Author C. B. George, a mysterious author who provides no biographical information and no photograph, tells a story of contemporary Zimbabwe, still being ruled after almost thirty-six years by dictator Robert Mugabe, now aged ninety-two. President for over thirty years, he has been a one-party ruler, famed for his appropriation of white-owned lands and their redistribution to black farmers and political allies, the disappearance and death of political enemies, the use of terror, and gross human rights abuses, all to enforce his will and to ensure the retention of his office and his wealth. Author C. B. George, who lives in the UK, according to the book jacket, presents the narratives of three couples who represent different aspects of contemporary life in Zimbabwe, primarily in the capital of Harare. The author’s sense of drama and his ability to pace the narrative to keep the reader continuously involved in the lives of his characters, while simultaneously focusing on the attempts of these people and their families to lead “normal” lives, suggests that he may have a background in television or film. An unusual vision of Zimbabwe, one of the most corrupt nations in the world.
Category Archive for 'Zimbabwe'
In this remarkable “novel” which defies genre – feeling like a memoir and structured like a collection of short stories – author NoViolet Bulawayo, from Zimbabwe, revisits her former country and its on-going, horrific history. Main character, Darling, is only ten; her friends Sbho, Godknows, Bastard, Chipo, and Stina, who has no birth certificate, are all close to her in age. Though they once attended school, their teachers “have left to teach over in South Africa and Botswana and Namibia and them, where there’s better money.” The scenes depicting Darling’s life, as she innocently tells her story, are shocking, not only for the facts which are depicted so graphically, but also for the sense she reveals that these experiences are somehow “normal” and even “ordinary.” The action, which begins in the late 1980s, shows that nothing is sacred now, and no rules, except the traditions of the old folks, seem to have survived the horrors of “independence,” which might have been a glorious celebration.
Zimbabwean writer Ian Holding, a school teacher in Harare, is a white settler who has decided to stay in Zimbabwe, a country riven with violence for many years. Robert Mugabe, a leader of Zimbabwe’s liberation movement against the British, was elected to power in 1980 and remains in power to this day, supported by his army. Over the past thirty years, the economic situation in Zimbabwe has worsened. In this novel Holding writes two parallel stories, divided into four parts, which intersect at the end and provide a kind of conclusion, though not necessarily resolution. The first part is a dramatic, horrifying, and immensely sad story of a post-apocalyptic “society” in which a few survivors try to stay alive in a bombed out and completely devastated city. In Part Two, the scene shifts to the journal of Ian, a schoolteacher whose family has lived on a farm in the highland for decades before emigrating – the parents to Australia, one brother to London, and one to Canada. Only Ian remains behind, and he, too, is thinking of leaving. Dramatic, horrifying, and filled with vibrant language which swirls around, creating word pictures which the reader will often find difficult to accept, this novel is a heartfelt cry for understanding in a place where it appears to be rare.
Set in Zimbabwe from the early 1980s through the late 1990s, Irene Sabatini’s debut novel focuses on the racial conflicts which underlie the history of Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia, which was under British rule for a hundred years before being granted independence in 1980. Using the love story of a white Rhodesian man and a mixed race, “colored” woman, over the course of almost twenty years, Sabatini traces the country’s deterioration economically, culturally, and socially, under President Robert “Bob” Mugabe, who is still president of Zimbabwe after more than thirty years. Ultimately, Sabatini creates a vibrant novel in which she explores the downward spiral of Zimbabwe over the past nearly-thirty years. The corruption, the intolerance, the sense of entitlement by soldiers and militias who have fought against the white establishment, the economic hardships, the violence of the army and police against those who oppose those currently in power, and the complications created by South Africa and other African countries who may fear the possible effects of a free Zimbabwe are all explored in detail, especially as they affect Lindiwe, Ian, and their friends.