Valerie Tagwira


Valerie TagwiraValerie Tagwira is a Zimbabwean medical doctor and an author.

Her debut novel, The Uncertainty of Hope is set in the densely populated suburb of Mbare, Harare, and explores the complex lives of Onai Moyo — a market woman and mother of three children — and her best friend, Katy Nguni — a vendor and black-market currency dealer.

The novel gives an insight into the challenges faced by a wide cross section of Zimbabwe, where 80% of the country’s population is unemployed; where life expectancy has dropped to 37, possibly the lowest in the world and where the rate of inflation stood at over 100,000% in January 2008, possibly the highest in the world.

The novel also gives a view from the streets of Operation Murambatsvina, the government’s controversial urban slum clearance program which created over half a million internally displaced persons and destroyed the livelihoods of close to 10 percent of the population.

  1. l like the book and l finished it the day before yesterday . I loved the book. Aren’t you going to write part 2?

  2. Many thanks. Will certainly think about that.

  3. I enjoyed your book especially because its your first one . I think you have a great future ahead of you as an author. What i liked was the way you were able to transmit the characters’ feelings and emotions the atmosphere to me as a reader i felt like i was in the middle of it all as Onai in Mbare e.t.c There is always room for improvement however and i think you are a Cathrine Cookson just waiting to Bloom!

  4. Thank you for your comments.

  5. The information in this book was very interesting ,it kept me wanting to see what was happening next of all the charaters , it helped me to understand the way people are treated in Zambawai

  6. Glad to know you found the book interesting.

  7. Sorry, but I dont like your book because it serves imperialist interests and you are another Condoleeza Rice in the making. Shame on you!!!

  8. Condoleeza Rice? Hardly. But you are putting ideas into my head! But seriously, I am not uncomfortable talking about reality.There is no point avoiding the controversies that are so much a part of our lives.To me, the novel remains a story of resilience, hope and triumph. Try reading it….

  9. Valerie

    I think you are a great writer and feel that you would even be a greater author if you were balanced and also wrote about the positive things. Am sure the Zimbabwe that you grew up in also has its positives. This will make you more respectable as a writer when you improve on objectivity and reality.

    All the best and thank you for representing women.

  10. There are indeed a lot of positive things about Zimbabwe; so many things that make me proud to be a Zimbawean woman. We are a resilient nation. We have a great sense of community. We have love and an unwavering sense of humour too! These are just a few of the numerous positive characteristics that have enabled us to survive; and which sustained the characters in my novel through some extremely grim times. Did you finish reading the book? If you did, you would have seen that while the novel is a work of fiction, I did not shirk from talking about reality; and neither did I compromise on objectivity.Thanks for taking the time to post a comment.

  11. Thank you for writing such an interesting and informative book. The way in which you managed to portray events on the ground without compromising on literary quality is what makes the book such an outstanding piece of work. Well done. The future certainly looks bright for you, girl. Go for it!

  12. Thanks for your comments and encouragement. Much appreciated.

  13. hi doc. seems you wrote something that stirs up not only political, but social and emotional sentiments as well. but i am based in zimbabwe, so how do i get a copy of your book?

  14. In Zimbabwe, The Uncertainty of Hope is available from Weaver Press in Emerald Hill (phone number:308330), The Book Cafe and The National Gallery. Thank you for your interest.

  15. I`m in South Africa , Pretoria and i`m interested in buying this book, where is the nearest place that i can get it?

  16. The novel will be published in South Africa at the beginning of 2008. Stockists to be advised later. In the meantine, the book can be ordered through Jump Shopping or try Amazon.Thanks for your interest.

  17. I am in South Africa and would also love to access that book and its brief is incredible and would like to inite you to South Africa fir a conference soon

  18. Great! Let me know what you think of the novel.

  19. I have begun a dialogue with Ambrose Musiyiwa regarding language use in Uncertainty of Hope. Based on my reading so far, I don’t seem attracted by the use of Shona alongside English in character dialogues. How do you view the notion of translation and translatability of concepts. Did you, using Shona sayings intend to show the untranslatable nature of the concept? And if so, what was the purpose of following up with an English sentence saying the same content?

    I like the realism and the currency of the novel, particularly the familiar terrain it covers.

  20. I have read your discussion with Ambrose and I must say it makes thought-provoking reading. The use of Shona sentences/phrases and their English equivalent, especially in conversations, is deliberate. Does it add to or remove from the quality of my work? I think that is a matter of personal opinion.

    I am very flattered that my work can be mentioned alongside Vera’s and Dangarembga’s. I studied English only up to O-Level and the fact that my work can stimulate such analysis and debate is great! I am looking forward to your review and your analysis of language use in The Uncertainty of Hope. I am sure these will be quite informative and a learning experience, not only for me, but for all emerging and established writers.

  21. I was really impressed by your novel especially since you are only a novice in the business. You have a great future if you are serious with writing!

  22. This is refreshing. I cant wait to get the copy of Uncertainity of hope that my friend recommended.
    You are so inspiring and this is shown through your works. It gives hope to all Zimbabwean WOMEN

  23. An outstanding story which I could not put down. Written just perfectly. It is exactly the type of novel I like to read. I would have liked every Shona word to have an English translation, either next to it or in the dictionary at the end of the book. The novel gave me a very “sore heart” as I think you told the story of Zimbabwe exactly as it is – things are even worse today, I guess, and the black-market foreign currency exchange rate certainly is! I am in the medical profession here in the UK, and your comments about us being outsiders here are so true. Yes, we earn pounds, but if it was possible we would all rather be back in Zimbabwe truly helping society. I will be the first to purchase your next novel. Small little Zimbabwe certainly does produce outstanding world-class people in their chosen fields.

  24. Greetings Valerie! I have to admit yours is a new name and I’m yet to come across your book. Is your book available here in the UK yet? I’d be keen to get hold of it. I blog randomly at – it would be great if you can drop by whenever you have half a sec’ to spare. Stay well.

  25. Hey Valerie!!

    We can’t wait to read your next novel. Heard about your book on SABC3 Noeleen’s talk show and when it was in the shops I quickly purchased it. I couldnt put the book down and even read it as I commuted to and from work. After completing it I gave it to my boyfriend to read and I tell you I have never seen him to get into a book the way he did since the time he had to read his set book for A-level Literature (lol)…We really can’t wait for the next copy as we identified so closely with all the characters in the book. Congratulations on this debut. You make us proud!!

  26. I loved the use of shona phrases partly because I understand the language and it somehow brought out a deeper expression that is sometimes lost when translated into English. I liked the fact that the phrase or saying would be repeated in English for those who might not understand it all.

  27. Iam a South African and has seen a lot of comments on your site some provocative from the readers and some compimenting your good work.Iam a great fan of African Novels and i will definayely like to purchase some copies for myself and my employees as i want them to be aware of the happenings in our neighbourhood and may be this will change their peception about Zimbabweans.Where is your book accessible in RSA?

    Keep up the good work


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