Nervous Conditions – Tsitsi Dangarembga

Funny, I’ve had this book on my to-read list. Lucky for me, a friend of mine received a copy for literature studies and here we are. African literature, my favourite genre since I started writing book reviews. There’s a sense of longing in every page of this book. It took me back to my childhood in Soshanguve. What drew my attention to this book? The title, I was anxious.

Written by Tsitsi Dangarembga, the novel starts with news that Tambu’s older brother, Nhamo, had just died. Tambu (main character, also the narrator) is not saddened by this because Nhamo had a nice life away from his village with his uncle Babamukuru and his family. The only thing she desires is to go to school, but her family can’t afford to pay for her school fees.

Dubbed a novel for students, I share similar experiences. I grew up around boys and no matter how much I excelled, I was always inferior. Tambu, in a patriarchal world tries to work her way through to succeed despite the adversity.

This novel is a reality for many women. The central theme being feminism, the way the narrator’s perception gradually develops and she realizes just how biased society was to her and other women. Reading this novel is an investment which paid off just enough for me to recommend it to you.