Author Archives: erika926nishihara

Digital Participation : The Green Belt Movement by Wangari Maathai

This video introduces the green belt movement in Kenya and Wangari Maathai.

Wangari Maathai was the first women to earn Ph.d degree in Eastern Africa.

She is also a first woman to receive the Novel Peace Prize in Africa.

She started the green belt mvoement to sustain its environment and empower women.

This is the movmenet against the drying up of river. Environemental issues affect African people seriously because

most countries in Africa depend on agriculture to make life. I thought this video is intersting because this is the nonviolent movement in Africa, in which people actied to change the environment by themselves.

Digital Participation : Africa and Japan

This video is posted on you tube by Japanese government, prime minister’s office of Japan.

This video expalins the current situation between Japan and African countries such as Mozambique and Ethiopia.

Since Africa is emerging economy, Japan approaches to build stronger relationships. According to the you tube page, Japanese Prime minister, Abe, visited Mozambique adn Ethiopia thi year. On the other hand, Japan is also a great partner

for African countries because they follow the path of Asian tigers, which are the countries that achieved rapid economic

development, as stated in the video. I thought this video is intersting because this shows the strengthening relationship

between Africa and Asia, espeically Japan.

Digital Participation : African Marriage

This is a video of teh celebration of marriage in Africa. Marriage is an important event

even in novels. In this video, people dance and play music instruments to celebrate marriage.

Rituals such as wedding ceremony depict its culture. I thought this video interesting because

the music and dance is slow and different from the African dances and songs that I have ever seen and heard.

Short Story: The husband is Mine

The husband is mine is written by Sophie Kiwelu. This story is about marriage. Mizu married Chelule who was wealthy by running business. Chiku, who is Mizu’s sister envied her sister. After Mizu died because of disease, Chelule got pressure from the elders of the clan to issue wife inheritance. Finally, Chelule and Chiku married.

This story showed two different concepts of marriage exist in Africa. Konde people tend to marry under its tradition and make big family. However, Mizu and Chelule raised two children under their family planning. In addition, this story depicts the patriarchy of the clan. Women thought that husband’s status shows their status because many women in the clan was jerous Mizu who married a wealthy man. The authority of elders alos show the patriarchy of its society. The elders of the clan advised and encouraged Chelule to inherite wife.

The short story:

Two different worlds

“The Things Around Your Neck” depicts the relationship between America and Nigeria, or other African nations. Even America and Africa is far away and quite different worlds, the book depicts both world at the same time. Though Obiora and his family kept Nigerian culture, they somehow adjusted to the American culture. Obiora’s children went to school in the U.S. Their way of life is somehow Americanized.

On the other hand, “The Things Around Your Neck” depicts the African concept of marriage. Nkem would have considered being Ikenna’s forth wife (31). Nkem seems to suffer from polygamy system in Africa. This book depicts the agonizing of women because of polygamy and the African culture which has flexible notion about marriage. Nkem is jearous about her husband’s girlfriend. On the other hand, she tries to imitate the hair style of her husband’s girlfriend. Imitation is the method to depicts someone;s figure in itself.

As the imitation of hair style and mask, the book reflects both American and Nigerian culture in a society. Though they are separated different worlds, American society reflects Nigerian culture in itself as if it was imitation.

The “Ghosts” chapter depicts the ambiguousness of what we can see. People cannot tell whether dead people are ghost or not without throwing sand at the body. Fake drug is also ambiguous to tell whether it is a real drug or not. The book also depicts both real and metaphysical worlds. Those two different worlds depicted in the book make the society ambiguous. Since Nigerian people share the notion of the different worlds and know both of it, they can tell that they are imitation.

Xenophobia and AIDS

In Welcome to Our Hillbrow, people in South Africa have xenophobia which is caused by apartheid. People in South Africa think AIDS come from outside of the South Africa. The author mentions that “ this AIDS, according to popular understanding was caused by foreign germs that travelled down from the central and western part of Africa (3-4). People in South Africa blame foreigners as the cause of AIDS and they think they are victims. In page 4, the author mentions that AIDS comes from Green Monkey in West Africa. People in South Africa seem to have different identity from and that of Central and Western African.

This book, Welcome to Our Hillbrow and the film Yesterday depicts AIDS in South Africa. Mine is depicted in both this book and the film yesterday. Since South Africa is mine rich country, I think the condition promote the spread of AIDS. Because of many men are working for mine company and out of town and away from their family, they tend to make girlfriend or another wives in town such as in Johannesburg.

People in Hillbrow think that foreigners bring problems and afraid of them. Linking AIDS with foreigners are clearly prejudice. The author mentions that “You, Refentaw, had written the story of your fictitious scarecrow heroine in an attempt to grapple with these profound questions of euphemism, xenophobia, prejudice and AIDS (59). Thus, xenophobia partly explains the prejudice surrounding AIDS. People in South Africa do not raise the problems of their sexual behavior and just blame the foreigners.

To sum up, people in South Africa are afraid of foreigners and think that evil disease comes from them. They think they are victim of this foreign disease and xenophobia seems to spread in South Africa. However, the connotation is just prejudice and make no sense.

A sense of loss

In The Memory of Love, a sense of loss is depicted around the novel. Through civil war, the community shares the feeling of melancholy. Both physical and institutionalized violence ruined Sierra Leone. People are feeling a sense of loss. The sentence that “as she walks away from you, what you feel is loss. A promotion of loss” depicts a meaningless sense of loss (1). People in the community feel that they lost the world they knew. The man in front of Elias sang about loss and his misfortune that he lives in a world which became a different place (2). The world the people lived changed to a different world. Thus, people feel a sense of loss.

The sense of loss makes people in the community depressed. “Hundreds, thousands of young men, high on drugs and very, very angry. No jobs. No futures. Nothing to lose. The thing that was coming had arrived” (86). You men refuse to face reality and are procrastinating about solving their problems. They are overwhelmed by hopelessness. People are caught in vicious circle. A sense of loss is flourish in the community and people cannot break out of the vicious circle.

This depiction of a sense of loss reminds me the situation after the great east Japan earth quick and tsunami. People shared the sense of loss and depressed. They caught in vicious circle because of a sense of loss. This example shows that a sense of loss is flourish in reality in depressing situation. After crisis, people share a sense of loss as depicted in The Memory of Love and as shown in the great East Japan earth quick. The novel depicts the shared lost feeling after crisis.


The character of ISAAC seems to represent the pan-Africanism at that time. ISSAC gave up his names which his parents gave him (3). This represents his independence and the establishment of his identity. It also represents his refusal of his former identity which he receive from others. ISAAC believes that the capital does not belong to anyone and nobody can own it (4). Under Pan-Africanism, Africans claim the liberation of African and African people from colonization. The sense of solidarity spread among African people. The youth in “All Our Names,” or university male students, are depicted aggressively being about to become revolutionaries. Those people are also part of the movement to establish the sense of solidary and identities as African depending from imperial country. ISAAC’s new life in the capital may represent the independence of the country and Africa. ISAAC’s encounter with Helen and the relationship may depict the development of fifty-fifty relationship between the West and Africa.

Although African people claimed the independence of African countries and the establishment of own identity, politics of African countries were still weak, unstable and not enough to establish the sense of solidity and own identity. Corrupted government remained after the independence. ISAACS says politics is the only thing to study in Africa (10). The situation of Helen, who is a social worker, seems to be contrasting to ISAAC. ISAACS criticizes the pan-African dream by students saying that they ignore the corruption and violence (24). Pan-Africanism was “dream.” This may be depicted by the difference between ISAACS and other university students who want to be revolutionaries. People who believe Pan-African dream ignore the vulnerability and instability of Africa and its identity. Without this recognition, they cannot see the real Africa and establish the solid identity. ISAAC sees the real Africa understanding its vulnerability. That’s why ISSAC seems to be strong.


The society depicted in “Nervous Condition” under white minority rule. In the society, there are multi-layered ranks of people.

First of all, the society seems to be racially segregated. The segregation appears to be visible. For example, “missionaries were living in white houses and in the pale painted houses” (63). Thus, the white and the black lived in a different world. Under the segregation, white minority has dominant power and rules Black majority. Tambu’s mother said “being black was a burden because it made you poor” (16). The black in the society believes that being black makes inequality in wealth. The white enjoys their dominance in its economy and makes the system that the black always become worse off.

Under the segregation and racial discrimination, gender inequality within the Black is also visible. Within the Black, men have comparative advantage. The Black women seem to have double burden of race and gender. Tambu suffered from gender inequality in patriarchy society. Education toward girls is considered to be less valuable than men. This idea hurt Tambu’s identity and her pride. Tambu describes her aunt as “good woman and a good wife and took pride in this identity, into a dreadful panic” (138). Thus, good wife seems to be considered to be good woman. In the other words, the women’s values are based on how good wives they are. Tambu suffered from this stereotypical gender role. Under this situation that she felt injustice, she felt hatred against her brother.

She suffered from injustices in society, which are racial and gender inequality. There are multi-layered injustices in the society. Under the racial discrimination, black women play subsidiary roles. This book, “Nervous Condition” depicts the multi-layer of ranking and injustices.