The Superwoman Black Feminist

Tsitsi Dangarembga and Maaza Mengiste

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Tsitsi Dangarembga and Maaza Mengiste

Through more than 30 years, Zimbabwean Tsitsi Dangarembga has made her mark as a writer and director. With her trilogy of novels following Tambu, she portrays a period of upheaval for her home country, from life under the colonial regime of Rhodesia to the struggle for freedom and the disillusioned everyday life after independence.

Her debut novel Nervous Conditions was not only the first novel in English published by a Black woman in Zimbabwe, it has become a modern classic, and in 2018, it figured on BBC’s “100 books that changed the world”. That same year, the third book in the trilogy, This Mournable Body, was shortlisted for the prestigious Booker prize.

But it was not a given that Dangarembga would end up in this position, and at one point, it seemed she would not be able to publish her first book at all. In her recent essay collection Black and Female, Dangarembga connects the personal and the political in her recount of how she has been forced into a constant uphill battle to be heard, as a Black person and as a woman.

When Dangarembga last visited the House of Literature, it was during our African Week in 2009, co-curated by Chimamanda Adichie. When she returns this year, her books will finally be available in a new Norwegian translation.

At the House of Literature, Dangarembga will meet Ethiopian Maaza Mengiste in conversation. Mengiste is the author of several critically acclaimed novels portraying the history of Ethiopia, and she has named Dangarembga as one of her literary inspirations.

The event is supported by NORAD.

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