Elleke Boehmer
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Tropes of yearning and dissent
The inflection of desire in Yvonne Vera and Tsitsi Dangarembga

This chapter extends the discussion of the interrelationship of gender and nation into an area rarely mentioned if not taboo in discourses both colonial and post-colonial, namely, the same-sex desire of women. By evoking women's unruly, erotic yearnings, the two prominent Zimbabwean writers Tsitsi Dangarembga and Yvonne Vera explore the libidinal energies that exceed, or leak out between the fractures of, the conservative post-colonial state. Queer sexuality, in point of fact, probably still constitutes what could best be termed a virtual non-presence, or at least a covert silencing, an ‘unsaying’, in post-colonial discourses generally and in African writing in particular. It is a surprising omission or occlusion considering that, since the 1960s, post-colonial theory and criticism have grown up in tandem with the emergence of a politics of identity and cultural difference, and are deeply informed by discourses of rights and of resistance to a variety of forms of oppression.

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Stories of women

Gender and narrative in the postcolonial nation


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