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Zenzele: A Letter for My Daughter by J.…

Zenzele: A Letter for My Daughter (1996)

by J. Nozipo Maraire

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (21)  Dutch (1)  All languages (22)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Such a calm strength in the narrator. I feel as if she is sharing thoughts she has stored up for years, carefully pondering and seeking clarity on what it's like to be herself, a woman, a mother, a Zimbabwean. Although the format is a series of letters she writes, sitting at the kitchen table, to her daughter who has just gone to the US for university, we have no response from the daughter, just this one woman's perspective. It is plenty. ( )
  juniperSun | Jul 9, 2017 |
Review: Zenzele by J. Nozipo Marire

This book was an enjoyable read. The book was not actually a book of letters to a daughter but more like a journal of the mother’s life, despairs, events, relationships, adventures and the emotions during her life before and after her daughter was born. There was also a consistent flow of events written about her and her daughters bonding before her daughter left Harare, the Capital Zimbabwe, to go to Harvard College in the United States. The mother, Shiri was writing this as her daughter, Zenzele was away studying for four years in the United States.

It’s a story of many subjects, from love to political activism and Racism. She wrote about growing up in the countryside, about her adulthood in Harare, about the war against white minority rule. Shiri wrote about her sister and cousin who were activist and how they became guerillas in the revolution fighting and their successes of national pride and being admirable Africa women and Shiri did not hold back all the harshness of life for many people surrounding her. The imagery was vivid, and the look into the life in Zimbabwe was fascinating and interesting to keep me reading. The sense of history was dense and thought provoking while keeping the focus on the character’s experiences.

The book also contains personal experiences and memories of Zenzele’s mother and how families struggled to send their children to the Unite States to be educated. However, there are also the stories of some children coming home just at the time of their parents last moments of their deathbed, lying on straw on a dirt floor in a one room hut they called home. They only showed shame of where they had come from, wearing fancy clothes, they wouldn’t even talk the language of their people, speaking only the language of a different country and having their last words translated to their dying relative while turning their back and walking away to their expensive rented car and driving away for good.

The story was heartwarming but also filled with a lot of history which I didn’t mind because I like reading about other cultures and countries…..Great book…

( )
  Juan-banjo | May 31, 2016 |

This is a letter from a mother in Zambia to her daughter studying in the United States. In it she writes of her love for daughter, Zenzele, and shares with her daughter a history of their family and a history of how Rhodesia became Zimbabwe. Zenzele’s father was a lawyer who was part of the fight along with her mother’s sister and many others. But most of all, Zenzele’s mother wants Zenzele to remember who she is and where she came from wherever she is.

At first I wasn’t sure how much I’d like this book or if it would just be similar to so many other books I’ve read, but when I was finally swept into this family and their history, I enjoyed it more than I did at the first, so it’s four stars and not only three. It is worth reading even if you are neither a mother nor a daughter, or if you are a mother or a daughter, even if you are not particularly interested in Zimbabwe per se. I found the politics and the struggle interesting, and while there were important sections on that, it encompassed more than that, but a bigger picture.
( )
  Karin7 | Jan 20, 2016 |
I LOVE this book. ( )
  tamikathompson | Aug 9, 2015 |
An exquisite book, written as a series of letters by a mother in Zimbabwe to her daughter who is leaving to go to college in America. The book is full of African stories, histories, and cultural values.

J. Nozipo Maraire was born in Rhodesia in 1964, as the violence began that eventually led to the establishment of the independent nation of Zimbabwe. Like Zenzele, she came to the United States for college and has become a neurosurgeon. With precision and beauty, her words express her loyalty to traditional Africa and her effort to sustain her heritage in a very different world.

This book is written, not in Maraire’s voice, but that of her mother, Shiri, known traditionally as “Amai Zenzele” (the mother of Zenzele). Shiri is an impressive woman, no flat character naming specific traditions which must be observed. Instead, she is a woman who has lived a full life and is aware of aware of its frequent contradictions. She herself embodies both the old and the new. Growing up in a traditional village, she now lives in a city as the educated, well-traveled wife of a successful lawyer. Regular return visits to her village are part of how she balances her own life. She urges her daughter to work out her own version of living between”the old and new, urban and rural.” Sharing the stories of how she has developed her own balance is part of her responsibility as a mother.

Respecting and being loyal to her African roots is a major value that Shiri seeks to instill in
READ MORE: http://wp.me/p24OK2-1do
  mdbrady | Sep 13, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
J. Nozipo Maraireprimary authorall editionscalculated
Coscarelli, AlbertoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This novel is dedicated to the memory of my father, the late Dr. Nkosana Arthur Maraire, whose love, laughter, and lore kindled my spirit and gave me the courage to pursue my dreams.
This novel is dedicated to the memory of my father,
the late Dr. Nkosana Arthur Mataire,
whose love, laughter, and lore kindles my spirit
and gave me the courage to pursue my dreams.
First words
Today is the first day of winter, I believe.
If we could only learn from nature; it is our classroom. The trees bear fruit; the fruit contains seed; the flower bears the pollen. The earth regenerates itself; it sows, then reaps. We must develop a cultural ecosystem--some eternal cycle of African regeneration--planting our roots firmly, spreading and growing as the tubers and rhizomes, deep in the earth and sowing our children (the fruits) the seeds to reap another harvest. Each time one of us, like Mukoma Byron, is lost to the West, it is worse than losing a fruit; we also lose the seeds therein.
He so strongly believed that education was the key to our freedom.
He dares to change reality because for him the present construct is simply the realization of someone else’s vision.
I could not forsake our determination to expose you to our culture. If in the end you rejected it, that was fine, but we had fulfilled our responsibility as African parents; the rest was up to you.
Freedom is something you all take for granted.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385318227, Paperback)

Written as a letter from a Zimbabwean mother to her daughter, a student at Harvard, J. Nozipo Maraire evokes the moving story of a mother reaching out to her daughter to share the lessons life has taught her and bring the two closer than ever before. Interweaving history and memories, disappointments and dreams, Zenzele tells the tales of Zimbabwe's struggle for independence and the men and women who shaped it: Zenzele's father, an outspoken activist lawyer; her aunt, a schoolteacher by day and secret guerrilla fighter by night; and her cousin, a maid and a spy.

Rich with insight, history, and philosophy, Zenzele is a powerful and compelling story that is both revolutionary and revelatory--the story of one life that poignantly speaks of all lives.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:48 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A collection of letters from an African mother to her daughter in America, urging her to remember her roots. The mother, who is from Zimbabwe, describes the country's customs, her generation's struggle for independence, their hopes and disappointments, and the current clash between proponents of the traditionalist way and the European way. The mother bemoans that so many young Africans do not come home after their studies, but remain abroad.… (more)

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