All posts by Jake Zahniser-Word

“Nervous Conditions” by Tsitsi Dangarembga

In a high school, I read a novel titled Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga.  She writes from the perspective of a young native girl growing up in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and the struggles that she and her family must face in the community and the educational system.  Although it is a work of fiction, she draws heavily from her own experiences growing up in post-colonial Rhodesia (which was controlled by the British).  I did not realize it at the time I read the book, but Dangarembga draws the title from Sartre’s  Introduction to The Wretched of the Earth by Fanon.  The epigraph for the novel points to his exact sentence: “The status of ‘native’ is a nervous condition…”.  While this class has mainly discussed French colonialism and the different conditions that existed for those natives who lived in the French colonies, it is important to note that similar power structures existed in colonies of the other imperialist nations.