Zimbabwean playwright Tsitsi Dangarembga called for community activism to drive the vision for emancipation in dealing with the burden of race, class and gender in the construction of the post-colonial order. Ms Dangarembga was the keynote speaker at the 2018 Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA) annual lecture at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), on Tuesday, 20 March 2018.
Presenting her lecture address entitled, “Nervous Conditions: The Burden of Race, Class and Gender in the Construction of the Post-Colonial Order,” Ms Dangarembga deconstructs colonialism and its aftermath in modern society entrenched in African people’s social struggles and systemic elements in political leadership, economy and technology, amongst others.
In the many points that she made in her deconstruction of colonial elements, she highlighted that a creative economy gives people the authority and autonomy to control and achieve what they want, thus erasing the totalitarian system of control over resources. Ms Dangarembga listed poor nutrition, war, living stressful lifestyles in stressful conditions, and poverty as some of the environmental factors causing a nervous breakdown in people. She pointed out that ‘crisis of personhood’ was caused by “ignorance, trauma and vicarious gratification.”
“As a continent (Africa), we have a lot to do in order to create a nation that flourishes. We can do this through the use of creative industries and technology, and that will give people the authority and autonomy to control and achieve what they have and want, thus erasing the totalitarian control over resources. It is about reclaiming your power to do the things that you have always wanted to do,” said Ms Dangarembga.
In a question and answer session, the attendees of the lecture asked: What can psychological institutions offer to deal with issues of decolonisation? How does the youth deal with the issues of the past? How can the nervous conditions of single women on land redistribution in South Africa be addressed with lessons from Zimbabwe’s historical land expropriation?
Attendees included UJ Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, Dr Mosibudi Mangena, former Minister Sylvia Mabandla, former Minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, and MISTRA Chairperson Prof Sibusiso Vil-Nkomo, among others.
The lecture was the seventh this year since MISTRA was established.