Nervous condition is a semi-autobiographical novel which is narrated through Tambu, a young girl based in Rhodesia with her cousin Nyasha. It was written in 1989 by author Tsitsi Dangarembga. The story is implicated on complexity of imperialist world, gender inequality and racism that surrounds Tambu's family as she struggles to survive and follow the norms and customs that are stipulated by the society. The author tries to show how culture diversity acts on different individuals and how assimilation into different cultural traditions is diverse and unique aspect of female struggle for recognition and liberation.
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Tambu is a young girl responsible for household activities that she readily takes and is determination is to have a fulfilling educational life like his brother. This only happens when his brother passes away and as she has no other brothers in his family Tambu gets an opportunity of a life time to go and study at a mission school .she gets accommodation which she shares with a cousin Nyasha where each shares the views of cultural diversity.
Tambu vantage point of view concerns the difference in gender equality and social status of females in accordance to society customs. Her conflict on cultural diversity is fully portrayed in this novel as her main force entailing her ethnic heritage reality. Tambu is able to learn about the displacement of African roots and the self worthiness' of women through her cousin Nyasha.
Tambu his viewed as an escaped female as she often forgets about his culture and her mother's steadily cautions her on her ethnic heritage .Tambu tries to fight for her equality and independence in his newly acquired way of living following her educational fulfillment. Tambu conflict of cultural diversity is portrayed where her subsequent liberation is eminent after her escape from cultural chains bounding her society.
Tambu declares she has been chained as she questions the things that her family carried on concerning her educational needs. She freely articulates her feelings with no fear of being reputed by her family and she refuses the brain washing tendencies of her culture. The liberation to talk freely and suggest his own opinions is one of Tambu's ways of resolving the conflict of tradition culture.
She declares of her brother ill fated occurrence but says it is not a major concern to her; this portrays her lack of empathy for her brother's death which she declares openly, from the novel she is not sorry when her brother dies, she says "Nor am I apologizing for my callousness, as you may define it, my lack of feeling. Therefore I shall not apologize but begin by recalling the facts as I remember them that led up to my brother's death" (p.1)
This conflict of traditional culture entails from material reality that originates from psychological phenomena and material conditions that surround the existence of men and women in the society. Tambu tries to resolve the female sexuality control by men by exercising her rights to freedom of expression and liberation from her brother power in the society. The conflict is well adhered in the novel where gender is patriarchy constructed to the advantage of male.
In conclusion Tambu is seen to be in conflict with the cultural traditions of her society and she greatly tries to fight the oppression of females in the society. Tambu major wish is to end the conflict of cultural divergence and ensure that freedom of expression is fulfilled in her quest for freedom. Tambu's conflict is partially resolved when she gets privilege for further educational opportunity but her success is grounded by male quest to control female sexuality through in the society which tends to be hard to change due to the prevailing strong cultural background.