Original Research

Imagining the future nation: A critical appreciation of Emmanuel Ngara’s vision in Songs from the Temple

Rangarirai A. Musvoto
Literator | Vol 38, No 1 | a1323 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v38i1.1323 | © 2017 Rangarirai A. Musvoto | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 July 2016 | Published: 15 June 2017

About the author(s)

Rangarirai A. Musvoto, Department of English Studies, University of South Africa, South Africa


This article analyses Emmanuel Ngara’s collection of poetry Songs from the Temple. It argues that through some of the poems in this collection, Ngara forges an anti-colonial nationalist discourse that problematises hegemonic colonial narratives, which claimed that the black subaltern did not have history, culture and civilisation prior to the colonial interloper’s presence. Ngara’s main strategy in unseating these accounts is to lay claim to a flourishing precolonial culture of the Shona people on one hand, foregrounding their history and cultural symbols, and on the other through the use of artistic elements from the oral traditions of their society. This article contends that the incorporation of orature into Ngara’s written narratives of resistance disrupts and subverts hegemonic definitions of written poetry in as much as it anchors his nationalist vision in cultural spaces that the black subaltern has the potential to identify with.


Emmanuel Ngara; oral traditions; National Culture; Great Zimbabwe; legitimacy


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