Significant Others, Family Responsibility and the Freedom of the African Child in Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions

Grace Eche Okereke, Itang Ede Egbung


This paper interrogates the way the exercise of authority and sense of responsibility by significant others in the family impact on the freedom of the African child - female and male in Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions (1989). It analyses the interplay of culture, gender and westernization as mediating factors in positioning adults and children, men and women, boys and girls in the family and in informing their sense of responsibility. The paper analyses how these factors help to construct the consciousness, choices and responses of the male and female child characters to the impositions of significant others – parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, cousins and close family friends in the selected novel. The paper also examines the strategies adopted by the girl child characters to resist the efforts of these significant others to invade their identities and violate their sense of freedom. It also investigates the consequences of the child characters’ struggles to protect their individuality, right to exist and choose, right to speak, grow and develop especially in the African cultural context. All of these thematically and stylistically engage the child characters – girls and boys – in Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions (1989).

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n20p2059

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This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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