The trope of the angry African father?
At the beginning of the class, all of us tried to move past the usual ideas that are directed about Africa as a violent, desolate place with beautiful sunsets. However, through our first two books, I am beginning to see a trope emerge that gives off an image that looks down on African men but, I find that initial assumptions about its use in Nervous Conditions to be incorrect.
The continuing theme of an angry father shows itself in Nervous Conditions with Babamukuru hitting his adolescent daughter (118). The trope is used conveniently to explain why men are seen as dangerous and are the ones that are responsible for the violence that is coming against women. I found that Tambu sums up the argument for male violence by saying, “… all the conflicts came back to this question of femaleness. Femaleness as opposed and inferior to maleness.” (118). I find this assertion to be incorrect. I equate what occurred not to be a question of male and female power struggles but, one of two different generations. Babamukuru was lucky to get out of the situation that he was in and was able to be educated but, he has a different experience and culture values growing up having to work the fields before his education.
His daughter has now grown up in different circumstances, in the house of a private school headmaster, with Western amenities, people, and finally values being a part of her life. I find this to be a more viable explanation for Babamukuru’s anger as this time in the late 1960’s brought about a whole host of cultural changes worldwide and Nyasha would have access to these new ideas while having the means and privilege to act upon the new ideas that she has.