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Women Writing Zimbabwe

Irene Staunton

Publication Year: 2008

The fifteen stories in Women Writing Zimbabwe offer a kaleidoscope of fresh, moving, and comic perspectives on the way in which events of the last decade have impacted on individuals, women in particular. Several stories (Tagwira, Ndlovu and Charsley) look at the impact that AIDS has on women who become the care-givers, often without emotional or physical support. It is often assumed that women will provide support and naturally make the necessary sacrifices. Brickhill and Munsengezi focus on the hidden costs and unexpected rewards of this nurturing role. Many families have been separated over the last decade. Ndlovu, Mutangadura, Katedza, Mhute and Rheam all explore exile's long, often painful, reach and the consequences of deciding to remain at home. In lighter vein, but with equal sharpness of perception, Gappah, Manyika, Sandi, and Holmes poke gentle fun at the demands of new-found wealth, status and manners. Finally, Musariri reminds us that the hidden costs of undisclosed trauma can continue to affect our lives for years afterwards. All of the writers share a sensitivity of perception and acuity of vision. Reading their stories will enlarge and stimulate our own understanding.

Published by: African Books Collective

Titile Page

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Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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Authors' Biographies

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pp. vii-x

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Senzeni's Nativity

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pp. 1-9

Thorn bush covered in a thick layer of dust. Grass and scrub emaciated by hungry cattle and goats. Flat-topped acacias with stunted branches stretching out like desperate hands. Their trunks stripped bare by man and beast alike for fodder or to light fires. Dry branches, snapped off like matches, awaiting burning....

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Death Wish

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pp. 10-14

MASIBANDA’S JAW TIGHTENED as she glared at her granddaughter, ‘Siphiwe you haven’t yet done the floors.’ ‘I’ll do them, Gogo,’ the girl said not raising her eyes as she paged through a magazine. MaSibanda exhaled loudly through her nose, ‘When?’...

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In the Heart of the Golden Triangle

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pp. 15-19

YOU HEAR YOUR MOTHER SAY TO Mai Mufundisi that her daughter has a big, big house in the golden triangle. ‘Right in the heart of the golden triangle,’ you hear her say. In the golden triangle, you live a stone’s throw from the Governor of the Reserve Bank. In the street behind the French...

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pp. 20-37

‘FINALLY!’ OBI FLUNG HIS ARMS WIDE over the dining table – photographs strewn everywhere – and then beat a tattoo with his fists on the tabletop for emphasis. That got our attention, mine and my mother’s....

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Snowflakes in Winter

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pp. 38-44

‘NO, BABA! YOU’RE GOING IN the wrong direction. Southbound, take the southbound train to Stratfo … Hello! Babamukuru murikundinzwa here? Hello! Bloody …’

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Mr Wonder

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pp. 45-51

THINK IKOYI, LAGOS, OR Upper Claremont, Cape Town, and if this proves difficult try London’s Hampstead or New York’s TriBeCa. Perhaps no longer the trendiest of locales, but places with a history of being trendy – places where people like to be seen. This is Avondale, Harare,...

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Dream Over. Dream Again.

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pp. 52-56

MUNI BRIEFLY LOOKED BACK at her husband’s prostrate figure, then calmly walked out of the flat with Natsai on her back and a small suitcase in her left hand. The child’s soft snores rose and fell against her back. She walked to the bus stop, a shaky stick stuck in the dusty ground. There was already a queue waiting for the kombis or the occasional willing car....

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Tichafataona Sleeps

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pp. 57-64

I AM LISTENING FOR THE sound of stealthy footsteps, but the house is silent. The bed is empty beside me as it has been for the past three years since Cornelius woke up one morning and with heaviness layering every word, told me he was leaving and wouldn’t be back....

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The Carer

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pp. 65-75

MBUYA SKIPA, HANNAH’S mother-in-law, lived in a small cottage separate from the main house, a living arrangement that did not go down well with family. The cottage, though it had been painted and curtained, was where the gardener had once lived....

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pp. 76-85

CHEMU SAT AT THE KITCHEN TABLE eating his lunch while Estelle did the ironing. A.k.a Esteli to Chemu, and all who knew her, she chattered away not minding that he didn’t respond. He liked hearing her voice. It was comforting. Even if he sometimes didn’t understand what she said, he still liked to hear her....

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Everything is Nice, Zimbulele

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pp. 86-99

THE STENCH OF DEATH HUNG low in the air of Mbubi. The fumes overpowered cooking fires and fed life into the film of toxic black dust that blew over the ancient rubbish, permeating the air breathed in by snot-nosed children and skinny dogs, and awakening intoxicated men and nauseated, pregnant women....

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Bare Bones

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pp. 100-109

Bare bones. Hardly more than a girl, seeking assistance from health services that are no longer functioning and health workers who have lost all hope that they might be able to change anything. Sibo leaves the clinic, her feet dragging in the dust. She has lost so much blood, she is weak....

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The Big Trip

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pp. 110-116

MARY PHIRI SLOWLY PULLED ON a pair of rubber gloves, squirted some washing-up liquid into the sink full of hot water, and prepared to wash up the breakfast dishes. She watched the bubbles froth before she picked up a cloth and swirled it round the first bowl. The remnants of cornflakes...

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In Memory of the Nose Brigade

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pp. 117-122

THE OTHER DAY WE WERE STANDING by the bus stop waiting for a commuter omnibus that would take us to the city centre. We stood there for hours but the road remained as quiet and as empty as our stomachs. All we saw were the occasional posh 4 x 4s whose owners stared at us with...

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Mainini Grace's Promise

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pp. 123-131

Since her disclosure, things had gradually changed. In time, the subtle had become obvious. The extended family seemed to have conveniently forgotten about their existence. Prior to that, their visits had been increasingly shrouded in an aura of something parallel to embarrassment...


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pp. 133-134

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781779221339
Print-ISBN-13: 9781779220738

Page Count: 148
Publication Year: 2008