they undergo coming-of-age transformative experiences in pre-independent Zimbabwe (Rhodesia).

Keywords: Mimicry, Colonialism, Nervous Conditions, Tsitsi Dangarembga


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 7-4
Location: VH 1432
Time: 8:45

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