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Confused “Slaves” of Many Traditions: The Search for the Freedom Dance in Chiziane's Niketche: A Tale of Polygamy

Irene Marques
Research in African Literatures
Vol. 41, No. 2 (SUMMER 2010), pp. 133-159
Published by: Indiana University Press
DOI: 10.2979/ral.2010.41.2.133
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/ral.2010.41.2.133
Page Count: 27
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Confused “Slaves” of Many Traditions: The Search for the Freedom Dance in Chiziane's Niketche: A Tale of Polygamy
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Abstract

AbstractThis article focuses on four ways in which Paulina Chiziane's novel Niketche: A Tale of Polygamy addresses women's oppression, gender relations, nationalism, and identity issues in contemporary Mozambique. The paper offers a study of the heroine's coming to consciousness via reflection, co-identification, and meditative freeing exercises that allow her to enter the holistic nonoppressive ontological realm and to envisage the freedom that resides in what I term the “poetic sphere” of metaphor, dance, song, and cry, and thus (spiritually) escape the various social and patriarchal control mechanisms; a survey and critical discussion of the many traditions that are behind Mozambican women's (and also men's) oppression; an analysis of how the postcolonial Mozambican subject suffers from a pronounced ontological confusion or split as a result of the many traditions that have been imprinted upon his/her self; and a discussion of what Chiziane, through her first-person narrator, proposes as some solutions for this ontological destabilization.

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