Nervous Conditions: The Circumstances Surrounding The Wedding:

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The event of Jeremiah and Mainin’s wedding had several impacts. It affected certain characters more than others and definitely had many consequences. Tambu being the daughter of Jeremiah and Maini suffered immensely with the whole concept. She struggled within herself, trying to reason around the feelings she manifested at that time. The circumstances surrounding this wedding were not typical and therefore need to be discussed.

The notion of the wedding first emerged during the family’s dare where the family’s patriarchy meet to address serious family business. During this specific dare they were to discuss Lucia and Takesure’s situation. The discussion ended with Takesure suggesting Jeremiah to be given medicine in order to prevent him from being influenced by Lucia. This lead Jeremiah to come to the conclusion that there are serious problems ranging from money problems to family problems in need of fixing. He explains “ The problems are everywhere in the family.Mukoma is always saying that Nyasha is impossible these days, and sometimes Maiguru too”(148). He goes on providing more examples where the mentioned problems are present. He claims the problems are connected and arise from a specific source.“These are serious misfortunes. They do not come alone. They are coming from somewhere. It’s obvious. They are being sent”(148). To conclude he suggests a medium to perform a ritual ceremony in order to resolve these issues. Babamukuru on the other hand, agitated by his younger brother’s proposition had completely other plans for the family.

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As the eldest brother, Babamukuru is the family’s patriarch. Being the patriarch of the family, Babamukuru is highly respected especially by his unsuccessful younger brother Jeremiah. He uses his power and influence as a Western educated scholar to determine and establish what is deemed as acceptable. Along deciding what is to be done and not done, he oppresses the woman surrounding him. The mentioned before is especially visible, when he struggles to accept his daughter Nyasha for being a headstrong, opinionated woman. He physically abuses her for her perceived promiscuity and punishes her simply for existing as a woman. An example of his authoritarian behaviour is when Nyasha defends herself and to which he replies “you must learn to be obedient… We cannot have two men in this house” (117). His attitude and behaviour was no different during the family dare. He acknowledged the misfortunes in the family but quickly dismissed Jeremiah’s traditional approach. He clearly claimed the source of the issues as “the result of something that we are not doing that we should be doing” (149). His solution to the misfortunes was a traditional church wedding since Jeremiah and Mainini had been living in sin. One can wonder if native tradition explains his insistence on a church wedding after twenty years of marriage. If not, where do his Christian ethics stem from?

When the Europeans colonized Africa, Christianity played a major role. Christianity washed away traditional African religions and taught natives to forsake traditions and facilitate colonialism. Since Babamukuru received a colonial university education offered by the colonial system he was taught to associate African with unprogressive and backward meanwhile associating Western with progressive. Tambudzai idolizes him by saying “ Babamukuru, I knew, was different. He hadn’t cringed under the weight of his poverty” (50). Although he is Shona in ethnicity and heritage, he is ultimately a product of Western education and Western means of success. He becomes an interpreter between the marginalized natives and the colonial authority. His acceptance of the European ways of living and neglection of native traditions becomes definite when he suggests a church wedding. In conclusion the church wedding took place because Babamukuru possesses the gifts of the white man’s voice.’  


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