Ubuntu/Unhu philosophy in Brian Chikwava’s Harare North as a Zimbabwean diaspora text

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Ivy Musekiwa


The paper examines how the human dignity, ubuntu/unhu, and identity of Zimbabweans in the diaspora are depicted in fiction, with particular focus on Brian Chikwava’s novel Harare North (Chikwava, 2009). A significant number of Zimbabweans were dispersed into the diaspora in the post-2000 era due to political and socio-economic instability in the country. These people went on a quest for better quality of life and economic opportunities outside their native country but encountered frustrations and insecurities that affected their human dignity in the host countries. Since the dispersion, there has been much research and critical work on Zimbabwe covering the period from 2000 to date. This paper adds to the scholarship by examining fictional representations of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora in the selected novel. The paper further investigates various coping mechanisms of migrants in the diaspora and argues that if the survival chances of a people are threatened, their human dignity is also threatened.

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