Reading Zimbabwe's structural and political violence through the trope of the unnameable and unnamed in Brian Chikwava’s Harare North

Siziba, Gugulethu (2017-02-24)

CITATION: Siziba, G. 2017. Reading Zimbabwe's structural and political violence through the trope of the unnameable and unnamed in Brian Chikwava’s Harare North. Literator, 38(1), a1302, doi:10.4102/lit.v38i1.1302.

The original publication is available at https://literator.org.za

Article

This article reads Zimbabwe’s structural and physical violence which extends to the country’s diaspora through Brian Chikwava’s novel Harare North (2009). The central argument the article makes is that the unnamed narrator is symbolic of the complex texture of Zimbabwe’s crisis whose most evident characteristics are predatory politics and state-sanctioned violence. The unnamed narrator stands as a core part of the shadowy figures of violence that are unleashed on those who are perceived as anti-state. On the contrary, he also represents the subjectification and precariousness that epitomises being Zimbabwean at this moment in the country’s history. The namelessness also evidences the slipperiness of the crisis and how it resists being made sense of and given form in simplistic ways. Notwithstanding the deformity assailing Zimbabweans as a mark of their country’s failure, the unnamed character also demonstrates the desire to survive under harsh, confused and confusing circumstances.

Zimbabwe se strukturele en politieke geweld gelees deur die troop van die onbenoembare en naamlose in Brian Chikwava se roman Harare North. Die artikel lees Brian Chikwava se benutting van ’n naamlose protagonist-verteller in sy roman Harare North as ’n allegorie vir die duister figure van buite-regtelike geweld, ontkenning van en stilswye oor geweld, sowel as verskeie verdoeselings wat post-koloniale Zimbabwe onder ZANU-PF heerskappy kenmerk. Die naamlose en onnoembare kom op verskillende vlakke voor en tipeer beide die staat en sy burgers wat beide tuis en oorsee in ongemaklike verhoudings verstrengel is. Die artikel maak gebruik van sosiologiese en literêre insigte oor name en benaming om sin te maak van die belang van die verteller en sy posisie in die ervaring van Zimbabwiërs.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/104116
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