Transculturation in Our Sister Killyjoy and Nervous Conditions

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Transculturation in Our Sister Killyjoy and Nervous Conditions Postcolonial insights include theories of Diaspora, cultural hybridity and transculturation. The latter, ‘transculturation’ is the term used to define ‘cultural change induced by introduction of elements of a foreign culture.’[1] The term ‘transculturation’ was first coined by Cuban anthropologist and sociologist Fernando Ortiz in 1947 to describe the phenomenon of merging and converging cultures. Transculturation covers war, ethnic conflict, racism and multiculturalism, hence it is a concept very relevant to the postcolonial period and subsequently to postcolonial literature. When transculturation affects ethnicity the term ‘ethnoconvergence" comes into being and…show more content…
The title ‘Nervous Conditions’ comes from Jean Paul Satre’s introduction to Franz Fanon’s book about the psychosocial effects of colonization ‘The Wretched of the Earth’ where he says that ‘the condition of the native is a nervous condition.[2]’ Dangarembga clearly means to foreground gender as the category which determines African women's lives and keeps them "natives" in relation to the dominant and controlling power structure. "Nervous conditions" could also be interpreted as a ‘metaphor for those internalized definitions of femaleness that shape, from within women's private and public lives.’[3] The African women in the novel face racism, sexism and oppression in their community while navigating their lives within the margins of both traditional and Western colonial cultures. Tambu’s early self admired her educated aunt, pitied her mother who ‘suffered from being female and poor and uneducated and black.’[4] As Dangarembga's plot shifts from Tambu's individual rise to collective effort with all her female relatives and friends, she acknowledges ‘If 1 forget them, my cousin, my mother, my friends, 1 might as well forget myself.’[5] In recording these women's resistance to the patriarchy, Dangarembga suggests that the strongest, most resilient females are not the women educated and ‘liberated’ in the West and privileged within their

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