Dangarembga alone at the top

Controversial writer and filmmaker Tsitsti Dangarembga remains the only Zimbabwean to feature in The New Quotable Woman, which claims to be a "definitive treasury of notable words by women from Eve to the present".

Tsitsti Dangarembga’s most quoted novel, Nervous Conditions.
Tsitsti Dangarembga’s most quoted novel, Nervous Conditions.

As writing events got under way last week as part of the Zimbabwe International Book Fair, writers and bookish types naturally found themselves asking each other who would take the mantle of the great Dambudzo Marechera, Charles Mungoshi or the exiled Chenjerai Hove.

"Tsitsi Dangarembga is your forgotten gem," said a Canadian student at the Cafe. She went on to search The New Quotable Woman, a valuable, regularly updated book now easily accessible online.

Published by Penguin, it is edited by the American playwright Elaine Partnow, whose artistic bent explains the lack of militant quotes from more radical African women like Winnie Mandela of South Africa or even Freedom Nyamubaya of Zimbabwe. Among the most famous Dangarembga quotes reproduced in the book are the following:

"Money is a difficult thing to keep, especially when it is scarce," – Nervous Conditions, 1988.

"The victimisation I saw was universal. It didn't depend on poverty, on lack of education or on tradition. It didn't depend on any of the things I had thought it depended on. Men took it everywhere with them. Even heroes like Babamukuru did it. And that was the problem…Femaleness as opposed and inferior to maleness…" – Nervous Conditions, Chapter 6.

Post published in: Arts

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