Original Research

Women, nation and voicing in Sharai Mukonoweshuro’s Shona novels

Maurice T. Vambe
Literator | Vol 34, No 1 | a20 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v34i1.20 | © 2013 Maurice T. Vambe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 July 2012 | Published: 15 October 2013

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Maurice T. Vambe, Department of English Studies, University of South Africa, South Africa


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Abstract

The article explores the fictional representation of women in two of Sharai Mukonoweshuro’s novels, Akafuratidzwa Moyo and Ndakagara Ndazviona. Traditional Shona expectations of how a woman should behave have prescribed the roles that women are expected to play in society. In Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), colonialism invented customary laws in which women were further downgraded to social positions akin to those of minors. Although the nationalist struggle was essentially meant to guarantee freedom for all Black people irrespective of gender, the male elites constructed the identity of Black women as their inferior ‘other’. Against this background this article argues that Sharai Mukonoweshuro’s novels struggle against these male sanctioned stereotypes. However, as will be shown, Mukonoweshuro’s mode of resistance to female stereotypes is ambivalent in the sense that the author constructs young women who defy patriarchy on the one hand and, on the other hand, old women who do the unthinkable act of poisoning their own sons.

Keywords

Women; Nation; Voicing; Sharai Mukonoweshuro; Shona Novels

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