Comparing the exile and return memories of Namibian women in the Namibian autobiographies

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Namibia Educational Reform Forum Journal


This article compares the expressions used to recount the memories of women who lived in exile with those born and raised in exile from a predominantly cognitive stylistics image schema theory. The linguistic expressions compared were obtained from the four Namibian autobiographies namely Tshiwa Troudie Amulungu’s in Taming my elephant, Fousy Shinana-Kambombo’s Southwest Africa to Namibia, in My personal struggle, Valentina Nghiwete’s Valentina: The exile child and Lucia Engombe’s Child No. 95: My German African Odyssey. The autobiographies were examined by comparing how basic image schema such as SOURCE-PATH-GOAL, BALANCE, CONTAINER, and LINK can be used as a cognitive tool in dissecting the exile experience, understanding abstract linguistic expressions and meaning as well as explaining the impact of exile experiences on second generation refugees in a post-independent Namibia. The article concludes that the majority of linguistic phrases used in autobiographical narrations were found to be based on the four-image schema either at the concrete or at the abstract levels. Further, the article concludes that all the autobiographies examined have used figurative languages based on the various image schemas theory.



balance schema, cognitive stylistics, container schema, image schema, link schema, source-path-goal schema


Emvula, K., and Woldemariam, H. Z. (2023) Comparing the exile and return memories of Namibian women in the Namibian autobiographies. In Namibia Educational Reform Forum Journal vol.31(1), 58-69.