Education in Nervous Conditions.
Education in Nervous Conditions.
Education is often regarded as beneficial for people and necessary for advancement where people willingly accept to get educated. However in the case of Africa, education was forced on the population, especially western education. Although the Africans had an established medium of education, western education came to replace it and this education under the façade of benefiting the society was there to exploit the people. Western education destroyed the people’s culture exploiting their intellect and their labor. The African’s medium of education was there to inculcate the values and culture of the tribes and this way of educating people was seen as inferior and the Europeans believed in an eradication of that type of education: “The traditional African educational systems, in their various forms, served the needs of the African people much more than the colonial educational system ever could.”
Colonial education brought forward by missionaries was intended to make the local people westernized and follow or corporate with the western government: “colonial African education was not based on a desire to educate the African people, but a desire to have the ability to control the African people.” Students who follow colonial education are torn between the western world and their own African world and they have this feeling of not belonging to either culture. They don’t want to follow their own culture as they feel superior to it and the white world does not accept them either. The Africans have adopted alongside with the colonial education, the values of the western world and this makes these students move away from the traditional world of Africa. The young generation would feel that through this education they had acquire too many skills to be able to get a proper gob in their society which they consider as backwards and when they leave their country for the colonial empire they are rejected.
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In Dangarembga's Nervous conditions, we are presented with the westernization of various characters through education. British education plays a great role in the novel where Tambu, Babamukuru, Nhamo and Nyasha, all bear the impact of this education. Dangarembga’s gives weight to Kachru’s ‘alchemy of English’ where: “Tambu tells us that "white wizards" from the south who were "well versed in treachery and black magic" educated her uncle Babamukuru (18-9)” Tambu knows that the British education is an important way to enable her to evade her two major biological roles, that of being a woman and of being black, which have imprisoned her in her culture. When the novel starts Tambu is seen as being happy at her brother’s death as this is enabling her to go to a western school where the colonial education this was a privilege offered only to boys. Tambu: “in some ways allegorical of colonial education while her mother is represented as its antithesis.” Tambu’s mother is worried that the colonial education will make her become like Nyasha and that she would assimilate the culture of the colonizer and forget her own one.
Nyasha and Maiguru are made to give in to the colonial education and this makes them isolated from other Shona women as these women think that they are rich and too educated. They themselves feel alienated because their colonial education in a way prompted them to see the inferiority of the Shona culture. They are also respected for their education and in some cases, for example, when Maiguru is invited to assist a patriarchal council about a local dispute, thus she is given status and respect. Colonial education is portrayed as being: “both a liberating yet stifling entity in the context of nervous conditions” Tambu knows that western education will have negative repercussions on her cultural life as she sees how Nyasha is distressed at not knowing her culture and the way her brother acts as having forgotten Shona culture, even though she is aware of this she still feel s that westernization and colonial education is a must.
Tambu starts to feel alienated from the Shona culture after she attends the British school, she starts to assimilate the language of the colonizer and this language in integral part of education operates: “like a sweeping industry upon the landscape, an assimilation machine which re-marks the other in terms of Western society's perceptions and her own self-perceptions”. Tambu thinks that she is progressing through the assimilation of the colonial language and education but she does not seem to know that she is losing her own cultural education and her own language. Tambu wants to be colonized and she is in a way ‘seduced’ by the colonial education where she thinks that she would be freed from all cultural repressions. The British education encourages within Tambu: “a self-generated, "natural" desire for Western assimilation” when she talks about the college for young ladies.
Edward Said says in his Orientalism that the British colonisers the people through ‘power intellectual’ where education is used to make colonial subjects serve the colonizers. Tambu is shown as wanting to assimilate western education whereas Nyasha is shown as the “embodiment of anti colonial English language\ education,” and she advises Tambu that her going to the convent would make her "forget who you were, what you were and why you were that.” Education has its benefits where it frees women like Maiguru from being servants to the capitalist world and where education gives women the power to subvert patriarchy, however the colonial education alienates people and when the family of Nyasha comes back to their homeland they feel that they do not belong to this uneducated world and the feel the need to escape from their own people instead of helping them. Tambu believes that education is the only solution to the state of her country and Nyasha says that: “the education of solitary family members will not solve the ills of rural poverty:” however in the end of the novel Tambu starts realizing that this education is not what she had thought it to be. Nyasha actively condemned the colonial education and she attempts to regain control of her own culture. “Nyasha fails in multiple ways as "good native": both in her failure to accept the totality of colonial education and in her failure to renounce”
' condemns colonial education as this alienates the Africans ho are intellectuals from their people and the nation they are supposed to serve. In nervous conditions this fact is portrayed through characters such as Nhamo and Tambu; however Ngugi portrays males as the only one competent to fight physically and psychologically against the impact of colonial education and that women react in very different ways to this impact. Tistsi Dangarembga's Nervous conditions, shows that this is not the case when' the female protagonist uses colonial education to escape from her subordinate state and to achieve her personal goals." However we are also that education doubly alienates women where for example Maiguru who despite the fact she has an advance education is always answerable to Babamukuru and even when she walks out of home she goes to her brother which is another patriarchy, she is rendered homeless. Nyasha also knows that she has become an educated woman with limited choices for expansion and her liberal British education in the end makes her mentally tired.
British education for Tambu is a necessity and being able to speak to be educated in English: “constitutes the utterance of intelligence -- both within and outside of the colonized country”. Tambu lives experiences with language and education that are bittersweet, and her story in some ways reflects the personal history of Titsi Dangarembga’s