It is iimportant for the candidate here to know and clearly state what feminism is. In NERVOUS CONDITIONS, feminists are women who believe that the time has come for them to break off the yoke of Male chauvinism and come out of tight corner of deprivation they have for a long time been subjected and fight for equality with the men. As such, in many ways they fight to usher in a change. They can also be referred to as non-conformists. Such women in the text include Tambu the protagonist, Lucia and to an extent, Nyasha.
In the text Tambu demonstrates the qualities of a feminist. She is deprived of the right to education simply because she is a girl child. It becomes even more painful that her elder brother Nhamo is given this privilege and who uses it to mock her all the times. She has to cultivate mealise to sponsor herself in school and fights back with her sadistic brother Nhamo who steals her mealise ro share among his friends. We seeTambu's efforts to get out of illiteracy and fight her way through education into mental freedom. She disagrees with her mother's archaic opinion that the place of the woman is in the kitchen and concludes that her uncle's wife Maiguru is a better house wife because of her education. Her resolve to go to school makes her a non-conformist and a feminist who crusaded against Male chauvinism.
Lucia is yet another character who champions the crusade for women's emancipation in the text. She is bold, courageous and very daring when she storms the meeting and takes Jeremiah and Takesure to task. She outrightly makes it clear to them that a matter concerning her cannot be discussed while she is pushed out. She threatens the men that with her sister they will leave the Homestead and gives deaf ears to Babamukuru's injunction not to leave the Homestead. She looks for a job, works and takes care of her child as an independent woman. She no longer depends on a man to raise up her child. Here we see Lucia as a non-conformist who preaches feminism by breaking loose from the bonds of Male domination.
The daughter of Babamukuru, Nyasga, is also a character in the text whom circumstances push to become a non-conformist and a feminist. Her exposure to western education makes her a stranger both to her people and the customs of the land. Her physical appearance makes her a non-conformist( dressing half naked against the desire of both her parents and the village). Her smoking habit and love for erotic novels make her a non-conformist. Nyasha is at odds with her mother for almost defying Babamukuru her father. She undermines the respect for Babamukuru and serves herself first before her father, and would not want any corrections from her mother, as she abandons her food and walks away. She exchanges blows with her father when he calls her a prostitute. It is important to note here that she acts negatively in a bid to emancipate herself from what she terms captivity. Her actions here are condemned because the honor and respect for parents by children is mandatory. The characters we have seen so far play many roles to convince readers that NERVOUS CONDITIONS is a feminist novel.