Valerie Tagwira

Archive for July, 2008|Monthly archive page

Doing Well in South Africa

In Books, Literature, Reviews, The Uncertainty of Hope, Writing on July 6, 2008 at 7:17 pm

Judging by the reviews that have come out so far, I’d say The Uncertainty of Hope is doing very well in South Africa. It’s being read and it’s informing discussion on politics and literature in both Zimbabwe and South Africa.

In May, the novel was reviewed on SABC’s 3Talk alongside Wendy Salisbury’s The Toyboy Diaries and Xolela Mangcu’s To the Brink: The State of Democracy in South Africa. One of my cousins, who lives in South Africa and who follows the programme, says the review was positive and engaging.

The novel has also been reviewed on websites and in newspapers that include Citizen Journalism in Africa and The Witness.

Brett (“It’s all in the stories we tell,” Citizen Journalism in Africa, May 22) discusses the novel within the context of the role of the media in informing both the imagination and the “collective imagination.”

He suggests that the shocking wave of xenophobic attacks which gripped South Africa in May where based on a lack of understanding of “the other.” He proposes that similar incidents can be prevented if South Africans find out more about the strangers in their midst, not only through the stories they tell each other or through reading or viewing the news, but also through reading books like The Uncertainty of Hope.

Another reviewer, Sharon Dell (“Hope in a climate of fear,” The Witness, June 4) describes the novel as “a well-executed book…”

She quite rightly links Onai’s personal struggles with the “larger story of national deprivation and hardship” that a lot of Zimbabwean men, women and children are currently struggling with. And she suggests that she could have benefited even more if the novel had included a more detailed analysis of what caused the political, social and economic problems the country is facing.