A History of Zimbabwe by Alois S. Mlambo (2014)
An unprecedented single volume coverage of the country from pre-colonial times to the present. Includes the San hunter-gather societies, British imperial rule and exploitation, the struggle for independence and the violent political and economic struggles that reign today. Especially geared toward students of Zimbabwean history but a good primer for anyone curious about the region.
Zenzele, A Letter for My Daughter by J. Nozipo Maraire (1997)
A richly textured novel of Zimbabwe, taking the form of a letter from a mother to her daughter, who will leave Africa for Harvard University. In spinning these tales, the ailing narrator recalls her life story, the history of Zimbabwe and the fight for independence. Each chapter is a lesson, warning Zenzele of the challenges ahead as a black African woman. Born in Harare in 1966, Maraire (a neurosurgeon who studied at Harvard, Columbia and Yale) came of age during Rhodesia’s struggle for independence. For this autobiographical work, she draws on the wisdom, folktales and stories told by her grandmother, mother and aunt.
Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood by Alexandra Fuller (2003)
A affecting and candid coming-of-age memoir set during the Rhodesian Civil War. Fuller’s parents moved from England to Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe) in the early 1970s. She’s a gifted writer with a remarkable voice, capturing the realities of an ugly war and its racism from a unique point of view.
Mukiwa, A White Boy in Africa by Peter Godwin (2003)
An unsentimental tale of coming-of-age in Rhodesia in the 1960s in three parts: boyhood, the war and post-independence. A participant on the losing side in the savage civil war, Godwin flees the country, returning after independence as a journalist and supporter of black Zimbabwe. Mukiwa provides a rare perspective on the consequences of colonialism.