Sample Paper on Post-colonialism


Post-colonialism responds towards the human penalty of controlling a country and establishing settlers for the economic exploitation of the native people and their land. It looks at the communal, educational and opinionated special effects of release from the effects of colonialism and continuing the anti-colonial challenge to the western supremacy (Ashcroft and Tiffin 2006). The major factors that have greatly contributed to the post-colonial identity of the decolonized people and the politics of knowledge are best addressed in the field of post-colonialism. It derives from the colonizer’s creation of cultural awareness about the colonized people and how that Western cultural knowledge was applied to overcome a non-European people into a colony of the European Mother Country, which, after the initial invasion, was affected using the cultural identities of colonizer and colonized. In the context of the two novels, post-colonialism had both the constructive and unconstructive implications on the native inhabitants and their territory.

The theory of resistance and representation

These are some major theories about the post-colonial literature. The theories could be either resistance or representation. The original residents are well represented or the hostility experienced by the oppressing colonizers. The substance evolution in the postcolonial prose was aided by the existence of sustaining institutions such as scholarships, doctrines, and other colonial styles. Both the colonizer and the colonized have more of an intellectual domination rather than a political one. The two theories of resistance and representation would best be explained in the two post-colonial novels (Ashcroft and Tiffin 2006).

The nervous condition by Tsitsi Dangarembga and heart of darkness by Joseph Conrad

The Nervous Condition and the Heart of Darkness have highlighted the impacts of post-colonialism majorly in two African countries. In the novel of nervous conditions of Tsitsi Dangarembga, post-colonialism in Zimbabwe is outlined whereas the novel heart of darkness describes the post-colonialism along the Congo River. Both speak of the colonial masters and the missionaries who visited the two nations to impart their culture over the African culture. All embracing, many of the residents in the two African countries described in the Conrad’s and Dangarembga’s narrations. According to the narrators in the two novels, it is clear that they never liked the colonizers ways of life, and they could not bear the burden. According to the narrators ‘perception, decolonization is an ethical project just because he views it as something outside the very structures which end up leading to nations, nationalism and all its issues.

In the context of the two narrations, Tsitsi Dangarembga and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, postcolonial literature addresses various problems. Moreover, consequences of the decolonization of a country, especially the political and cultural independence of formerly subjugated colonial peoples; it also covers literary critiques of and about postcolonial literature, the undertones of which carries, communicate, and justify racialism and colonialism. Modern forms of postcolonial literature aim at assimilating postcolonialism and its literary expressions. In the context of the two novels, post-colonialism had both the constructive and unconstructive implications for the home-based inhabitants. It would be wrong to ascertain that post-colonialism theory is as a result of the discussions on the role of imperialism since it is not independent.


In Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions, the post-colonialism saw Africans get assimilated. It resulted from the pressure from the colonial masters. The colonial masters could only develop and support the poor African families upon acquiring their culture. The novel nervous conditions, explains how Tambu’s uncle, Babamukuru, who received the Western education from the white missionaries. The uncle is offered a job by the bosses of the colonialism as the headmaster in a missionary school. It was an achievement as Tambu’s uncle could successfully support his family by providing them with the basic needs they would need such as food, shelter, clothing, and education. He and his family enjoy material privileges from the white masters. Acquiring the European way of life had a positive implication on the lives of the Africans. The novel, Nervous condition indicates that in a nation where most Africans live in poverty, the currency of food in such a nation is both real and symbolic. Those Africans who were affiliated to the colonial masters got the favors from them. According to the narrator, the favors from these colonial masters were basically to buy the African culture and erode it with their culture.

Missionaries and their schools

Additionally, the colonial masters in Zimbabwe as portrayed in the novel and the nervous conditions led to the introduction of missionary schools. For instance, the missionary school in which Tambu’s uncle was the headmaster and the sacred heart school where Tambu learned English. At the expense of these privileges, his two children could hardly speak their Shone language. The persona is scornful and hurt by the fact that the people have started learning the language of the colonies. They have completely abandoned their culture and picked up the Whiteman’s culture. It is as a result in loss of real awareness of being a distinct person in the postcolonial state. The Whiteman successfully managed to assimilate the Africans through the primary education offered by the missionaries who saw some Africans learn English and eventually adopting the colonial masters’ way of life. Assimilation was observed at the expense of the loyal Africans to the colonial masters abandoning his cultural beliefs and acquiring the colonial masters’ way of living.

Colonial education

There was an immense drive among the native people of Zimbabwe to educate themselves through the system of the European colonialists, turn and make use of the action in the novel. The missionaries were determined and convinced of the fact that the Africans who accessed education could pose threats to the social order; spoken and written English had value in Shona society. According to Nervous Conditions, there is persistent inequality for the women and the girl child. Regarding acquisition of knowledge, the boy child was preferred and to balance the limited resources available, it was routine that the boy child is given the first priority at the expense of the girl child. As outlined in the Dangarembga’s novels. Mr. Baker, the white missionary, only sends his sons, but not his daughter, to boarding school while Tambu’s brother, Nhamo, attends school at the mission. The primary education gained from the missionary schools enlightened Tambu and Nyasha of the Nervous Conditions. They acquired the skills that enabled them to question the validity of colonial system that was patriarchal in nature.  They could realize their inferior status that was perpetuated by the system and revolt against it.

Racism and racial discrimination in Heart of Darkness

The novel’s title, the Heart of Darkness explains how the native people were described as the archetypal evil. The act of racial discrimination was highly practiced as portrayed in the heart and darkness. He made fun of the Africans by referring to them as ugly inhabitants who don’t deserve to live on the planet. Though the novel describes Africans in the Congo region as being human, it’s further stated that Africa as a setting and backdrop which eliminates the African as a human factor. This effect of post-colonialism resulted after the colonial bosses visited Africa (Comaroff comaroff 2003).

The colonial chiefs despised the Africans just because they believed Africans were the primitive specimen, which was so unethical and unappreciated in the society. It further states that the place is dark and brings insanity to the European hero. In Joseph Conrad’s novel, this was the most important reason why the narrator was not pleased with the idea of Mr. Kurtz adopting the African culture and his effort to learn the Congolese language. The same case scenario was evident in the nervous condition in which Tambu tells how the missionaries carried out their lives in Zimbabwe. The missionaries continued the effort to learn and understand the Shona language shows how committed they were to learn from the Zimbabwean people (Spivak, 1999). However, the enthusiasm of the missionaries to learn the Shona language had a great impact in the society since the Whiteman’s education system had so deeply affected the Zimbabwean consciousness. The group of missionaries in Zimbabwe was just a depiction of the least number of the total missionaries. Concerning Tambu’s corrupt mentality, she felt that the people of her village were inferior and powerless to the whites who had invaded their land.

The postcolonial in Zimbabwe as per the narrator, Nervous Conditions resulted in gender and class issues. Substancewealthis not the only issue that colonialism took control over. It oppresses the people and makes lives miserable. This paper analyzes the various means in which both Nervous Conditions and Heart of Darkness characterize the emerging findings of the state after independence in Zimbabwe. It presents arguments that the two novels refuse to minimize politics in Southern Rhodesia in influencing the processes of post-colonial identity re-alignments. Zimbabwe was colonized by Britain and later gained her independence in 1980. The documentation of Nervous Conditions can be viewed as a critical political intervention that was aimed at changing marginal duties which women have been given under colonialism and continue to perform then even after the country gained independence.

The white colonial masters built the white houses for some Africans in Zimbabwe. Heroine’s uncle of Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions was accommodated in one of the executive houses, an offer that was given to him by the white colonial masters. There was a massive construction of houses to cater for the educated Africans who were in the mission schools built for the Africans who had acquired scholarships to study in the European countries. It improved the level of education since most of the native people wished they would have the opportunity to live in the white house’s which were built for the learned in the community. As a result of the increased number, the know-how and exposure were increased among the Africans, and they were in good position to understand the virtues.

According to the context of the Heart of Darkness, following Joseph Conrad’s knowledge in Congo, he was so critical of the European policy in Congo Basin. The natives were always exploited doing odd jobs, slave trading, and sexual harassment of the local women (Basch and Blanc 2005). Based on the past analysis related to the colonial era, women were discriminated by the colonialist and also the African men. The colonial bosses forced the women in the Congo basin to work on the land they had forcefully acquired from the native communities. Women spent most time working under strict supervision whereas they received little reward. Additionally, the Black men oppressed their wives by using them as sex objects and denying them the basic education. King Leopold, a colonial master, kept on calling Africans names. For instance, in his speech in 1876, he proclaimed the pierce darkness enshrouding the entire population. The statement had a related meaning to the Conrad’s title Heart of Darkness. The narrator in his view feels the access to education by the women will provide a better bargaining power and equally fight for their rights which were exploited by both the colonial and African men.

The anxious conditions give an account of Tambudzayi Sigauke’s fight to obtain basic education. Women who are black live are sexually discriminated from their men and thus find themselves cooperating and uniting with black men against the patriarchal system of colonialism as they fight their men (Basch and Blanc 2005). Some women in Nervous Conditions assisted Tambudzayi in escaping from the problems associated with womanhood imposed by the collaboration between the colonialism and the traditional Shona patriarchy. In the novel, Tambudzayi’s grandmother discusses the historical times of the colonial period on the African collective method of production. Arguably, Tambudzayi came to realize that the Africans were not allowed to exploit their productive agricultural land by the masters of colonialism immediately after the war that occurred in 1896. Following the loss of political freedom also went the African men’s capacity to provide for their families. The immediate option was to look for work in the emergent European farms and mines, an improvement, which left many women in control cultivation in rural areas thus being able to raise school fees for their families and also provide the basic necessities for their families (Chahrabarty, 2009).

Nervous Condition deals with the concern of the duties and responsibilities undertaken by the Africans during the colonial period and after self-governance in Southern Africa. The sufferings and humiliations women went through have made them feel less worthy in the African community. Dangarembgwa uses stereotypes to provide images of Black women who reject to be bullied by the Black men during colonialism times. Tambudzayi also rejects to give in to her father’s advice of her staying  at home with her mother so that she is able to learn how to cook and to reproduce the next generations for the reason that she will not cook books and feed them to her husband. Following the narrations of the two novels, it is evident that women have been so much empowered in the postcolonial era. Several women are in leadership positions and they undertake their duties so well. The move has equally enabled most women to feel motivated and struggle to get equal opportunities just like the men.

Postcolonialism was a major factor to the increased poverty in African countries such as Zimbabwe and Congo as portrayed in the two novels, the heart of darkness and nervous condition. The colonial masters forcefully acquired the African lands and turned to be the bosses as they left the Africans with tiny land to cultivate. Basically, the Congo basin lies along the Congo River. The general climatic condition along River Congo facilitates agricultural activities. It was not made possible because the colonial masters turned them into Whiteman’s land and instead forced the Africans just to work as slaves. It was the main reason for the resistances and eventual demand for independence from the colonial authorities.


Postcolonial Identity in Dangarembga’s

Many Africans were given new names by the colonial leaders. It was because most African names were so difficult for the colonizers pronunciation. The colonial masters had difficulties in pronouncing African names. Therefore, they gave Africans that were easy for them to pronounce. Nervous condition explains how Mashoko was given a new name by Mr. Brown. The change of name was not because the people of Zimbabwe were ignorant, but it was the only means to get a job with the Europeans (Chahrabarty, 2009). The Africans in Zimbabwe would be forced to work for the Europeans in order to the settle the high taxes imposed on them by the colonial masters. The taxes were compulsory, and failure to pay could lead to seizing of their cattle by the colonial chiefs.

Nervous condition outlines how Africans could be sold out as slaves. A collection of Africans could be sold as slaves in exchange for gold. However, it is against Human privileges to trade on persons. During the process of selling out Africans to work in Asian continent as slaves led to breakage of families and as most of the young ones were left with no one to take care of them. According to the narrator, it is a key challenge and dealing with the problem is the vital problem(Young, 2003). The narrator urges all the natives always to remain united. The narrator argues that if the they stay united; they would probably resist the bully by the whites who sold them out as slaves.

In conclusion, both novels analyze the post-colonialism primarily in two African countries. The nervous of conditions examines the Zimbabwe and the Heart of Darkness talks about the great Congo Basin. The Africans before colonization were full of their culture and rarely value the formal education. As much as the colonizers were dictators of Africans way of life, they played an important role by imparting their western culture and exposure to the native people. The missionaries were capable of accessing Africa following the fact that the colonial bosses were their fellow Whiteman. Through that, they were able to offer the necessary requirements to the loyal natives such as scholarships and medical services.  Arguably, the post-colonialism has transformed the colonized nations more positively than it would have negatively done.



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Basch, L., Schiller, N.G. and Blanc, C.S. eds., 2005. Nations unbound: Transnational projects, postcolonial predicaments, and deterritorialized nation-states. Routledge.

Chakrabarty, D., 2009. Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial thought and historical difference. Princeton University Press.

Chatterjee, P., 1993. The nation and its fragments: Colonial and postcolonial histories (Vol. 11). Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Comaroff, J. and Comaroff, J.L., 1993. Modernity and its malcontents: Ritual and power in postcolonial Africa. University of Chicago Press.

Spivak, G.C., 1999. A critique of postcolonial reason. Harvard university press

Young, R., 2003. Postcolonialism (p. 140). Oxford: Oxford University Press.