Fictions of Autobiographical Representations: Joshua Nkomo’s The Story of My Life

  • Maurice Taonezvi Vambe


Autobiographies are personal histories and stories of one’s life, and they tend to lay claim to objective truth. However, the “migration” of a personal story from the individual to the community, from the local context of its production to the global arena of reception is one that is fraught with contradictions. First, within the genre of autobiography, what should be questioned is the claim to the subjectivity of a single voice that constructs and accesses a single objective reality. Second, autobiographies or accounts of the self are also, in the words of Coetzee, “autre-biography [or] an account of another self” (Coetzee in Coulliee et al. 2006:1). Third, an account of “another self” can manifest itself in autobiography, through what the story teller has not included, or as a result of perceptions that readers bring when inter-acting with the autobiography as political and literary artefact. These different ways of writing the self in autobiography often collide with each other, resulting in unstable identities being codified in autobiography “Accordingly, auto/biographical accounts can function as sites of governmentality that produce sanitised subjectivities as well as practices that hold the promise of emancipation and autonomy” (Coulliee, Meyer, Ngwenya and Olver 2006:3). Autobiography can also “become the door through which the marginalized enter into the house of a non-familiar tradition of literature or culture, often irreparably modifying the genre in combination with other cultural forms” (Gready 1994:165).


Happy Ending African Leader Liberation Struggle Catholic Commission Unity Accord 
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© Maurice Taonezvi Vambe 2014

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  • Maurice Taonezvi Vambe

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