Being “Woman” and Zimbabwean in Zimbabwe: Reading the (Un)Mournable Bodies in Tsitsi Dangarembga’s This Mournable Body




women , mournable bodies, decolonial feminism, coloniality of being, ubuntu/unhu , world-sense, Zimbabwe, Tsitsi Dangarembga


There is a growing interest in Tsitsi Dangarembga’s last sequel that critiques Zimbabwe as a failed state. In this article, I analyse the representation of black female bodies in postcolonial/neoliberal Zimbabwe. My argument centres on the effects of the second-person narrative perspective and explores how this narrative perspective as Dangarembga’s preferred storytelling method recalibrates with the idea of shared urgency in Zimbabwe. In my reading, I argue that the narrative perspective prioritises the idea of being humane as a need to re-make Zimbabwe’s homeliness, particularly for “women.” In this way, I explore Dangarembga’s other modes of being human/woman that identify with the concept of unhu/ubuntu. I argue that the idea of being humane, or a new world-sensing, and the narrative strategy create urgency in being Zimbabwean, and being a “woman” in Zimbabwe. I argue that Dangarembga’s writing about pain, betrayal, and false hopes in This Mournable Body is her way of simultaneously writing against the Empire and neoliberal Zimbabwe—a way of pushing back and resisting Zimbabwe’s sociopolitical and patriarchal capitalistic order.


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How to Cite

Ncube, Ndumiso. 2023. “Being ‘Woman’ and Zimbabwean in Zimbabwe: Reading the (Un)Mournable Bodies in Tsitsi Dangarembga’s This Mournable Body”. Imbizo 14 (1):17 pages .



Received 2022-10-24
Accepted 2023-04-27
Published 2023-08-11