Genesis of racism in Zimbabwe
Lovemore Mataire DORIS LESSING, now living in England could not have imagined that a book that she penned at a young age of 25 years could go on to be the precursor for her being awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 2007.But such are the writings that glean on the reality of life for they tend to have a universal appeal. It is the realism reflected in “The Grass is Singing” that has made the book such a classic and a must read for every Zimbabwean student pursing literature as an academic study. It is also a must for every Zimbabwean seeking to have a better understanding of the thinking processes including the prejudices that the pre-independence whites had about the country, their worthiness and their attitudes towards the indigenous people.
In other words, Lessing’s liberalism makes it easier for us to relate to her version and sympathise with her after her expulsion from Rhodesia following the publication of the book then considered subversive in colonial times. One of the key issues illuminated in the book that could have infuriated the colonial authorities is the constant ridiculing of certain stereotypical beliefs that the whites held on to in order to perpetuate the oppressive system that kept the black man as an inferior being.
In “The Grass is Singing”, Lessing explores the roots of the white man’s alienated consciousness in Rhodesia. She explores and exposes Rhodesia’s white settler myths towards Africans and the ingrained notions they had about the African environment in general.
At earlier age, white children were fed with crude myths that were meant to enhance their superiority complex over black people. In a vain attempt to do away with their inherent shame and guilt, they propagated the myth that the African landscape was very rich but habited by savage Africans and animals.
They also believed that Africa was the heart of darkness; that given the slightest opportunity, the African man would want to rape a white woman as an act of arriving.... Read the full, comprehensive news article and discuss at The Herald