From debut Zimbabwean writer Tsitsi Mapepa comes the saga of the four Taha sisters, and the indomitable matriarch who carried her daughters—and her community—through times of drought and violence in their Harare neighborhood.
From the red soil of her garden in Southgate 1, a crowded suburb of Harare, Nyeredzi watches the world. She knows not to venture beyond the grasses that fence them off from the bush, where the city’s violent criminals and young lovers claim the night. But on this red soil, she is sovereign. It is here where she learns how to kill snakes, how to fight off a man, and how to take what she is due. It is here where Nyeredzi and her three older sisters are raised, and where they will each find a different destiny.
Decades prior, a young woman abandons a position of great power to seek justice in the second Chimurenga War, only to return to find her world in shambles. So Zuva Mutongi sets off to build a world of her own, raising four daughters—Nyeredzi, Hannah, Abigail, and Ruth—and defending them from the evils beyond their small Harare home. But when a letter from her long-estranged brother calls her back to a past life, Zuva must reconcile with her duty and heal the broken community she left behind.
Tsitsi Mapepa’s vibrant debut is the history of a new Zimbabwe, with resilient women and men who raised a nation from its ashes. It is the chronicle of an L-shaped house, long awaited and much beloved, and the guests, welcome and unwelcome, who cross its threshold. It is the coming-of-age of four sisters, who will discover the secrets of womanhood on the volatile streets of Harare. But above all, it is a love song to one woman—a soldier, healer, chief, and mother—whose fierce devotion to her people is a testament to the bonds of blood that bind us all.