Women Re-defining Themselves in the Context of HIV and AIDS: Insights from Tendayi Westerhof’s Unlucky in Love

  • Anna Chitando


In a literary landscape that has been dominated by male voices, Westerhofs auto/biographical text subverts several assumptions, principally the unstated underprivileging of female agency. She further performs a sacrilegious desecration through a triumphalist narrative of a taboo subject: HIV and AIDS and openly celebrating her personhood, even though mired in divorce and disease. This chapter focuses on Westerhof’s Unlucky in Love (2005), a novel about a woman who marries and divorces. Rumbidzai (Rumbi for short) is a mother of four. She is HIV positive and strives to make her life meaningful in an environment that is characterised by oppressive masculinities. This chapter attempts to resolve what has been left hanging by Tagwira with regards women’s vulnerability to HIV and AIDS, their survival strategies, as well as their attempt to reconstruct positive identities. Theoretically, this chapter is informed by the critical works of African womanists and feminists such as Grace, Saadawi, Gaidzanwa and Moyana. Saadawi (2007) insists that women must refuse to succumb to patriarchal dictates. In a recent chapter on Saadawi, Zucker (2010) has brought out Saadawi’s determination to empower women. Firdaus, a key personality in Saadawi’s Woman at Point Zero, murders a man and recovers control of her destiny.


Black Woman Single Mother Patriarchal Society African Literary Public Personality 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Anna Chitando 2014

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  • Anna Chitando

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