Narrating the Ugandan nation in Mary Okurut’s The Invisible Weevil




nation, narration, Ugandan literature, historiography


This article seeks to study how Mary Okurut narrates the Ugandan nation through her novel The Invisible Weevil while at the same time exploring how the author centers upon women in her imagination of the new nation. The arguments in this article are derived from concepts proposed by Benedict Anderson and Homi Bhabha, among other scholars, on nationalism. These are arguments that explore the question of identity formation in nations and what holds these nations together in terms of their cultural standpoints and even at times a desire for a better nation for future generations. Through a close textual analysis that focuses on elements of narratology, the study explores the issue of nationalism in the novel. Of interest to this study is how Okurut as a contemporary writer engages history in the novel to narrate the nation and the challenges it faces as it evolves through different and tumultuous leaderships. The narration is undertaken through the viewpoint of various characters who describe different periods, thus creating a channel through which knowledge from each epoch is transmitted by the actions of women who attempt to define a new nation of Uganda that would be devoid of pestilence from ‘the invisible weevil’.


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Author Biographies

Theresa Frances Namirembe, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya

Theresa Frances Namirembe is affiliated with the Department of Literature in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya.

Alex Wanjala, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya

Alex Wanjala is a senior lecturer of French in the Department of Literature, Faculty of Arts at the University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya. He is the Chair of the East African Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (EAACLALS).

Joseph Muleka, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya

Joseph Muleka is a senior lecturer in the Department of Literature, Faculty of Arts at the University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya.


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How to Cite

Namirembe, T. F., Wanjala, A., & Muleka, J. (2020). Narrating the Ugandan nation in Mary Okurut’s The Invisible Weevil . Tydskrif Vir Letterkunde, 57(2), 57–66.



Research articles