ISBN 9781779220639
ePub ISBN 9781779222138
Pages 376
Dimensions 216 x 140 mm
Published 2007
Publisher Weaver Press, Zimbabwe
Formats Paperback, eBook

The Uncertainty of Hope

by Valerie Tagwira

The Uncertainty of Hope by Valerie Tagwira won the National Arts Merit Award (NAMA), Zimbabwe 2008. It is a novel which Charles Mungoshi calls 'an astonishing debut'.

Through the various and complex lives of Onai Moyo - a market woman and responsible mother of three children, and her best friend Katy Nguni - a vendor and black-market currency dealer - we are given an insight into the challenges that face those who only survive by their wits, their labour and their mutual support. In doing so Tagwira aptly captures how precarious the future is for the inhabitants of Mbare, Zimbabwe in 2005. The story of these two close friends is situated in a high-density suburb. However, the author also introduces a much wider cross-section of Zimbabwean society: Tom Sibanda, a young business man and farmer, his girlfriend, Faith, a law student, Tom's sister Emily, a health professional, and Mawaya, the ostensible beggar. With depth and sensitivity, Tagwira pulls these many threads into a densely woven novel that provides us with of some of the many faces of contemporary Zimbabwe.

Born and bred in Zimbabwe, Valerie Tagwira is working in London while preparing for her membership exam for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. The Uncertainty of Hope is her first novel.

Tagwira says that it 'began as an exploration in creativity. However, because of my interest in health-related and developmental issues that affect women, The Uncertainty of Hope became a way of exploring issues close to my heart … the challenges that underprivileged women face in their day-to-day lives, and the obstacles that they encounter in trying to make life better for their families.

‘Through Onai and her best friend Katy, the book examines domestic violence, poverty, homelessness and lack of control that disadvantaged women have over their sexuality, which among other things, makes them more vulnerable to HIV and AIDS. It is also a book about surviving against the odds, and the value of true friendship. Onai and Katy’s interactions with other characters from a different social class reveal the intricacies of modern day Zimbabwe.’

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'This satisfying and thought-provoking book from Weaver Press reminds me of award-winning Ghanaian writer Ama Ata Aidoo’s novel Changes. Valerie Tagwira writes confident, inspirational prose about the predicament of women in modern Zimbabwe…. perhaps a young rival for Tsitsi Dangarembga is emerging, who shows us that modern Zimbabwe is a place where one can still hope for change.'

'Book a welcome addition to Zimbabwean literature'

"...the overwhelming, lingering and realistic impression left by this work is of lives lived under extreme difficulty, but faced with immense courage, dignity and the vital support of caring friendship among women. It is, indeed, a highly accomplished first novel and a valuable addition to the African literary archive, however painful to read its many harrowing moments may be."

The Uncertainty of Hope.pdf — PDF document, 119Kb

About the Author

Valerie Tagwira

Valerie Tagwira is a specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist who lives and works in Harare. The Uncertainty of Hope (Weaver Press, 2006, Jacana Media 2006), her first novel, won the National Arts Merit Award for Outstanding Fiction in 2008. Her short story 'The Journey' was published in the Caine Prize Anthology 2010. Her story 'Mainini Grace's Promise' was published in Women Writing Zimbabwe (Weaver Press, 2009) translated into Shona for the anthology Mazambuko (Weaver Press, 2011), included in the anthology, New Daughters of Africa (Myriad Editions 2018) and re-published in Windows into Zimbabwe (Weaver Press, 2019). 'The Way of Revenge', a short story, was published in Writing Mystery and Mayhem (Weaver Press, 2015).

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