A Guardian Best Summer Read 2018
Longlisted for the Sunday Times Alan Paton Prize for Non-Fiction
In November 2017 the people of Zimbabwe took to the streets in an unprecedented alliance with the military. Their goal, to restore the legacy of Chimurenga, the liberation struggle, and wrest their country back from over thirty years of Robert Mugabe’s rule.
In an essay that combines bold reportage, memoir and critical analysis, Zimbabwean novelist and journalist Panashe Chigumadzi reflects on the ‘coup that was not a coup’, the telling of history and manipulation of time and the ancestral spirts of two women – her own grandmother and Mbuya Nehanda, the grandmother of the nation.
An extraordinary and thrilling history of Zimbabwe, culminating in the overthrow of Robert Mugabe. Alex Clark, Guardian
Chigumadzi successfully nests the intimate charge of her poignant personal story in the sweeping historical account and mythology of Zimbabwe. Brian Chikwava, by of Harare North
Chigumadzi’s exploration of personal, family and national history reincarnates in stark, vivid images, many of those interred in the shadows of her country’s ‘Big Men’. Tsitsi Dangarembga, by of Nervous Conditions
I have come to realize that the answers we need won’t come from the places we usually search. Party-political responses cannot tell you enough about my people and what has brought us to this place. In search of those answers, I must cast my eyes from the heights of the ‘Big Men’ who have created a history that does not know little people, let alone little women, except as cannon fodder.