During that time there have been many voices that have also emerged from the strength of the writing and have wanted to express and share what they were living, what they observed and what they were worried about or encouraged and always under the mandate of the same man, for 37 years, the time that has remained in power the only president who has known Zimbabwe.
We give an obligatory review of the titles that have been emerging within the literature that deserves greater echo and diffusion, originality and depth. Executed by a handful of writers and writers who, dressed with magical talent, have been introducing us in the life and history of Zimbabwe at different times. From the time when the country was under a regime of racial segregation similar to the South African, hand in hand with the British colonists until the attainment of independence and the subsequent era was Mugabe, who first knew him as a hero before flowing into the being that we know today.
We are in 1946, time of racial segregation, time of violence. The blacks can not circulate on the sidewalks, the police carry out raids and the signs “Negros no” hang rampant. The black remains hinder. As the only table to which they hold they have Kwuela, a type of music that is emerging as the authentic language that can instill airs of freedom.
In this scenario, full of hardness, the young Fefelafi has dreams and desires and above all wants to find herself. Yvonne Vera wanted to be remembered as ” a writer who was not afraid of words and who deeply loved her country “. His country showed in his writing through his children, who would leave anyone with their stories and their women astonished.
The novel has an overwhelming start “My brother’s death did not hurt me”. This phrase is pronounced by Tambu, the protagonist of this semi-biographical work, considered a classic and set in Rhodesia, this was called Zimbabwe, in the sixties and seventies, when it was a British colony.
Tambu’s brother had been chosen to access an education that was what she most longed to see as the only way out of poverty and non-future (which corresponded to a black woman, illiterate and poor ) that surrounded her. The accidental death of that one will give Tambu the opportunity he so longed for, in a world in which colonizing-colonized tension surfaces in many pages.
There are four portraits of women that this writer offers us in this essential novel. Four ways to try to leave or not the tight corset in which men, society, prejudices, sometimes themselves, try to imprison them. The own Dangarembga knew of them: it could not publish this novel in Zimbabwe until 1988 when it obtained thanks to “Women’s press”.
” Like listening to a scream, ” that’s how Doris Lessing described the reading of the best-known novel by the cursed writer par excellence of the Zimbabwean literary circuit. From the beginning, Marechera us Avoca to contemplate the hardness of lives that sail in a sea of poverty and chaos, while immersed in the magma of total denial by the color of the skin, the reflection of the asphyxiating environment that imposed racial segregation and that drowned and silenced his errant existence.
With a structure (if you can call it that) different, reflecting the inner thread of the narrator, a kind of intimate voice that is expressed in various formats, Marechera created a new way of writing, avant-garde and groundbreaking with what had been done until the moment.
“I took my things and left” is the beginning of the novel and, perhaps, the phrase that best defines the vital attitude of the protagonist always in search of what satisfies him the hunger to get out of the situation in which he is. Not in vain the writer himself was an activist who faced the oppressive power, in favor of independence, although that put his interior forever precarious.
It is a work that links with the new narratives that are taking flight from the continent and that speaks of “an Africa” that can also be (must) read from day to day. Texts that provide surprisingly attractive results, like this one.
We can have a lot of information about how life has been in Zimbabwe over the past decade (Huchu has exposed the difficulty of condensing time between 2000 and 2009, period of the crisis and hyperinflation, in a few months in which the novel takes place), but much less about what it has meant for the people who have lived it. Huchu brings us closer to these people.
Vimba sees her status as “Harare’s best hairdresser” in jeopardy when young Dumi appears. Through the relationship of these two characters, the writer will delve into the problems of class, prejudice, career and love difficulties, whether unrequited or between people of the same sex, in a governed country by a man who showed his intention to behead homosexuals, whom he considered “worse than pigs”.
The narrator of this work, with which Gappah has achieved international recognition, is an albino woman who is imprisoned in a maximum security prison in Harare for the murder of her adoptive father, a white man. Gappah is a writer who puts all the burden on the language and its use, achieving through this and its games, entering into different worlds.
On the one hand, the prison universe for which it was thoroughly documented. On the other hand, the childhood of the protagonist, great recreation that provides us and that immediately moves us to Zimbabwe. But, also, it invites us to investigate in the abyss of two beings marked by society for different reasons, being different from the rest.
Along with these five works, there are many others that have not yet been translated. We talked about the multi-award winning We Need New Names of No Violet Bulawayo, which shows Mugabe’s Zimbabwe of the last decade, with its brutal political repression, from the eyes of the children.
From Harare North, published in 2009 and written by Brian Chikwava, which narrates the life of a political exile forced to leave for London. From the anthology Women Writing Zimbabwe, Irene Staunton edition, which teaches us and gives us the opportunity to know 15 stories, from as many writers about their experiences both in their country of origin and abroad.
Or of the future, from the hand of young writers like Panache Chigumadziwho has triumphed with Sweet Medicine (one of the first titles of the BlackBirdBooks label) or Novuyo Rosa Tshuma who with Shadow had a great reception, by showing the contemporary life of the common people of his country. Those “insignificant people” who, through literature, can become “throbbing masses” through their “little stories” that excite us so much.