Crossing over from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe: Book review of “Township Girls”

Review of “Township Girls” By Sarah Nyengerai on April 10, 2019 

“Township Girls” is a compilation of stories that focuses on an area of history and experience that is not often explored: the personal challenges posed by crossing over from the old (not free) country to the new (free) country. Sarah Nyengerai takes a closer look.
Book launch of Township Girls, Zimbabwean authors Joy Chimombe and Farayi Mangwende. The launch was held at Touch of Grace in Harare. Picture – Supplied

A first of its kind in Zimbabwe, Township Girls, compiled by Nomsa Mwamuka, Farai Mpisaunga Mpofu and Wadzanai Garwe, is a biographical and autobiographical collection of the stories of women who grew up in two countries: Rhodesia prior to independence and Zimbabwe post-1980. The book takes readers through the cross-over journeys of 31 women whose transitional experiences from colonial Rhodesia to independent Zimbabwe left indelible marks and taught invaluable life lessons. While these transitions have several themes in common, five, in particular, stand out:

“We are because of them”
The first theme that is woven through each narrative is the sacrifices made by parents, despite the most difficult and how to get a prescription for viagra online constraining circumstances. Behind these women stood parents committed to giving their children a better life through education. In turn, each woman honours her parents by recognising how their dedication and foresight propelled them to greater heights. As says, “It was expected, acknowledged and accepted that you would do better and go further.”

A product of many worlds
Ensconced in the two defining periods of pre-independence and post-independence are several intertwined experiences that make each story strikingly unique. Take, for instance, the following situations:
“My parents and their white friends had always shielded us from racism in England but here in Rhodesia it just crept up on you unexpectedly and found you wherever you were. The excitement I had felt coming home was wearing thin.”
“It seemed I was too dark to be black. The black Americans found my black African-ness too strange, and I found it odd to only have white friends for the first time in my life. [In America] I was accepted by a race that rejected me in my own country and was rejected by a race of my own colour.”
We arrived in Southern Rhodesia as refugees from apartheid South Africa and buy clomid year later my mother married a Zimbabwean man, Joshua Sithole who raised me. Having grown up in Zimbabwe (a country where we were now done with colonialism, and black people were in charge), apartheid South Africa was hard to get used to, when I relocated back there in my late twenties, the racism was a nightmare.

“I have no struggle credentials. I have had a privileged life by any standards. Born unaware of the oppression around me, relocated to foreign climes, only to return home to Zimbabwe in 1982, and to freedom. The result: having to start again from scratch and to be constantly ridiculed for my intonation and poor Shona vocabulary.”
Continued racial divides
For the cross-over generation, the transition from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe meant integration into predominantly all-white schools. This assimilation often meant navigating unchartered territories as an ethnic minority in white-dominated institutions. As one writer reflects:
“I never shared this painful event, or the many more that reflected racial prejudice, with my parents. This I did because I knew their decision to move me to this white school had earned them a favourable status in the community. They were revered and saw themselves as pioneers. I was not about to tell them I hated the school and missed my simple township friends.”
Although the multiracial school system presented various difficulties and was marred by racial prejudice and mistreatment, it ushered in a new phase of self-discovery. Normally the new schools meant greater opportunities in the academic, sporting and viagra canada cultural fields. Surviving the racial mire required wit, self-confidence and tenacity, qualities that in turn enabled the girls to excel in their academic and sporting activities. As writes, “I discovered that intelligence transcended race, gender or class.”
Lives of significance
Equipped as they were with strong educational backgrounds, it comes as no surprise that the women featured in this compilation hold or have held various positions of influence across a wide spectrum of professions. They continue to leave their mark on local and international platforms, such as the African Union, Southern African Development Community (SADC), and to win international awards, such as the Peabody and British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards.
Live Interview: The Lives of Township Girls

Coming full circle
With journeys that navigated between traditional and Western cultures, from a time of war to a time of peace, the women featured in Township Girls have undoubtedly come full circle. Their rich and price tadalafil uk colourful stories shine the spotlight on a group of women who have a strong sense of self-awareness and African pride. As one of them writes:

I am what I am

A product of fusions

A tapestry of languages, cultures, continents

Different, but all of them defining

A divergence of beliefs, united by one cause, one goal

To be the best that one can be…