In Maru, how does Margaret and Dikeledi's relationship demonstrate female solidarity?

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In Maru, the theme of solidarity among women is demonstrated by Margaret and Dikeledi's relationship as the two women support and respect one another in a disinterested manner, which contrasts with the tumultuous and destructive romantic relationships in the book. Dikeledi uses her higher status to protect and help Margaret, treating her as a sister.

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In Maru, Margaret is presented as an awkward and lonely young woman who has been an outcast all her life and continues to endure this status in Dilepe, where she is a schoolteacher. Her life is initially solitary and lonely, and her only enjoyment comes from her painting, for which she finds numerous subjects around the village.

Dikeledi is a teacher at the same school but has quite a different status as a princess of the tribe, a leader of fashion, and the sister of Maru, the most powerful man in Dilepe. Whereas Margaret's straightforward declaration of her heritage alienates everyone else, it wins the admiration of Dikeledi, who befriends Margaret and treats her as a sister.

The solidarity between Margaret and Dikeledi stands in stark contrast to the fraught nature of the romantic relations between men and women in Maru. Dikeledi understands who Margaret really is and what is important to her. She encourages her with her painting, bringing her art supplies and encouraging her to experiment. She also raises Margaret's status within the village simply by accepting her and being her friend, using her social position to increase Margaret's popularity. The companionship and mutual respect of the two young women is the purest and most disinterested relationship in the novel.

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