Freeing Vuyazi: Orality and Women’s Subjectivity in Paulina Chiziane’s Fiction

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Meyre Ivone Santana da Silva


Oral stories often maintain societal structures through the teaching of cultural norms. By bringing oral stories into her written text, Chiziane positions the elders as the resources of the village, the pillars, and the center of a fragmented world where things have started to change. As sites of memory, elder women establish a balance when the community needs to face modernity. However, as Chiziane deconstructs oral tales, she also subverts the colonial language. Here, I examine how the author utilizes a feminist and Africanist aesthetics, through oral tales, myths and proverbs often told by elder women, to reinvent the Portuguese language and literature while subverting myths and legends which reinforce gender hierarchies.

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