This article focuses on four ways in which Paulina Chiziane's novel Niketche: A Tale of Polygamy addresses women's oppression, gender relations, nationalism, and identity issues in contemporary Mozambique. The paper offers a study of the heroine's coming to consciousness via reflection, co-identification, and meditative freeing exercises that allow her to enter the holistic nonoppressive ontological realm and to envisage the freedom that resides in what I term the "poetic sphere" of metaphor, dance, song, and cry, and thus (spiritually) escape the various social and patriarchal control mechanisms; a survey and critical discussion of the many traditions that are behind Mozambican women's (and also men's) oppression; an analysis of how the postcolonial Mozambican subject suffers from a pronounced ontological confusion or split as a result of the many traditions that have been imprinted upon his/her self; and a discussion of what Chiziane, through her first-person narrator, proposes as some solutions for this ontological destabilization.


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pp. 133-159
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