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Nervous Conditions: Analysis of Nyasha and Babamukuru

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For this essay, I chose Nyasha and Babamukuru since I find them the most interesting and because they both have duties to uphold and both have problems with their identity. They both are immensely successful in what they are tasked to do but at a cost. Nyasha has her outstanding education is trapped in a depression and is suppressed while Babamukuru is trapped socially in his family with the stress of keeping his traditional role in the culture which is difficult since his real personal identity becomes altered to show his family a hard working version of himself to assert his authority role.

This confusion of cultures psychologically is another trap and is what ultimately causes major mental issues as Nyasha rebels against her father and his actions. The trap that she is stuck in worries her more when Tambu leaves for convent school and states, “there won’t be anyone to laugh with” and then further falls into a depression. Nyasha tries to avoid making her trap worse by trying to persuade Tambu not to leave and attempts to say that the convent school was not good. The rebellion that Nyasha wages peaks when she does not want to eat and Babamukuru states “…playing with boys and then come back and turn up your nose at what we offer…”. Nyasha has not coped well with the expectations she is expected of and cannot find a way to avoid it as she is trapped.

Bukamaruru is a headmaster of the mission school and despite his treatment of Nyasha he tries to fill his role through working. The conflicts between Bukamaruru and Nyasha cause his actions to have a rippling effect and makes his intentions seem sinister rather than helpful. Nyasha believes his perspective to her is not an understanding one since there is no patience or leeway he is willing to award to her. Bukamaruru has a decision to make by either encasing himself into his cultural identity and essentially stripping himself of any personality or humanity to look past the confines of his culture.

Contrasting between Nyasha and Bukamaruru and are evident in that they both have the ability to conduct their responsibilities and uphold very well. Her studies seem to be the main subjugation in her life and are what “she feels she can truly own and control” (Braman). Despite the tough situation she ensued, she still did good work and to the eyes of many so did Bukamaruru. The comparison of the two is that Nyasha is trapped more into herself and her lack of control she has with her dad while he is trapped within his culture to prove something to his family. Bukamaruru is interested in guiding the family and Tambu, but does not seem to have emotions or self-love for himself as a person but rather following a rule book. (Tsitsi, p. 190) Nyasha destroys herself while trying to be the best she be while her own culture is what limits her to be judged for forgetting her roots and made to follow her original culture. Bukamaruru follows through with his beliefs and becomes a tyrant of a figure to make sure she does as he says, but she knows what should be done but what she wants to do.

Works cited

  1. Dangarembga,Tsitsi Nervous Conditions.The Women’s Press, 1988
  2. Valerie Braman, “The Most Nervous of Conditions: The Implications of Nyasha’s eating Disorder in Nervous Conditions”,

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