South African Journal of African Languages

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Does the ending pay? – Making sense of endings of selected Shona literary discourses

Godwin Makaudze


Critics of African literature observe writers as, among others, pathfinders who should proffer solutions to the problems and challenges about life which they raise in their works of art. Using the Afrocentricity literary theory, this paper critiques selected Shona novelists and short story writers’ endings to stories, especially in relation to the nature of the problems they raised (and their underlying causes). It probes if the endings are of any benefit to the readers who are the consumers of the art. The paper observes, and laments that, while most Shona writers are eloquent in articulating the problems society and selected characters face, they are found wanting when it comes to the suggested solutions, as most of the endings are either pessimistic or have the popular but mythical imprisonment of individual characters, or call for the withdrawal of characters from cities or urge them to pursue self-help projects without any requisite or necessary capital availed, or advocate for single motherhood, among others. As such, the endings of such works of art are not rewarding to the readers. This paper recommends that, as people who carry society’s hopes on their shoulders, Shona writers should strive to offer solutions that are more realistic, humane and in compliance with an African philosophy of life.
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