Valerie Tagwira

Short Stories

  1. In my opinion, a good story is one which arrests a reader’s attention. From the moment I started reading this story, I was literally ‘lost’ in it; I couldn’t wait to get to the next bit. I also liked the unexpected turn of events at the end. I must admit, though, that I probably got too emotionally involved and could almost feel Sarai’s heartache and her mum’s pain. All in all, an excellent piece of work. Well done!

  2. I have worked in the area of HIV & AIDS for >10 years now. I read this slowly and as I ‘listened’ to the words that spoke to my heart so passionately. This story sounds too true to be fiction Val! Well described and emotionally engaging. Its a true description of the reality on the ground. A lot of young people like Sarai are finding the realities of caring for those meant to care for them. You have left my mind wondering Val – amd my heart beating faster. Needless to say, I am asking myself what kind of many other ‘promises’ lie ahead of us and the many Sarais living in a world with HIV? I wonder.

  3. Val that’s an amasing story.The reality of Sarai and her situation just breaks my heart.

  4. Hi Valerie
    Great story. l knew you were a good writer. But this is genius. l loved every moment of it. lt is so sad. l felt like l was living the poor girl’s life. Please keep up the good work. l will constantly look out for your work.

  5. I hardly could stop reading wanting to know the ending. Its more of true stories than a fiction VJ. You have summed it all what the AIDS/HIV opharns are going through. They are the forgottern innocent souls. These young people need support which is hard to come by in Zimbabwe. Cant we do something ladies and gentlemen to help. A few names in the same predicament are already ringing bells in me. Probably in some situations many have been like mainini Grace. This is a well thought story which depicts leaving reality. Keep it up VJ.

  6. An excellent story which really captures the desperation of so many families in Zimbabwe, across southern Africa and the continent. I could, as I’m sure so many other Africans, identify with the dreadful situation of 15 year old Sarai in her care of her mother; made desperate by the lack of drugs, money & absence of family support because they are already deceased or emigrated for work. I like the way you do not mention the disease itself, for added effect but allow the situation to inform the reader itself. We hope, with Sarai, that Mainini Grace will arrive from Botswana soon to rescue the situation. Mainini Grace does arrive back but with the brutal twist of her not having returned to rescue the situation but to saved herself from the same ‘terminal’ diesease. Excellent!!

  7. This is amazing story and i really enjoyed reading it, i wish you could write more short stories like this. Well done.

  8. A great story depicting the sad realities of a country ravaged with aids, and economic decline.

    Well done Val!, great writing skills!

  9. After reading the comments that have so far been aired by other readers, I couldn’t resist the temptation to further explore some of the issues that are being raised. I have kids of my own and I reckon, to an extent, that explains why Sarai, her mum and mainini Grace’s predicaments spoke to me so strongly. Ideally, a 15 year old should not carry the kind of responsibility and emotional baggage that we find Sarai dealing with so matter-of factly. The circumstances in her life have unfairly robbed her of her childhood. Before she has a chance to even grow up, life has catapulted her into the world of sorrow, pain, heartache etc. She finds herself taking care of those who should be taking care of her. Sadly, though, this is the norm for countless children in Africa. While the rest of the world get on with their lives, there are numerous kids like Sarai who do not know what it means to be a child. Val, this story is much more than just a good story. May God use it to provoke us to do something about Africa’s forgotten carers!

  10. The comments above really say it all. “Mainini Grace’s Promise” is as easy to read as it is disturbing.

    It’s easy to read in the sense that the language used in the story is quite accessible. It has an internal unity about it that carrys you and the story along.

    At the same time, the story makes a disturbing read in the sense that it gives us a close-up view of the effects HIV/AIDS is having on children, families and communities. It pushes before our eyes what used to be an unknown but is now as commonplace as it is still, in a lot of other ways, unknown: the child-headed family.

    As the story opens, Sarai is nursing her ailing mother. Months earlier, Sarai had nursed her father, younger brother and sister and had all seen them die in front of her face.

    What keeps Sarai going are the promises her aunt, her mother’s sister makes in the erratic letters which she writes. Mainini Grace is in Botswana and in her letters she promises Sarai that she is coming home soon and that when she comes, she will bring medicines that will help Sarai’s mother feel better.

    What happens when Mainini Grace returns demonstrates some of the psychological effects being a carer and routinely having to deal with death and dying can have on children.

  11. I enjoyed your short story as it kept me wanting to know why Mainini Grace had not come and the reason is the unfortunate reality of the AIDS pandemic affecting many people today. I hope it will bring awareness or conscientise people of the emotional trauma that caregivers of terminally ill people go through. HOWEVER i think you need to put a little humour in your stories or a litttle light heartedness otherwise you will develop into a sombre depressing writer. People are faced with the reality of sickness already and they dont want to read a book that will make them more depressed. otherwise good job.

  12. […] readers have posted comments Tagwira’s website, expressing the different ways in which the story touched them. All but one of the readers found […]

  13. When I started reading I wanted to continue to understand what was happening and you had to keep reading to get the true meaning of the whole story beginging to end I saw the need to funish it . Very good.

  14. I think this is a touching story and brings home the realities of how HIV/AIDS has devastated families, especially to those of us who have relatives in similar predicaments. It’s a sad reality that we have to deal with, think of ways to go forward, and help the ones affected, especially now that the ARV’s are available. If HIV can be deemed a chronic illness then the parents would be available for kids like Sarai, to see them through school, and at least the first two decades of life when they need their parents the most. A touching and well written story. Keep it up hey.

  15. I loved the story. It is very real and the vivid descriptions transport the reader into a world that needs to be seen and believed. The entire hopelessness is cruelly depicted. I hope it is not a reflection of the author’s outlook on life in Zimbabwe. That sentiment is contagious.

  16. absolutely loved it. you are another dangarembwa in the making – the engilsh is good and the plot, excellent. am looking forward to getting a copy of the book – it must be a good read!

  17. hey Val are you having writers’ block? we are eagerly expecting something new from you:)

  18. A haunting and compelling read. Beautifully written and engaging from begining to end. And what an ending.

  19. Val that was a very captivating story, I was glued to book and struggled to put it down. This story of Sarai caputures the sad reality of life in our country that has been ravaged by HIV and AIDS. This is more than just sad story,it has touched me in many ways. I really enjoyed reading it. Eagerly awaiting for the next short story from you.

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