Nervous Conditions, is a semi-autobiographical coming of age story about a young woman in modern Africa.
The story takes place in Rhodesia in the late 1960s and early 1970s and centers around Tambu and Nyasha, female cousins who, until their early teens, lead very different lives.
Tambu was raised on her family’s farm in Umtali where she was responsible for household chores, gardening, and caring for her younger siblings. Tambu’s dreams of getting an education are only fulfilled when her brother dies and she becomes next in line for school since she has no other brothers.
She is allowed to stay with her aunt and uncle while she attends school at the mission. While there, Tambu shares a room with her cousin, Nyasha and the girls teach each other many lessons.
Nyasha spent most of her formative years in England while her mother and father were getting their education. When she comes back to Africa she realizes the vast differences between European culture and African culture–especially where women are concerned.
She experiences inner turmoil as she tries to come to terms with being a woman in Africa. As we see Nyasha’s struggles through the eyes of Tambu, we begin to understand the continuing devastation countries are experiencing as a result of colonization by another culture.
Nervous Condition was written by Tsitsi Dangarembga in 1989,