Snapshots of life in Zimbabwe by the country's greatest novelist, who looks at its everyday realities - AIDS, drought and economic hardship - with an unflinching eye but, thanks to his wry sense of humour, does not succumb to despair.
Throughout southern Africa, shebeens are where jokes are born, news is embellished and exchanged. They are unique vantage points where men go after a day's work, both to escape from the troubled world around them and to observe and comment on it. In Shebeen Tales, Zimbabwe's leading author offers a view of his country not from the privileged and insulated perspective of a well-heeled visitor, but that of the ordinary person who, with the help of dry wit and illegal beer, pokes fun at the rich and mighty. Struggling against madcap motorists, pompous bureaucrats and the other woes of life in the city, the man in the shebeen sees modern Africa as it really is, not as press releases or tourist brochures would have us believe. Hove looks straight in the eye of a society suffering from AIDS, drought and economic hardship, but does not succumb to despair. With a wry sense of humour, he celebrates a people who live life to the full, laugh and sing, tell tall tales – whatever is thrown at them. In new pieces written for this edition, he discusses the vexed issue of homosexuality in Zimbabwe and also casts an amused eye at President Mugabe's wedding.