The The subversion of conventional masculinity and femininity in Euphrase Kezilahabi’s Dunia Uwanja wa Fujo
Dunia Uwanja wa Fujo is Euphrase Kezilahabi’s novel that dramatises masculinity and femininity in relation to modern perspectives that contrast it with the traditional patriarchal definition of a man and a woman. The novel challenges and deconstructs the essentialists’ perceptions and perspectives of a man’s definition. This paper examines Kezilahabi’s attempt to challenge and deconstruct the traditional patriarchal definition of men and woman in the novel. The paper argues that masculinity and femininity are unisex and are fluid, hence, subject to continual alterations. The paper uses Robert Connell’s perspective of gender as a performed social construct and Judith Butler’s idea of the performative aspect of gender as a theoretical framework to read and interpret characters’ expression and performances in the novels. The analysis reveals that through his male and female characters, Kezilahabi explicitly demonstrates that that the socially-constructed masculinity and femininity constitute positions that can be occupied by both males and females and, hence, can be subverted. Through this novel, Kezilahabi dramatises multiple levels of masculinities and femininities influenced by modernity, Western ideology, education and money. Dunia Uwanja wa Fujo reveals Kezilahabi’s perception of gender as a contested taxonomy because of its mutable and ambivalent manifestations.