They Called You Dambudzo

A memoir

ISBN13/Barcode: 9781431430499

How shall I tell our story? I hear your voice ringing in mine. I struggle to disentangle a dense tapestry of memories. One thread will be caught up in another. Early images will embrace later ones. My gaze will often be filtered through your eyes, your poems. In the end I will not always be able to tell the original from the reflection. Just as you wrote, Time’s fingers on the piano / play emotion into motion / the dancers in the looking glass never recognise us as their originals.

This book is a memoir with a ‘double heartbeat’. At its centre is the author’s relationship with the late Zimbabwean writer, Dambudzo Marechera, whose award-winning The House of Hunger marked him as a powerful, disruptive, perhaps prophetic voice in African literature.

Flora Veit-Wild is internationally recognised for her significant contribution to preserving Marechera’s legacy. She and Marechera had an intense, personal and sexual relationship.

This memoir explores this: the couple’s first encounter in 1983, amidst the euphoria of the newly independent Zimbabwe; the tumultuous months when the homeless writer moved in with his lover and her family; the bouts of creativity once he had his own flat followed by feelings of abandonment; the increasing despair about a love affair that could not stand up against reality and the illness of the writer and his death of HIV related pneumonia in August 1987.

What follows are the struggles Flora went through once Dambudzo had died. On the one hand she became the custodian of his life and work, on the other she had to live with her own HIV infection and the ensuing threats to her health.


Availability: Reprinting - Due 2022/04/01

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‘A moving, powerful, intense evocation of an extraordinary time, and the intersection of extraordinary lives.’ China Miéville, writer, London ‘…

A very important addition to African literature.’ Helon Habila, writer, Nigeria/USA ‘

They Called You Dambudzo is [a] deeply courageous and compelling memoir… Veit-Wild interlaces dialogue, poetry, anecdote and vivid portraiture to achieve something truly extraordinary… This book deserves its place among the classics of Zimbabwean literature.’ Elleke Boehmer, Professor of World Literature in English, University of Oxford ‘

For all who would understand Dambudzo Marechera and his worlds, it will prove indispensable.’ Robert Fraser, Professor Emeritus Open University UK, English and Creative Writing

‘Reader, prepare to be unsettled.’ Fiona Lloyd, Zimbabwean journalist and editor

Additional Information

ISBN13/Barcode 9781431430499
ISBN10 1431430498
Binding Paperback
Date Published 2 Nov 2020
Frequency No
Report Date 2022/04/01
Pages 280
Publisher Jacana

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