Windows into Zimbabwe Launch Franziska Kramer Address

We are happy to learn that Windows into Zimbabwe is being launched in Zimbabwe, by the German Ambassador, Dr Thorsten Hutter. We still marvel at the great variety and literary acuity of the country’s authors. In this new anthology, we selected 23 short stories from the seven anthologies Irene Staunton of Weaver Press has edited published over the past fifteen years. The selection was a challenge, but our choice was made from those which we regard as the best and most representative of Zimbabwe, its people and its trajectory from the 1970s to the most recent past.

There is little doubt that what is represented in literary texts is inextricably linked to ethical considerations. The latter, we would argue, should reflect Aristotle’s sentiment that ‘the weaker are always anxious for equality and justice, while the strong pay no heed to either’ and should, as a consequence, privilege the perspective of those who, as the German can also move us, enrage us and inspire us to act. It is in this context that a particular choice we made should be regarded and appreciated: roughly a third of the texts in this collection either focus on or are narrated from the perspective of children or young teenagers. While these protagonists certainly labour the most under their conditions of survival, they also inspire the reader best through their capacity for suffering, their courage, and their resilience.

The idea for this compilation arose during a joint trip to Zimbabwe in 2016. We, father and daughter, both delight in reading the literature of all kinds, discovering new and unheard voices, discussing their potential and hidden meanings, and debating their possible interpretations. We have thoroughly enjoyed our work on this collection with all its many turns, its wonderful moments of mutual understanding, its demanding processes of negotiation and their eventually happy compromises.

We wish the book all the success it deserves as a document of the Zimbabwean peoples’ and their writers’ affliction and endurance, anger and forgiveness, humour and resilience. If our modest contributions to this volume help dissemination, we’ll be highly pleased. Our most deeply felt thanks go to the publishers, Irene Staunton and Murray McCartney who made this work possible. And who had been one of the greatest academic inspirations for Franziska's career in particular.