The Importance Of Culture In Zanemvua's The Heart Of Redness

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In terms of the past part of the novel, I believe Mda presents a nonbiased account of both parties’ views, showing that he does not favor one side over the other. However, it is important to note the fact that Mda was exiled, spent years in Lesotho and America, and The Heart of Redness is the first novel he wrote after returning to South Africa (“Zanemvua…”). This fact could be a sign that Mda may have more of a personal connection to the Believers in terms of their culture and tradition, because Camagu also has recently returned to Africa from America and is relearning about the importance of his culture. Camagu is an educated man, but still “regrets he never learned the freedom dance,” because Africans do not respect him for not taking part …show more content…
For example, there was an election system set up and the Xhosa tribe was told it was so representatives could go to the government on their behalf. However, once established, the government was rigged with “party bosses” who paid for certain people to win the election that had no connection to the Xhosa village and did not advocate for their needs (Mda 164-165). Another time whites have exploited the tribe under the guise of civilization is from Dalton himself. At the end of the story, he has set up a traditional village to bring in tourist and money for the people. The Believers point out though, that this is a false representation of their tribe. Women would not wear their cultural costumes while doing chores, and they do not sing and dance all the time, but it remains that Dalton is the one taking in most of the money (Mda 247). Not to mention the several instances of “token blacks,” that Camagu despises. In the city where the whites are supposedly civilizing blacks to get jobs, is just a placeholder position in the company to make it look like they are hiring Africans. Camagu says, “The corporate world did not want qualified blacks. They preferred inexperienced ones who were too happy to be placed in some affirmative-action office where they were …show more content…
However, they are willing to take a chance on their ways, to improve their current quality of life. Mda proposes an acceptable compromise to the feud’s division vicariously through his semi-autobiographical character Camagu. He agrees the people the need to improve their life like the UnBelievers want, but he also maintains the necessity to keep it within their tribe and preserve their culture, which the Believers want. He explains his compromise best when telling Dalton why they cannot put their trust completely in the British to solve their problems. “That is the problem with you, John… You want to impose those ‘correct’ ideas… from above. I am suggesting that you try involving the people in the decision-making rather than making decisions for them.” (Mda 180). Camagu’s insightful balance represents Mda’s compromising position as well. Mda even goes further, instead ending with a suggestion of working together, he gives proof as to the success that can be achieved when civilizing on the Africans on

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