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Title:More exploration with less didacticism: a challenge for the contemporary Shona novelist
Author:Chiwome, Emmanuel
Periodical:Zimbabwe Journal of Educational Research (ISSN 1013-3445)
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Zimbabwe
Southern Africa
Subjects:literary education
Shona language
Oral tradition
indigenous languages
Abstract:The creativity of the precolonial African oral artist was aligned to the sensitivity of the community. In contemporary society egalitarianism has been sidelined by class-based social stratification and modernization marginalizes the potential attributes of oral art in novelistic practice. The Shona novel is composed as part of the Zimbabwe high school curriculum that is intended to teach pupils values which facilitate their integration into the system. It is in the idiom of the State and the Church rather than that of the readers. Like the government controlled media, the novels convey partisan messages to socialize children into accepting elitist values such as nationalism. In the now entrenched literary tradition, selected moral precepts are highlighted through simplistic plots which represent untested assumptions about modernization. Protagonists uphold the status quo while nonconformists are portrayed as villains whose doom elucidates the moral. In preparation for high school examinations, the novel is broken down into its formal characteristics and analysis is restricted to deducing morality from form without evaluating the moral precepts in question. The tragic contradiction in creative writing arises from the writers' being caught between the patronage of the establishment and the interests of the people at the grassroots. Bibliogr., sum.