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Tsitsi Dangarembga is a writer and filmmaker whose work centers the African experience, with a focus on Zimbabwe. Her 2020 Booker Prize–shortlisted novel This Mournable Body (Faber & Faber, 2020) completes her Tambudzai Trilogy, which traces the life of a rural girl from her childhood in colonial Zimbabwe to her adulthood in a country repressed by political elites. Dangarembga lives and works in Zimbabwe, where she is the founding director of the Institute of Creative Arts for Progress in Africa (ICAPA) Trust.
Interrogating the ongoing repression and oppression in her home country—which includes torture, abduction, rampant corruption, and vote manipulation in a nation of largely immiserated, acquiescent citizens—Dangarembga’s research explores answers to the question, “What kind of people behave like that?” This question applies not only to power elites but also to enablers of systematic national oppression and to those who allow themselves to be oppressed. Her work is premised on the assumption that when a given population generates people who wield power destructively on an ongoing basis, the source of this tendency lies within the construct of that population.
An alumna of Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge, Dangarembga was a writer in residence at Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study in 2021. She won the PEN Award for Freedom of Expression, the PEN Pinter Prize, and the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in 2021 and a Donald Windham-Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prize in 2022.
Are Great Writers Forged by Repressive Regimes or Crushed by Them? (Economist, 1/3/23)
Radcliffe Fellow Tsitsi Dangarembga Discusses the Consequences of Colonialism on Zimbabweans at Virtual Event (Harvard Crimson, 10/20/22)