5 BOOKS TO READ BEFORE YOUR NEXT ZIMBABWE SAFARI
If Zimbabwe is on your bucket-list, then reading a book set in the country will definitely enhance your travel experience.
Whether the book is fiction or non-fiction, set in the past or present day, it will surely turn your adventure into an enlightening undertaking.
Here’s a review of 5 books that will help you navigate the complex cultural and socio-political landscape of your destination.
1. A Hunter’s Wanderings in Africa by Frederick Courteney Selous,
First published : 1881
This book tells the story of Frederick Courteney Selous, generally acknowledged as the greatest African hunter of all time. While Selous was first and foremost a hunter, he was also a close personal friend of President Theodore Roosevelt and a naturalist whose careful observations and succinct writings were read by layman and scholar alike. The African wing of the British Museum of Natural History is named after him, and the crack special forces unit in the Zimbabwe War of Independence was named the Selous Scouts.
2. Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga
First published :1988
Set in the late 1960’s — 1970’s, Tsitsi Dangarembga’s 1988 novel “Nervous Conditions” (1988) tells the story of an adolescent girl growing up in rural Rhodesia (Zimbabwe).A modern classic in the African literary canon and voted in the Top Ten Africa’s 100 Best Books of the 20th Century, this novel brings to the politics of decolonization theory the energy of women’s rights. An extraordinarily well-crafted work, this book is a work of vision. Through its deft negotiation of race, class, gender and cultural change, it dramatizes the ‘nervousness’ of the ‘postcolonial’ conditions that bedevil us still. In Tambu and the women of her family, we African women see ourselves, whether at home or displaced, doing daily battle with our changing world with a mixture of tenacity, bewilderment and grace.
3. Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa by Peter Godwin
First published :1996
Mukiwa opens with Peter Godwin, six years old, describing the murder of his neighbor by African guerillas, in 1964, pre-war Rhodesia. Godwin’s parents are liberal whites, his mother a governement-employed doctor, his father an engineer. Through his innocent, young eyes, the story of the beginning of the end of white rule in Africa unfolds. The memoir follows Godwin’s personal journey from the eve of war in Rhodesia to his experience fighting in the civil war that he detests to his adventures as a journalist in the new state of Zimbabwe, covering the bloody return to Black rule. With each transition Godwin’s voice develops, from that of a boy to a young man to an adult returning to his homeland. This tale of the savage struggle between blacks and whites as the British Colonial period comes to an end is set against the vividly painted background of the myserious world of Southern Africa..
4. The Last Resort by Douglas Rogers
First Published: 2009
Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Douglas Rogers is the son of white farmers living through that country’s long and tense transition from postcolonial rule. He escaped the dull future mapped out for him by his parents for one of adventure and excitement in Europe and the United States. But when Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe launched his violent program to reclaim white-owned land and Rogers’s parents were caught in the cross fire, everything changed. Lyn and Ros, the owners of Drifters–a famous game farm and backpacker lodge in the eastern mountains that was one of the most popular budget resorts in the country–found their home and resort under siege, their friends and neighbors expelled, and their lives in danger. But instead of leaving, as their son pleads with them to do, they haul out a shotgun and decide to stay.
5. Sibanda and the Rainbird by C M Elliot
First published :2013
Sibanda and the Rainbird introduces Detective Inspector Jabulani Sibanda, a bush-savvy policeman stationed in a large village on the borders of a national park in rural Matabeleland, Zimbabwe.
Sibanda’s expertise often outranks – and frustrates – his colleagues, not least his superiors. But when Sibanda isn’t feeling challenged enough, there’s always his courtship of local beauty Khanyi Mpofu to keep him busy and further distract him from his memories of Berry Barton who he met while studying in the UK.
However, Sibanda soon encounters more pressing matters. A horribly mutilated corpse is discovered in the park near the luxurious Thunduluka Lodge. At first it looks like the corpse was savaged by vultures, but Sibanda quickly concludes that the victim was murdered for body parts and from then on nothing is quite like it seems.
With Sibanda are his trusty sidekicks: Sergeant Ncube and Miss Daisy. Ncube is an overweight, many-wived mechanical genius and Miss Daisy is an ancient, truculent Land Rover that is the apple of Ncube’s eye. And then there is the bush itself, explored through Sibanda’s passion for and encyclopaedic knowledge of it, which emerges as a character in its own right in this madcap, contemporary African adventure.