Education and the Other Side of Babamukuru
Nervous Conditions. Yes, it does make me nervous all the way through the end of the novel. There is more about education that Tsitsi Dangarembga implicitly tells us about. Education is more than about going to school, being able to read and write, and then getting a well-paid job after graduate. It is more than that. This can be seen through Babamukuru’s role in his family. Education, for Tambudzai’s family at least, is about influence. Being able to obtain a proper education will determine one’s fate, one’s future, and absolutely one’s reputation. However, is that always the case?
Luckily, or maybe unluckily for him, throughout his life Babamukuru had found himself – as eldest child and son, as an early educated African, as husband and father, as provider to many – in positions that enabled him to organize his immediate world and its contents as he wished. (88)
Babamukuru is a well-respected man among the people in his family. Through his hard work and perseverance, he is able to get an education. Yes, the fact that he is a “man” may grant him more access to achieve his dreams. Even more, he has become a principal of a mission. That is huge! To that extent, Babamukuru is also eager to help his brother’s children, Nhamo and Tambudzai, to go to school. He wants these kids to see the world from different perspectives. To Babamukukuru, education seems to be the only way out of destitution. It is the pathway that someone can take to step on a higher level of life.
Throughout the novel, however, Dangarembga slowly depicted how Babamukuru had quite successfully built attention around him. Even in a very private matter regarding Jeremiah’s family, Babamukuru did not feel hesitant to interrupt. A wedding, which should have been a sacred and intimate commitment between two people, was interrupted by an outside party – made Jeremiah and his wife looked like “the starts of a comic show, the entertainers.” (165) Nonetheless, it was not Babamukuru’s place to decide regarding this particular matter.
Babamukuru might not have valued a wedding as important, but Tambudzai just could not stand the way her uncle treated her parents. His educational achievements make the father of two children more focus on other people’s impressions towards him. It is undeniable that the primary purpose of education is to build a solid future foundation, but what’s good of it if one fails to even grants respect – as one of the most valuable features of a strong kinship?