Deconstructing Masculinity Myths in Zimbabwean African Nationalism: A. C. Hodza’s Shona Folk Tales in Ngano Dzechinyakare (1980)
The IUP Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Vol. II, No. 1, pp. 51-63, January 2010
Posted: 27 Jan 2010
Date Written: January 27, 2010
This paper analyses A C Hodza’s Ngano Dzechinyakare (Old Folk Tales) published in 1980. The paper argues that Hodza ‘borrowed’ the folk tales from his Shona culture. However, it will also be suggested that despite not being the ‘originator’ of the stories, the power of Hodza’s collection resides in the author’s understanding that to retell a told story is to contaminate it; “each re-telling produces different versions of the same stories that are ‘bound’ by different contexts and meanings” (Vambe, 2006, 260). Therefore, to the extent that Hodza was able to recreate the folk tales, he too, can claim to be the ‘originator’ of the narratives. It will, therefore, be demonstrated that Hodza uses language embodied in folk tale as a site of contestation both of what is standardized Shona, as well as the idea of a homogenous Zimbabwean nation. In doing so, Hodza’s folk tales question Zimbabwe’s cultural nationalism, particularly its tendency to project African nationalisms through the Zezuru dialect as the lingua franca of the Zimbabwean people.
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