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Use the concept of transculturation to explore 'Our Sister Killyjoy' and 'Nervous Conditions.'

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Introduction

Use the concept of transculturation to explore '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 is opposed by 'ethnocentrism' the view that one's culture is of greater importance than another's. Ethnocentrism manifests itself in various aspects of culture, though the main ethnocentric divider is always religion or belief, these ethnic divides are most frequently binary. 'Our Sister Killjoy' and 'Nervous Conditions' both show aspects of transculturation, perhaps the most obvious sign are the narrator's adoption of the dominant English language to write their novels. At varying points in each novel it is also clear that both Aidoo and Dangarembga have difficulty in choosing between the two cultures in their own personal struggles with transculturation. I shall go on to explore these instances of transculturation within both novels. Tsitsi Dangarembga's 1988 novel 'Nervous Conditions' is a landmark in postcolonial literature as it was the first published English novel written by an African woman. Set in 1960's Rhodesia and emerging from the shadows of apartheid, it chronicles the life and education of Tambu and the world around her, ...read more.

Middle

Yet despite all her consciousness Nyasha is unable to save herself as she slides into madness and breakdown at the novel's conclusion. Towards the end of the novel upon Tambu's arrival at her stifled room in the convent, a white nun tells Babamukuru 'We had more Africans than usual this year and so we had to put them all in here.10' 'Neither benefactive nor probative, this colonial administrative judgement and congestive spatial arrangement subtext powerfully the coloniser-colonised relationship, which, markedly favours the coloniser at the colonised's expense.11' It is an anti-climax for Tambu who had long aspired to be there, to find that at it's most basic level the world of the convent school is no different to the world she was in previously and strived so hard to leave behind. It also shows that transculturation, the merging of European and African cultures, hasn't solved the problems. In the conclusion of 'Nervous Conditions' Tambu asks the reader to believe that Africa's absorption of 'Englishness' has caused all of the intricate problems in the story. This disclosure is an example of 'Englishness' as both a tool of revelation and a tool of oppression. Without their 'English' education, neither Nyasha nor Tambu would have had the insight to recognize their predicament. Yet ultimately Tambu takes what she requires from Western culture and brings it to bear on her traditional way of life. 'Our Sister Killjoy' was written in 1977 by Ghanaian writer Ama Ata Aidoo, it deals with the issues of colonialism, race nationality and self-discovery. ...read more.

Conclusion

1 http://www.yourdictionary.com/ahd/t/t0315300.html 2 Cantaloupe, Charles (ed) Ngugi wa Thiongo, Texts and Contexts (African World Press, 1995) Essay - Androne, Mary Jane Tsi Tsi Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions: An African Woman's Revisionist Narrative. pp.323-333 3 Cantaloupe, Charles (ed) Ngugi wa Thiongo, Texts and Contexts (African World Press, 1995) Article - Androne, Mary Jane Tsi Tsi Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions: An African Woman's Revisionist Narrative. pp.323-333 4Dangarembga, Tsi Tsi. Nervous Conditions. Scattle: The Seal Press, 1988 page 5 Dangarembga, Tsi Tsi. Nervous Conditions. Scattle: The Seal Press, 1988 page 188 6 Dangarembga, Tsi Tsi. Nervous Conditions. Scattle: The Seal Press, 1988 7 Dangarembg Tsi Tsi. Nervous Conditions. Scattle: The Seal Press, 1988 page 50 8 Dangarembga, Tsi Tsi. Nervous Conditions. Scattle: The Seal Press, 1988 page 76 9 Dangarembga, Tsi Tsi. Nervous Conditions. Scattle: The Seal Press, 1988 page 147 10 Dangarembga, Tsi Tsi. Nervous Conditions. Scattle: The Seal Press, 1988 page 11 Okonkwo p6 12 Odamtten, Vincent O. The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo: Polylectics and Reading Against Neocolonialism (Florida: University Press of Florida, 1994) page 122 13Aidoo, Ama Ata Our Sister Killjoy (New York: Longman, 1977) page 13 14Aidoo, Ama Ata Our Sister Killjoy (New York: Longman, 1977) page 57 15 Odamtten, Vincent O. The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo: Polylectics and Reading Against Neocolonialism (Florida: University Press of Florida, 1994) page 125 16 Aidoo, Ama Ata Our Sister Killjoy (New York: Longman, 1977) page 17 Aidoo, Ama Ata Our Sister Killjoy (New York: Longman, 1977) page 112 18 Pratt, Mary Louise Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (London, Routledge 1992) Registration No 0249004 1 ...read more.

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