Wednesday, October 5, 2016

SHE NO LONGER WEEPS. By Tsitsi Dangarembga

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Strange how when a book is published in Africa (generally) it is rare indeed for it to be celebrated; for scholars, critics reviews etc to focus on the work trenchantly. But one would expect any work by Tsitsi Dangaremgba to be a rave, even if it is early work, and first issued in Africa. After all, Dangarembga is one of the all time female greats of African literature. But She no longer weeps hardly garners any attention compared to the great novels of the author. Shame, perhaps. Africa has a number of quite distinguished female playwrights and it is reassuring that Dangarembga (from Zimbabwe) is one of them. Zulu Sofola of Nigeria paved the way for female dramatists in her country, and in recent times her compatriot, Osonye Tess Onwueme has performed miracles in the theatre. Ama Ata Aidoo of Ghana also remains a titan as far as drama is concerned. And Gcina Mhlope is an icon in South African theatre. In She No Longer Weeps, Dangaremgba from early in her literary career, already writes about her pet themes, rather railing against patriarchy, and disenchanted with the general lot of life of autochthonous women. Yes, in Africa in particular despite advances in our milieu and times most women still have to play second (or even third) fiddle to men, depending on them for survival, delving into prostitution, having to trade their bodies for promotion, job advancement et al. And it is worse in the panoply of rural areas. Here in this play the focus is on the plight of a particular young lady and how she is impregnated. But alas, instead of accepting her plight in supine fashion she proceeds to get revenge against the man responsible for her condition. What one would expect from the author of course, who believes in the worth, dignity and resilience of (African) women. An interesting work which some might regard as "apprentice" work, but then again, the author is a legend...
- Malome

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