The Hairdresser of Harare Tendai Huchu

Review by  Dakarai Jane

What happens at the hairdresser’s stays at the hairdresser’s.

Except in Vimbai’s case it didn’t. Dumi followed her home— literally.


Having lived in Harare for some years, I have to say that Tendai Huchu’s novel accurately depicted what goes on in the capital city. She touches on sensitive topics that some of us don’t dare discuss, and writes from the point where the traditional meets the new age society.

We’re thrown into the world of politicians, pride, romance, betrayal, the list is endless! We read as culture breaks family apart, and an iron fist rules over the decisions individuals make in their own day to day lives. She also touches on the economic struggles that are prevalent in Zimbabwean society, voicing them such that you can picture yourself in the situations she’s describing.

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The Hairdresser of Harare, Questioning Gender and Sexuality in a Zimbabwean Novel

Review by Pierre Leroux

Tendai Huchu’s first novel, The Hairdresser of Harare was published in 2010 by Weaver Press. Although he was already living in Edinburgh at the time, the author made sure it was first released in Zimbabwe by a Zimbabwean publishing house. The story is set in Harare during the financial crisis that followed the land expropriations in the late nineties. The narrator, Vimbai, is a young single mother who claims to be the best hairdresser in the city. Her trade, and the fact that she describes herself as the “queen bee” (Hairdresser: 3) in the salon introduce her as a self-taught gender expert. She knows what is expected of women and provides her customers with the feminine image they long for. In her appreciation of her work, she even associates gender and race, since, according to her, the key to success is that the “client should leave the salon feeling like a white woman” (Hairdresser: 3).

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The Hairdresser of Harare: the end of innocence - Wiriko

Click on the link below to read a Spanish review of The Hairdresser of Harare.

Source: El peluquero de Harare: el fin de la inocencia – Wiriko

Award-winning novel exposes Harare's underbelly

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Source: Award-winning novel exposes Harare's underbelly • The Herald

Review of The Hairdresser of Harare by Tendai Huchu - Mary Helen Specht

New York Times, 11 August 2015
Sunday Book Review

Mary Helen Specht

Warning of the dangers of what she calls “the single story” about any given place or people, the Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says that it “creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete.” Too often in the United States, we have created a single narrative about foreign countries, particularly African countries: They’re impoverished and war-torn and beset by disease or, more benignly, simply teeming with exotic animals.

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‘The Hairdresser of Harare,’ by Tendai Huchu - The New York Times

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Source: The Hairdresser of Harare by Tendai Huchu |

Il Parrucchiere di Harare

Read this Italian book review (PDF, 273.7kB)

Review of The Hairdresser of Harare by Scots Whay Hae

Scots Whay Hae!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

A Cut Above The Rest: A Review Of Tendai Huchu's The Hairdresser of Harare...

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New Review: Hairdresser of Harare

The South African
14th February, 2013
Book review: ‘The Hairdresser of Harare’ by Tendai Huchu
by Elizabeth Glanville

As a novel that takes you right into the heart of the hopes and despair of the lives of two Zimbabwean friends, as well as the country as a whole, The Hairdresser of Harare is an enjoyable read that highlights the wider struggle of a nation within the microcosm of a local salon.

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New: Hairdresser of Harare Review by Jane Bryce

"...Vimbai is a hairdresser, the best in Mrs Khumalo's salon, and she knows she is the queen on whom they all depend. Her situation is reversed when the good-looking, smooth-talking Dumisani joins them."


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