They Called You Dambudzo
Title Details

300 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

13 illus.

Imprint: James Currey

They Called You Dambudzo

A Memoir

by Flora Veit-Wild

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
  • Reviews
Compelling memoir of Flora Veit-Wild and her relationship with the Zimbabwean novelist, poet, playwright, and essayist Dambudzo Marechera, one of Africa's most innovative and subversive writers and a significant voice in contemporary world literature.
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 book 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. What is less known about Marechera and Veit-Wild is that they 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.

Jacana: Southern Africa
PRELUDE

PART ONE: TRAJECTORIES
Escape from the House of Hunger
The Last Image of My Father
Flower in the Snow
Defying the State
From Frau Mücke to Robert Mugabe

PART TWO: HARARE IN HEAT
December 1982
German Christmas in the Tropics
The Mozambican Bogey Man
The Oracle
Becoming Expatriates
Elective Affinities
Boscobel Drive
Guest of Honour
Harare International Book Fair 1983

PART THREE: EAGLETS OF DESIRE
Getting Entangled
Nowhere to Go
Having a Home
Max and Dambudzo
Facing the Publishers
The Taxi Has to Be Paid
Vumba and the Grand Finale
Coda 1: The Accident
Coda 2: I Hate Death

PART FOUR: HEAVEN'S TERRIBLE ECSTACY
A Reading and a Murder Charge
They Are Boiling My Bones in the Kitchen
8 Sloane Court
The Ghost of Amelia
The Other Woman
Projects and Rejects
Patterns of Poetry
Angry Notes
Lake Mcllwaine: The Entrapment
Coda 1: Seroconversion
Coda 2: Conception

PART FIVE: BASTARD DEATH
The Great Scare
The Hourglass
How to Live On
Shadows of Death
He Is Dead

PART SIX: ENTANGLED LEGACIES
The Execution
The Tracking
The Moment of Terror
Carnival and Cockroaches - The Appointment
The Lady in Black
The Valley of Death or: Busting the Kraken
Out of the Closet

Flora Veit-Wild is Emerita Professor of African literatures at Humboldt University, Berlin. She lived in Harare/Zimbabwe from 1983 to 1993 and became known for her work on Zimbabwean literature and as literary executor and biographer of Dambudzo Marechera and a founder member of the Zimbabwe Women Writers. Her numerous publications include studies of body, madness, sexuality and gender in Anglophone and Francophone African writing as well as code-switching and linguistic innovation in Shona literature.

"After reading such an intense and passionate memoir so masterfully crafted and narrated by an accomplished literary critic, one can only recommend it most strongly to every lover of literature." IFE: Journal of the Institute of Cultural Studies

Hardcover

9781847013293

May 2022

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9781800105553

May 2022

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August 2023

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Title Details

300 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

13 illus.

Imprint: James Currey