Representing the paradox of transformation : an analysis of the education of the female "self" and the collective in the book of not (2006) and coconut (2007)
Motlhankane, Kedumetse E.
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This research analyses the representation of the paradox of education and transformation of the female self and the collective in Dangarembga's The Book of Not (2006) and Matlwa's Coconut (2007). The argument raised in this study is that the education of the young women in both novels informs the transformative state of the position of women in society. The thesis foregrounds the various ways in which African female writers represent and examine the ways in which women in Africa continuously negotiate multiple identities that are often complex, contradictory and ambiguous. Tsitsi Dangarembga and Kopano Matlwa's novels represent access and acquisition of education for young girls in Zimbabwe and South Africa respectively. The novels are about young girls on their quest to womanhood. This research particularly focuses on how education shapes that journey. The paradox lies in the fact that education is both a tool for empowerment, and a source of alienation for women who have access to it. This study bases its argument on the thesis that inasmuch as education is a tool for empowerment, it has transformational implications on the female self as well as the collective. The researcher draws on aspects of Africana womanist literary theory; as this theory enables one to analyse gender roles in the African society not as separate but complementary roles. Africana womanism as a gender theory allows one to analyse social, historical, political and economic issues in African communities without distorting the cultural relevance of these concepts. The researcher also argues that the roles of African women in their societies are changing and highlights how their exposure to education plays a role in this shift. Afrocentricism was used as a supplementary theory as it brings to the core the concept of cultural dignity and nationalism in Africa.
- Humanities