This Mournable Body Summary & Study Guide

Tsitsi Dangarembga
This Study Guide consists of approximately 47 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of This Mournable Body.
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This Mournable Body Summary & Study Guide Description

This Mournable Body Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga .

This study guide is based on the following version of this book: Dangarembga, Tsitsi. This Mournable Body. Minneapolis: Graywolf Press, 2018.

This Mournable Body, a novel told in the second-person, tells the story of Tambudzai Sigauke, or Tambu, as she is known. The novel, which is broken into three parts, is set in post-independence Zimbabwe. When the first part, “Ebbing,” opens, Tambu is approaching middle age, childless and jobless. She is living in a women’s hostel, where she dislikes her hostelmates. Eventually Tambu moves out of the hostel and rents a small room in the large estate of MaManyanga, an elderly widow of a man who made money after the country gained independence. Tambu lives there with three other boarders: Mako, Bertha, and Brother Shrine.

MaManyanga’s niece, a woman named Christine, comes to stay with them. Christine knows Tambu’s family from her time as a combatant, during the war. Christine brings Tambu news of her family. Tambu procures a job teaching biology at a high school. Tambu eventually loses her job when she badly beats a meek, mild-mannered student named Elizabeth, with a school instrument. Tambu suffers a nervous breakdown that lands her in a hospital.

Part II opens with Tambu still in the hospital. She interacts with some of the patients there, many of whom are white. Tambu’s family comes to visit her and she reconnects with her cousin Nyasha, who has recently returned to Zimbabwe from Europe. After Tambu is released from the hospital, Tambu goes to stay with Nyasha, her German husband Leon, and their two children. On a family outing one day, Tambu runs into an ex-colleague of hers, Tracey Stevenson. Tracey hires Tambu to help her with her new business venture: Green Jacaranda Getaway Safaris.

Part III begins with Tambu entering her new job. Here, Tambu competes for attention with Pedzi, a local woman from Harare. Pedzi comes up with the idea of a “Ghetto Getaway,” which becomes popular. When a group of ex-combatants force the company out of its access to the farmhouse, Tracey and her team are forced to rethink their direction. Tambu suggests a village-themed tour, and Village Eco Transit is born.

As plans for the launch of Village Eco Transit approach, the team grows increasingly tense. They have decided to use Tambu’s own village. Tambu returns home to seek approval from the local Women’s Club. On the day of the first tour, there is a celebration performance planned. When one of the European men takes a picture of her, Tambu’s mother, the head hostess amongst the women, becomes frenzied and agitated. She strips off her top, and the tour is a disaster. Tambu resigns. The novel ends with Tambu taking a job with Christine and her aunt’s newest business venture: a security company called AK Security. Tambu is finally beginning to know with her heart, and not only with her head.

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This section contains 491 words
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