Course Hero Logo

Nervous Conditions | Study Guide

Tsitsi Dangarembga

Get the eBook on Amazon to study offline.

Buy on Amazon Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "Nervous Conditions Study Guide." Course Hero. 29 June 2017. Web. 2 Dec. 2022. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2017, June 29). Nervous Conditions Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved December 2, 2022, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2017)



Course Hero. "Nervous Conditions Study Guide." June 29, 2017. Accessed December 2, 2022.


Course Hero, "Nervous Conditions Study Guide," June 29, 2017, accessed December 2, 2022,


Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe explains the main characters in Tsitsi Dangarembga's novel Nervous Conditions.

Nervous Conditions | Characters

Character Description
Tambu Tambu (Tambudzai) is the novel's narrator and protagonist. The reader follows Tambu's journey from impoverished life on the homestead to exclusive education at a private boarding school. Read More
Nyasha Nyasha is Tambu's cousin, born in Rhodesia but raised in England. Read More
Babamukuru Babamukuru is an educated missionary man who becomes the breadwinner for his entire extended family. Read More
Maiguru Maiguru is a well-educated woman who chooses a domestic life to appease social expectations. Read More
Mother Mother is an impoverished peasant who suffers from crippling depression as a result of her pitiful existence. Read More
Andrew Andrew Baker is the young man whom Nyasha dances with on the evening of her violent fight with Babamukuru.
Anna Anna is Babamukuru's maid, whose attitude toward Tambu changes once she comes to live at the mission.
Mr. Baker Mr. Baker, a white missionary, helps Chido get a scholarship to a fancy boarding school so he won't have to feel guilty about sending his own sons there.
Brian Brian is one of the Bakers' two sons.
Chido Chido is Babamukuru and Maiguru's son who completely abandons his culture in favor of the upper-class white culture he was exposed to at boarding school.
Dambudzo Dambudzo is Tambu's infant brother, born just before she leaves for the convent school.
Doris Doris is the white woman who gives Tambu 10 pounds for her education after seeing her sell vegetables on the street.
Father Jeremiah, Tambu's father, fails to provide for his family, choosing instead to take advantage of Babamukuru's generosity and drink beer.
George George is Doris's wealthy, white husband.
Gladys Gladys is Tambu's heavyset aunt who treats Babamukuru like a prince.
Jocelyn Jocelyn is one of Tambu's friends at the mission school who feels jealous that she was accepted into the convent school.
Lucia Believed to be a witch, Lucia comes to the homestead when her sister, Tambu's mother, falls ill. She has affairs with Jeremiah and Takesure, which results in a pregnancy.
Maidei Maidei is one of Tambu's friends at the mission school who feels jealous that she was accepted into the convent school.
Mr. Matimba Mr. Matimba is the schoolteacher who brings Tambu to town to sell her mealies, ensuring a white tourist will take pity on her.
Netsai Netsai is Tambu's younger sister who lives on the homestead.
Nhamo Nhamo is Tambu's snooty older brother, who believes himself superior to his family after attending mission school. His unexpected death allows Tambu to take over his education.
Nyaradzo Nyaradzo is the Bakers' youngest child, who attends mission school, although her brothers go to boarding school. She becomes Chido's girlfriend at the end of the novel.
Nyari Nyari is Tambu's Sunday school friend on the homestead. She reveals that Nhamo stole her mealies.
Patience Patience is Tambu's aunt, and Thomas's wife.
Rambanai Rambanai is Tambu's youngest sister, an infant at the beginning of the novel.
Mr. Sanyati Mr. Sanyati is Tambu and Nyasha's teacher at the mission school.
Sister Emmanuel Sister Emmanuel is the principal of Sacred Heart, the convent school Tambu attends.
Sylvester Sylvester is Babamukuru's gardener.
Takesure Takesure is Babamukuru's cousin, sent to the homestead to help Jeremiah after Nhamo's death. Takesure has an affair with Lucia and blames the entire scandal on her witchcraft.
Thomas Thomas is the youngest brother of Father and Babamukuru.
Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about Nervous Conditions? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!