Nervous Conditions

by

Tsitsi Dangarembga

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Tambu is the teenage protagonist of the novel. She's born and raised on a homestead in Rhodesia where her family lives in poverty. Because her uncle Babamukuru is wealthy and educated, he insists that Tambu and her older brother, Nhamo, attend school. When Jeremiah and Mainini run out of money to send Tambu, she feels the injustice sharply and raises the money herself. Because Babamukuru’s wife, Maiguru, is educated and seems to live a happy life, Tambu believes that education won't make her useless. When Nhamo tries to thwart her attempt to raise money, Tambu begins to hate him, a feeling that persists until Nhamo's death. At this point, Babamukuru decides to take Tambu to the mission school so that she can pull her family out of poverty. Tambu takes this responsibility very seriously and believes that, unlike Nhamo, she won't fall prey to the grandness of Babamukuru's house and make her look down on life at the homestead. Tambu is only partially successful in this endeavor. While she never stops loving parts of the homestead, such as the river Nyamarira, and continues to respect her parents, she's shocked when she discovers that things at home aren't as clean as when she left. Tambu becomes friends with her cousin Nyasha, who introduces her to her library and engages her in conversation about poverty, racism, and sexism. Though Tambu finds these interesting, because she idolizes Babamukuru and believes that her job is to excel at school, she understands that thinking outside the box is dangerous. She refuses to stand up for herself when it comes to Babamukuru until he decides that her parents need to marry. She believes the wedding will make a joke of her parents and refuses to go, but can only do so because she has an out-of-body experience. Tambu notes that her idolization of Babamukuru kept her from developing critical thinking skills. Despite this, Tambu is accepted to a prestigious Catholic school and is thrilled to attend, as she believes it'll help her help her family. She doesn't realize until later, when she writes the novel, that the school system brainwashed her.

Tambu Quotes in Nervous Conditions

The Nervous Conditions quotes below are all either spoken by Tambu or refer to Tambu. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Limits of Education Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Lynne Rienner Publishers edition of Nervous Conditions published in 2004.
Chapter One Quotes

All this poverty began to offend him, or at the very least to embarrass him after he went to the mission, in a way that it had not done before.

Related Characters: Tambu (speaker), Nhamo
Page Number: 7
Explanation and Analysis:

Perhaps I am making it seem as though Nhamo simply decided to be obnoxious and turned out to be good at it, when in reality that was not the case; when in reality he was doing no more than behave, perhaps extremely, in the expected manner. The needs and sensibilities of the women in my family were not considered a priority, or even legitimate.

Related Characters: Tambu (speaker), Mainini, Jeremiah, Nhamo
Page Number: 12
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Two Quotes

My father thought I should not mind. "Is that anything to worry about? Ha-a-a, it's nothing," he reassured me, with his usual ability to jump whichever way was easiest. "Can you cook books and feed them to your husband? Stay at home with your mother. Learn to cook and clean. Grow vegetables."

Related Characters: Jeremiah (speaker), Tambu, Nhamo
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

"When there are sacrifices to be made, you are the one who has to make them. And these things are not easy […] As if it is ever easy. And these days it is worse, with the poverty of blackness on one side and the weight of womanhood on the other."

Related Characters: Mainini (speaker), Tambu, Jeremiah, Nhamo
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:

He thought I was emulating my brother, that the things I read would fill my mind with impractical ideas, making me quite useless for the real tasks of feminine living. It was a difficult time for him because Mr. Matimba had shown him that in terms of cash my education was an investment, but then in terms of cattle so was my conformity.

Related Characters: Tambu (speaker), Jeremiah, Nhamo, Mr. Matimba
Page Number: 34
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Three Quotes

Whereas before I had believed with childish confidence that burdens were only burdens in so far as you chose to bear them, now I began to see that the disappointing events surrounding Babamukuru's return were serious consequences of the same general laws that had almost brought my education to an abrupt, predictable end.

Related Characters: Tambu (speaker), Babamukuru, Nyasha, Nhamo, Chido
Related Symbols: England
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:

I was not sorry that he had died, but I was sorry for him because, according to his standards, his life had been thoroughly worth living.

Related Characters: Tambu (speaker), Nhamo
Page Number: 56
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Four Quotes

Today I am content that this little paragraph of history as written by Nyasha makes a good story, as likely if not more so than the chapters those very same missionaries were dishing out to us in those mission schools.

Related Characters: Tambu (speaker), Nyasha
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:

Its phrases told me something I did not want to know, that my Babamukuru was not the person I had thought he was. He was wealthier than I had thought possible. He was educated beyond books. And he had done it alone. He had pushed up from under the weight of the white man with no strong relative to help him. How had he done it? Having done it, what had he become? […] I felt forever separated from my uncle.

Related Characters: Tambu (speaker), Babamukuru
Page Number: 64
Explanation and Analysis:

This lack of brilliance was due, I discovered years later when television came to the mission, to the use of scouring powders which, though they sterilized 99 percent of a household, were harsh and scratched fine surfaces. When I found this out, I realized that Maiguru […] must have known about the dulling effects of these scourers […] By that time I knew something about budgets as well, notably their inelasticity. It dawned on me then that Maiguru's dull sink was not a consequence of slovenliness, as the advertisers would have had us believe, but a necessity.

Related Characters: Tambu (speaker), Babamukuru, Maiguru
Page Number: 68
Explanation and Analysis:

[…] the real situation was this: Babamukuru was God, therefore I had arrived in Heaven. I was in danger of becoming an angel […] and forgetting how ordinary humans existed—from minute to minute and from hand to mouth. The absence of dirt was proof of the other-worldly nature of my new home.

Related Characters: Tambu (speaker), Babamukuru, Maiguru
Page Number: 70
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Five Quotes

"Maybe that would have been best. For them at least, because now they're stuck with hybrids for children. And they don't like it. They don't like it at all. It offends them. They think we do it on purpose, so it offends them."

Related Characters: Nyasha (speaker), Tambu, Babamukuru, Maiguru, Chido
Related Symbols: England
Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Six Quotes

Nor surprisingly, since Whites were indulgent towards promising young black boys in those days, provided that the promise was a peaceful promise, a grateful promise to accept whatever was handed out to them and not to expect more, Chido was offered a place at the school and a scholarship to go with it.

Related Characters: Tambu (speaker), Chido
Page Number: 108
Explanation and Analysis:

The victimization, I saw, was universal. It didn't depend on poverty, on lack of education or on tradition […] Men took it everywhere with them. Even heroes like Babamukuru did it.

Related Characters: Tambu (speaker), Babamukuru, Nyasha, Nhamo
Page Number: 118
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Seven Quotes

Although she had been brought up in abject poverty, she had not, like my mother, been married to it at fifteen. Her spirit, unfettered in this respect, had experimented with living and drawn its own conclusions. Consequently, she was a much bolder woman than my mother […].

Related Characters: Tambu (speaker), Mainini, Lucia
Page Number: 129
Explanation and Analysis:

But the women had been taught to recognize these reflections as self and it was frightening now to even begin to think that, the very facts which set them apart as a group, as women, as a certain kind of person, were only myths; frightening to acknowledge that generations of threat and assault and neglect had battered these myths into the extreme, dividing reality they faced, of the Maigurus or the Lucias.

Related Characters: Tambu (speaker), Mainini, Maiguru, Lucia, Patience
Page Number: 140
Explanation and Analysis:

"Because she's rich and comes here and flashes her money around, so you listen to her as though you want to eat the words that come out of her mouth […] I am poor and ignorant, that's me, but I have a mouth and it will keep on talking, it won't keep quiet."

Related Characters: Mainini (speaker), Tambu, Maiguru, Lucia, Patience
Page Number: 140
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Eight Quotes

Naturally I was angry with him for having devised this plot which made such a joke of my parents, my home and myself. And just as naturally I could not be angry with him since surely it was sinful to be angry with Babamukuru.

Related Characters: Tambu (speaker), Babamukuru, Mainini, Jeremiah
Page Number: 151
Explanation and Analysis:

I simply was not ready to accept that Babamukuru was a historical artifact; or that advantage and disadvantage were predetermined, so that Lucia could not really hope to achieve much as a result of Babamukru's generosity; and that the benefit would only really be a long-term one if people like Babamukuru kept on fulfilling their social obligation; and people like Lucia would pull themselves together.

Related Characters: Tambu (speaker), Babamukuru, Nyasha, Lucia
Page Number: 162
Explanation and Analysis:

My vagueness and my reverence for my uncle, what he was, what he had achieved, what he represented and therefore what he wanted, had stunted the growth of my faculty of criticism, sapped the energy that in childhood I had used to define my own position. It had happened insidiously, the many favorable comparisons with Nyasha doing a lot of the damage.

Related Characters: Tambu (speaker), Babamukuru, Nyasha
Page Number: 167
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Nine Quotes

How could I possibly forget my brother and the mealies, my mother and the latrine and the wedding? These were all evidence of the burdens my mother had succumbed to. Going to the convent was a chance to lighten those burdens by entering a world where the burdens were light.

Related Characters: Tambu (speaker), Nyasha, Mainini, Nhamo
Page Number: 182
Explanation and Analysis:

"I don't know what people mean by a loose woman—sometimes she is someone who walks the streets, sometimes she is an educated woman, sometimes she is a successful man's daughter or she is simply beautiful. Loose or decent, I don't know."

Related Characters: Maiguru (speaker), Tambu, Babamukuru
Page Number: 184
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Ten Quotes

"Look what they've done to us," she said softly. "I'm not one of them but I'm not one of you."

Related Characters: Nyasha (speaker), Tambu, Babamukuru, Maiguru
Page Number: 205
Explanation and Analysis:
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Nervous Conditions PDF

Tambu Character Timeline in Nervous Conditions

The timeline below shows where the character Tambu appears in Nervous Conditions. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Introduction
The Limits of Education Theme Icon
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Kwame Anthony Appiah introduces the novel by repeating its opening line: Tambu tells the reader that she wasn't sorry when her brother died. Tambu goes on to... (full context)
The Limits of Education Theme Icon
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...says that this all shifts when Nhamo dies and, because there are no other brothers, Tambu finally has access to Western education. She struggles to reconcile her moral upbringing with the... (full context)
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...Conditions doesn't in any way do this. Dangarembga uses Shona vocabulary with no explanation, and Tambu's assessments of white people are uncomfortable. He suggests that in particular, the book's primary issue—... (full context)
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...with the assumption that her novel will make sense to many different people by having Tambu narrate the tale. This, Appiah suggests, is why Nervous Conditions has received so much worldwide... (full context)
Chapter One
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Tambu explains that she wasn't sorry when her brother died and has no intention of apologizing... (full context)
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Nhamo dies when Tambu is thirteen. She and her family expect Nhamo to arrive from the mission by bus,... (full context)
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Tambu doesn't understand why Nhamo feels this way. The walk home winds through fields where friends... (full context)
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Tambu explains that it was Babamukuru's idea to enroll Nhamo at the mission in 1965, as... (full context)
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On this day in 1968, Babamukuru has a meeting and therefore can't drive Nhamo, though Tambu suspects that Babamukuru secretly wants Nhamo to take the bus. She explains that except for... (full context)
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In the evening, Mainini goes to her vegetable garden and Tambu returns to the homestead. She expects to find Nhamo, but he's not there. Her younger... (full context)
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Tambu knows that Nhamo is just exerting his power when he makes Netsai fetch his luggage.... (full context)
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Without a chicken to kill, Tambu turns to preparing the evening meal of sadza and vegetables. Netsai brings Tambu out of... (full context)
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Naïvely, Tambu thinks that when Nhamo gets home, she'll make him catch the chicken, and she'll pluck... (full context)
Chapter Two
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Stepping back in time, Tambu explains how they got to the point where she hated Nhamo. He begins school at... (full context)
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Tambu asks her family members about the events surrounding Babamukuru's departure for England, as she doesn't... (full context)
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...selling boiled eggs at bus stops and managed to keep Nhamo in school, which angered Tambu. Jeremiah told Tambu that she shouldn't mind not being in school, since she'd never be... (full context)
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Jeremiah refused to work and earn the school fees himself, but Tambu had a plan: if he'd give her corn seed, she'd grow corn and raise the... (full context)
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In addition to teaching Tambu how to grow corn, Tambu's grandmother also taught family history. She moved to the area... (full context)
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Tambu tended her cornfields and completed all her other chores. Mainini began to discourage Tambu to... (full context)
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Late in February, as Tambu's crop ripened, the cobs began to disappear. Nhamo asked her what she expected. Tambu decided... (full context)
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Tambu told Mr. Matimba the whole story. He suggested that Tambu sell her corn to Whites... (full context)
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On Tuesday, Tambu climbed into the truck with Mr. Matimba. He explained to her why the bumps on... (full context)
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Finally, they got out of the car and stopped on a corner. Tambu arranged her corn as Mr. Matimba tried, in English, to flag down an old white... (full context)
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Mr. Matimba helped Tambu pack up and explained that he'd told Doris that Tambu was an orphan trying to... (full context)
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Finally, they called in Mr. Matimba. He pointed out that someday, Tambu will be able to earn more than ten pounds per month if she's educated. Jeremiah... (full context)
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Tambu desperately wants to be a part of the travel preparations, and Jeremiah eventually tells her... (full context)
Chapter Three
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Babamukuru arrives in a cavalcade of cars. Netsai, Tambu, and their cousin Shupikai watch the cars approaching from miles away. When the cars get... (full context)
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...very English: she's wearing a tiny dress that barely covers her thighs and looks concerned. Tambu turns away, disgusted by Nyasha's inappropriate dress. She can't pinpoint why she also dislikes Chido,... (full context)
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Tambu decides that the event is ruined because she wasn't allowed to go to the airport... (full context)
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The other women are pleased when they discover Tambu cooking. Tambu feels superior because she believes Nyasha wouldn't be able to cook such a... (full context)
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Before the relatives can eat, Tambu has to carry a water dish for the relatives to wash their hands. She doesn't... (full context)
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Tambu is offended; she never expected her cousins to change so much, and she can't fathom... (full context)
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...not having enough money for school fees, but says he was pleased that Jeremiah sent Tambu and Nhamo back to school. He struggles to remember Tambu's name. The family praises Babamukuru's... (full context)
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Jeremiah tells Nhamo the plan the next day. Nhamo feels extremely important and tells Tambu about it as she waters vegetables with water from Nyamarira. He insists that there's nobody... (full context)
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Tambu throws a rock towards Nhamo but misses. She begins to charge him, but he runs... (full context)
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Tambu ignores Nhamo for a while after that. Mainini is very upset about it, especially since... (full context)
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Nhamo's absence also means that when Babamukuru comes to visit on the weekends with Nyasha, Tambu is able to try to be friends with Nyasha. Tambu is unsuccessful, as Nyasha refuses... (full context)
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...with jealous spirits. He leaves to tell the neighbors and let them spread the news. Tambu finds that she's not sad about Nhamo; she's mostly sad for him because his life... (full context)
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...while, Babamukuru brings up the plight of Jeremiah's branch of the family. He suggests that Tambu come to the mission to be educated so she can support them until she marries.... (full context)
Chapter Four
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Tambu can barely describe her feelings as she gets into Babamukuru's car. She feels as though... (full context)
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Tambu remembers her first car ride to sell her corn and thinks about what life will... (full context)
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Despite having heard stories about the grandness of Babamukuru's house, Tambu is still shocked when they turn up the drive. She thinks of her own home... (full context)
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Tambu's spirits begin to fall when she notices a smaller house by the grand one; she... (full context)
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Tambu descends into self-pity and then worries about it, but nothing can lift her spirits. Then,... (full context)
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Though Tambu thinks at the time that the kitchen is grand, Tambu the narrator explains that the... (full context)
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Anna shows Tambu to the living room to wait for Maiguru, who is resting. Tambu hopes Maiguru isn't... (full context)
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Overwhelmed, Tambu tries to keep herself from getting distracted like Nhamo did. She tries to ignore the... (full context)
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Tambu the narrator says that the situation was far more dangerous than the reader might imagine;... (full context)
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Tambu jumps when she hears a shrill siren go off. She stands up and looks out... (full context)
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Tambu takes a small biscuit, which seems to worry Maiguru. She offers sodas and Tambu tries... (full context)
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...they're trying to teach the children proper manners, but it's taking time. Finally, Maiguru leads Tambu into the hall and knocks on a door before opening it. Nyasha is inside on... (full context)
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...moment, and then Nyasha pointedly ignores Maiguru. Maiguru motions to the other bed and tells Tambu that she'll sleep there. Tambu is worried. Part of her feels intrigued by Nyasha, but... (full context)
Chapter Five
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For a while after Maiguru leaves, Nyasha pointedly reads and ignores Tambu. Eventually the girls begin looking sideways at each other and finally, Nyasha laughs. They talk... (full context)
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...as Babamukuru and Maiguru are now "stuck with hybrids for children" and don't like them. Tambu tells Nyasha that she should still be respectful to Maiguru. Nyasha says bitterly that Maiguru... (full context)
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Tambu doesn't have a chance to explain this to Nyasha, as Anna appears and kneels in... (full context)
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Tambu enters the dining room. The table is covered with serving dishes, and Nyasha sits at... (full context)
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Tambu eyes the meal and is concerned, as the food looks interesting, and she knows that... (full context)
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...behave like that. Maiguru comforts him and points out that he did take her book. Tambu, feeling very uncomfortable, finishes her meal and excuses herself. (full context)
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Nyasha invites Tambu to come outside so she can smoke a cigarette. Tambu is aghast and feels that... (full context)
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A few minutes later, Anna kneels in the doorway and tells Tambu that she's wanted in the living room. She uses an honorific to address Tambu, which... (full context)
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Tambu nervously walks into the living room. When Babamukuru asks her to sit, she initially sits... (full context)
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Babamukuru talks about how he often spends evenings in his office instead of at home. Tambu thinks that he looks impressive when he talks like this; she notes that throughout his... (full context)
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As Tambu returns to the bedroom, she vows to be like Babamukuru: hardworking, straight, and true. Nyasha... (full context)
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After Nyasha gets back into bed, she notes that Tambu didn't put her bedclothes on and says she'll have to do it in the dark.... (full context)
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Tambu wakes up halfway to the bathroom. She runs herself a bath and scrubs herself three... (full context)
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Tambu struggles to eat at breakfast. She's impatient to be at school where she knows she... (full context)
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Addressing the reader, Tambu says that this is the beginning of her period of reincarnation. She devours Nyasha's library... (full context)
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Fortunately, Tambu escapes Nyasha's fate. Though she quickly becomes fluent in English, she doesn't have a British... (full context)
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With so much food at hand, Tambu becomes plump and begins to menstruate. Mainini had already given Tambu reusable napkins. However, Tambu... (full context)
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Tambu thinks that Nyasha is perplexing: she has everything and should be content, but she isn't.... (full context)
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Despite this belief, Tambu engages in her own thought experiments. She thinks of Anna, who used to be interesting... (full context)
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Tambu discovers how highly educated Maiguru is one Sunday. After church, Tambu meets up with Nyasha... (full context)
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One morning, Tambu listens to her headmaster compliment Babamukuru on Nyasha, who he says will bring home a... (full context)
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After dinner, Tambu finally asks Maiguru if she actually has a master's degree. Maiguru is flattered, though sarcastic... (full context)
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Tambu feels sorry for Maiguru because everything she said was reasonable: she's being prevented from reaching... (full context)
Chapter Six
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...the number of white people. They're all missionaries, and therefore different than the "wizards" that Tambu's grandmother experienced. These ones want to give and spread God's light in Africa, not steal... (full context)
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As a teen, Tambu likes the missionaries much better than she liked Doris. However, some of them are very... (full context)
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One of Nyasha and Tambu's missionary friends, Nyaradzo, has two older brothers. They attend a special school in Salisbury where,... (full context)
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During Tambu's first year at the mission, Nyasha sits her first set of public exams. The exam... (full context)
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Tambu is very excited for Christmas, as Babamukuru is allowing her to stay at the mission... (full context)
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Chido, Tambu, and Nyasha giggle all the way to the school hall. Tambu isn't excited for the... (full context)
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Chido and Tambu wait for Nyasha for a while before slowly walking down the drive. Chido insists that... (full context)
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...admits that he was teaching her a new dance. This shocks Babamukuru, and he asks Tambu to leave the room, but Tambu can feel the atmosphere growing dangerous. She wakes up... (full context)
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...himself. He threatens to kill her if she doesn't go away. Silently, Nyasha walks outside. Tambu follows her and they sit by the servants' quarters. Nyasha smokes a cigarette. (full context)
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Tambu thinks that Babamukuru's behavior is shockingly similar to Nhamo's treatment of her: both she and... (full context)
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Tambu can't understand why Nyasha feels so threatened at the mission and suggests that she wait... (full context)
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...asks if anyone cares about her needs, but Chido says that she's the daughter. When Tambu and Nyasha get back to the house, Nyasha walks right past Maiguru's outstretched arms. (full context)
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...spends the week out of the house. He lectures Nyasha and gives her fourteen lashes. Tambu worries about Nyasha, as she senses that Nyasha isn't just sulking because she didn't get... (full context)
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...sees this as well but doesn't know what to do. One day, as she and Tambu eat lunch alone, she tells Tambu that Babamukuru was waiting up to let the dogs... (full context)
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Nyasha starts her period the next day, nine days early, and tells Tambu that she wishes she'd had sex. The girls giggle. Tambu worries for Babamukuru now that... (full context)
Chapter Seven
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On December 23, Babamukuru, Maiguru, Nyasha, and Tambu go to the homestead for Christmas. Chido gets out of going. Nyasha pouts about having... (full context)
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...a half an ox is too much meat. Her grumbling at Babamukuru is unusual, so Tambu wonders if he actually did buy too much meat. Maiguru says that her issue is... (full context)
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...there are holes in the walls, and the once sanitary latrine is coated in excrement. Tambu asks Mainini a few days into the visit why she doesn't clean the toilet, but... (full context)
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Tambu wishes Lucia would be quiet, as her situation is serious: Tambu's maternal grandparents have always... (full context)
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...his reproach. They all carry provisions inside, and then Mainini calls out from the bedroom. Tambu goes to her and tries to deal with Mainini's displeasure that Tambu didn't greet her... (full context)
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...in-laws wouldn't come. When Mainini notices that Maiguru is sitting on the floor, she sends Tambu to fetch a chair. Nobody wants to sit on it but finally, Nyasha moves to... (full context)
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...up sleeping together in the tiny outside kitchen while the married couples take private rooms. Tambu explains that the holiday wasn't truly a holiday: there were 24 people to feed, fetch... (full context)
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...boiling with rage, tries to get Maiguru to take a side. Maiguru sidesteps and refuses. Tambu notes that none of the women could recognize that by taking these extreme sides, their... (full context)
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...to bed. After Maiguru leaves, Mainini sneers that Maiguru is proud, unfeeling, doesn't care for Tambu and killed Nhamo. (full context)
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...be quiet, and accuses Maiguru of being a witch and stealing children. Mainini turns on Tambu and says that if Tambu is too good to eat vegetables or use the latrine,... (full context)
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...to listen in on the meeting, and the two of them leave. Patience follows and Tambu wants to follow, but she's afraid of seeming disloyal to Nyasha. Nyasha is gone, and... (full context)
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Back outside, Tambu worriedly tells Lucia that if she takes Mainini, Tambu will have to come back to... (full context)
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The next morning, Tambu shares everything she heard with Nyasha. Nyasha is pleased for Lucia and amused about the... (full context)
Chapter Eight
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Tambu doesn't find the proposed wedding funny. She experiences panic attacks every time she thinks of... (full context)
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To distract themselves, Tambu and Nyasha make clay pots. Nyasha takes this hobby very seriously, while Tambu welcomes it... (full context)
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Gradually, the relatives leave. Tambu stays at the homestead for the three weeks until term begins. She's upset that she... (full context)
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Tambu is disappointed with Lucia, especially since she fears that her relationship with Takesure will only... (full context)
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...the mission proceeds as usual. Nyasha and Babamukuru continue to fight constantly. Next to Nyasha, Tambu looks like the perfect woman because she hardly speaks and never questions things. Babamukuru points... (full context)
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...her knees to thank Babamukuru for his generosity. Mainini joins and then Maiguru does, and Tambu wants to as well. Nyasha kicks Tambu under the table and tells her to not... (full context)
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Eventually, Nyasha and Tambu take their argument to Lucia. Lucia says that Babamukuru wanted to be asked, so she... (full context)
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...wedding for the end of September. He extends the house to accommodate guests and names Tambu and Lucia bridesmaids. One day in August, Babamukuru fetches Mainini, Tambu, Nyasha, and Lucia to... (full context)
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...she also changes their patterns. A week before the wedding, they pick up the dresses. Tambu tries hers on and feels beautiful. Nyasha chuckles that the wedding will be sweet, but... (full context)
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Tambu knows she can't just tell Babamukuru her feelings, so she tries to tell herself that... (full context)
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The Thursday before the wedding, Babamukuru tells Tambu that he'll take her home so she can help with preparations. She politely agrees, but... (full context)
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The next afternoon, Tambu goes home with her friends and doesn't come back to the mission until well after... (full context)
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Nyasha tries to coax Tambu out of bed, but Tambu feels herself slipping out of her body. She finds herself... (full context)
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Babamukuru rages for a while and threatens to throw Tambu out of his house if she doesn't agree to go. Tambu decides his threats don't... (full context)
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Later, they tell Tambu that the wedding was wonderful. Jeremiah and Mainini were beautifully dressed, there was a lot... (full context)
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The day after the wedding, Babamukuru calls Tambu to the sitting room. He calmly tells Tambu how disappointed he is. He whips her... (full context)
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...assumes that the shirts belong to boyfriends and is very angry when she learns that Tambu is being punished for refusing to attend the wedding. She marches into the house, demands... (full context)
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...family, and she's tired of women like Lucia telling her what to do. Listening outside, Tambu and Nyasha are worried, especially when Maiguru says that she's not happy. (full context)
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That night, Tambu and Nyasha wonder whether Maiguru will leave or not. Nyasha seems to be in awe... (full context)
Chapter Nine
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...in the term, the teachers send students outside to study for their upcoming examinations. While Tambu and her classmates are outside, the Catholic nuns arrive. Tambu and her friends know that... (full context)
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...the students one by one and ask them questions about their parents and friends. Later, Tambu learns that the nuns came to recruit students for their own mission school. A few... (full context)
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...school with beautiful uniforms. The school is offering two places for all the African girls Tambu's age in the country. Because Tambu has been unwittingly "preparing" for the test for two... (full context)
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Tambu is thrilled, but Nyasha is disappointed. She insists that being educated at the Catholic school... (full context)
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Babamukuru takes Tambu to the homestead for Christmas vacation the next day. He doesn't stay to discuss the... (full context)
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On New Year's Eve, Babamukuru and Jeremiah discuss Tambu's future. Babamukuru weighs the pros and cons but finally says that Tambu should go. Tambu... (full context)
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Tambu loses herself in daydreams about her pretty new uniform and runs to tell Mainini. She... (full context)
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...bottle feeding Dambudzo and not sanitizing the bottles properly. He suggests getting a medium, but Tambu refuses as she's afraid that Mainini will actually curse Babamukuru. Eventually, Jeremiah sends for Lucia.... (full context)
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In the third week of January, Babamukuru refuses to fetch Tambu, so she takes the bus to the mission. Tambu has only one night at the... (full context)
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Several of the other girls ask Tambu to write and ask her to not forget them. Tambu wonders why everyone thinks she's... (full context)
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...Nyasha shovels her food into her mouth and Babamukuru excuses her. A few minutes later, Tambu excuses herself and waits in the bedroom, listening to Nyasha gagging in the bathroom. When... (full context)
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Tambu puts her arm around Nyasha as Nyasha talks on. She laments that Tambu is leaving,... (full context)
Chapter Ten
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Tambu feels the same kind of excitement on the day that Babamukuru drives her to Sacred... (full context)
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...to the roundabout by the dormitories. Nyasha notices that the finery is a lot for Tambu, so she delicately asks if this is the right place. Babamukuru snaps at Nyasha. (full context)
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Tambu, Babamukuru, Maiguru, and Nyasha join the throng of students and parents. Tambu is disappointed to... (full context)
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Babamukuru and Maiguru make Tambu's bed while Tambu unpacks. Then, they say goodbye. Babamukuru is brisk, Maiguru is cheerful, and... (full context)
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As the term progresses, Tambu barely notices that Nyasha doesn't visit. She throws herself into her studies. The white students... (full context)
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...news and school gossip. She doesn't write about herself much until several weeks later, when Tambu receives a serious letter. Nyasha writes that she misses Tambu and has no friends at... (full context)
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Tambu feels bad and vows to write, but she never does. Nyasha writes another bubbly and... (full context)
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In August, Nyasha is skeletal and frail. She barely acknowledges Tambu and remains absorbed in her books. At dinner, she drinks two glasses of water and... (full context)
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Babamukuru wants to take Tambu to the homestead the next day, but Tambu feels she can't leave Nyasha and needs... (full context)
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...weaker every day. She studies fourteen hours per day, weaves when she walks, and wakes Tambu up at night with questions about homework. One evening, Nyasha passes out onto her dinner... (full context)
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Late that night, Nyasha wakes Tambu up, asks to get into bed with her, and when Tambu moves over, Nyasha declines—she... (full context)
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...a clinic to rest for a few weeks. Maiguru stays, but Babamukuru drives back with Tambu to drop her off at the homestead. The drive is silent. (full context)
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Tambu the narrator says that she was able to push the thoughts away then, but before... (full context)