By Sarah Nyengerai
Motivated by the need to create a space in Harare for women to engage socially and intellectually, Fully Booked Book Club was formed in 2014 by six friends.
Five years later, Fully Booked is still going strong with a membership of twelve women who meet once a month and take turns to host each meeting. The group’s main focus is literature by African women authors for two key reasons: African women writers are not celebrated as much as their male counterparts; we also felt it was important for us, as Africans to get to know more of our own writers.
Recently the book club read Township Girls – The Cross over Generation, the journey of thirty-one Zimbabwean women who share their cross-over experiences of growing up in colonial Rhodesia and transitioning to black rule in Zimbabwe.
Written in the first person narrative, readers are taken through stories of fond childhood memories, coming of age discoveries and heartwarming tributes to their parents whose foresight, perseverance and sacrifice made them the women they are today. As they share their experiences, the writers impart wisdom, this comes as no surprise, as it is in-line with the old-age African tradition of knowledge-sharing through storytelling. The insightful and thought-provoking nuggets include:
- What footprint will you leave behind in your family, community, profession or the world at large?
- Hopefully, one day, when those who are still in their teens have their own children, they will go back to the beautiful values which make us Zimbabwean. Respect for our elders, respect for self and respect for the environment.
- As a woman, you must strive for independence – have your own career, income, mind, and respect yourself.
- There are many paths to success – focus on yours and be open to what life has to teach you.
- Embrace your idiosyncrasies and enjoy your journey, only you have a deep understanding of where you are now and where you want to be.
- “Knowing is not enough, we must apply; willing is not enough, we must do.
Despite the euphoria of happy childhoods, it cannot be overlooked that the pre-transitional period occurred during a volatile period which brought with it a unique set of complications. Be that as it may, the diverse experiences recounted in Township Girls will undeniably inspire readers to document their own stories.
Township Girls – The Cross over Generation is available on Weaver Press and Amazon.