Nervous Conditions

describe how education is viewed by the shona people of Tambu's homestead


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Tambu describes her uncle's gesture to pay for Nhamo's education as "oceanic," since it would "lift our branch of the family out of the squalor in which we were living."

The theme of education and its importance to the people of Tambu's village who live in poverty is evident from the beginning. Jeremiah, Tambu's father, makes a ridiculous show about how indebted they are to Babamukuru upon his return. Babamukuru suggests education as a solution to the family's financial woes, and insists that Nhamo go to live with him at the mission school.

The other women see Maiguru as different not just because she is wealthy, but because she is educated. During her tirade, Ma'Shingayi accuses, "She did tell us, didn't she, what she thinks, and did anyone say anything! No. Why not? Because Maiguru is educated. That's why you all kept quiet." There is a divide between the women, although they are all victims of male superiority, because Maiguru is educated and the others are "just poor and ignorant," as Ma'Shingayi puts it.