Zimbabwe Journal of Educational Research

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Re-Writing the Feminine Script: An Exploration of Women with Wings in ChiShona Literature Prescribed for Ordinary Level pupils

B. Taringa, V. Nyawaranda, L. Tatira


The paper explores the portrayal of female characters in ChiShona literature prescribed for Ordinary Level in order to determine their potential educational implications to pupils. The paper qualitatively explores two purposively sampled ChiShona literature texts, namely Chikanza’s Vakasiiwa Pachena and Nyambiri’s Ndiri Parumananzombe. It employs document analysis for data collection and uses critical discourse analysis and qualitative inductive content analysis for data analysis. An Afrocentric paradigm, African womanism, serves as the theoretical framework. The paper’s finding is that, through the portrayal of female characters, the two ChiShona literature texts portray femininity as self-invention rather than femininity as entrapment. The texts traverse essentialist paradigms of gender identity, dislodge masculinity from males and highlight female masculinities. The two ChiShona literature texts therefore portray an emerging re-writing of the feminine script in contemporary Shona society. The female characters, through agency and self-determination, take matters into their own hands. The texts, to a large extent, have therefore a potential of socialising female pupils to believe in agency regarding femininity.

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