[The JRB Daily] Panashe Chigumadzi reflects on Zimbabwe’s ‘coup that was not a coup’ in her new book, These Bones Will Rise Again

Panashe Chigumadzi’s new book, These Bones Will Rise Again, will be out from United Kingdom-based independent publisher The Indigo Press in June.

Chigumadzi says the book is ‘a reflection on Robert Mugabe’s ouster through the spirits of anti-colonial heroine Mbuya Nehanda and my late grandmother Mbuya Lilian Chigumadzi.’

These Bones Will Rise Again is the first publication from The Indigo Press’s Mood Indigo series of long-form essays, in which ‘leading writers reflect on the pressing social and political issues of our time’, and will be launched at this year’s Balham Literary Festival in London on 14 June

Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, who sits on The JRB Editorial Advisory Panel, is publishing director for Indigo Press, and These Bones Will Rise Again is her first acquisition for the publisher. 

‘The Mood Indigo series is born out of our desire to publish timely, informative and intimate essays on urgent issues of international importance—reflecting our overall goal of publishing work that is both local and global,’  she tells FMcM Associates. ‘I am delighted that circumstances transpired that mean our first book focuses on the dramatic recent changes in the country of my birth, written by an astonishing talent whose work I have long admired.’

Chigumadzi was born in Zimbabwe and raised in South Africa. Her debut novel Sweet Medicine (Blackbird Books, 2015) won the K Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award. She is the founding editor of Vanguard magazine, a platform for young black women coming of age in post-apartheid South Africa, and a Contributing Editor to The JRB.

These Bones Will Rise Again is Chigumadzi’s first book to be published in the UK.

About the book

I have come to realise that the answers we need won’t come from the places we usually search. Party-political responses cannot tell you enough about my people and what has brought us to this place. In search of those answers, I must cast my eyes from the heights of the Big Men who have created a history that does not know little people, let alone little women, except as cannon fodder.

What are the right questions to ask when seeking out the true spirit of a nation?

In November 2017 the people of Zimbabwe took to the streets in an unprecedented alliance with the military. Their goal, to restore the legacy of Chimurenga, the liberation struggle, and wrest their country back from over thirty years of Robert Mugabe’s rule.

In an essay that combines bold reportage, memoir and critical analysis, Zimbabwean novelist and journalist Panashe Chigumadzi reflects on the ‘coup that was not a coup’, the telling of history and manipulation of time and the ancestral spirits of two women—her own grandmother and Mbuya Nehanda, the grandmother of the nation.

These Bones Will Rise Again is the first publication in The Indigo Press’s Mood Indigo series, in which leading writers reflect on the pressing social and political issues of our time.

You write in order to change the world … James Baldwin

A leading writer of South Africa’s ‘born-free’ generation, Chigumadzi offers a critical analysis of the November 2017 ousting of Robert Mugabe, reflecting on Nehanda, the founding ancestral spirit of Zimbabwe’s revolution and radically reframing the cultural and political history of Zimbabwe to include the perspectives of workers, women and urban movements.

In a searing account that explores the heady post-independence days of the eighties, the economic downturn of the nineties, through to the effects of the land reform policies at the end of the century, Chigumadzi weaves together reflections on a nation’s founding spirit, an account of the loss of her own beloved grandmother, and of the thirty-seven years of Robert Mugabe’s rule.

Centred on the two-week crisis in which army generals took over the country but refused to declare a coup, join Chigumadzi to hear about when the people of Zimbabwe seemed to rise again, reclaiming their history.



4 thoughts on “[The JRB Daily] Panashe Chigumadzi reflects on Zimbabwe’s ‘coup that was not a coup’ in her new book, These Bones Will Rise Again”

  1. i not just ashamed that i gotta to release the book today i am sadden but i am glad that you doing extremely well with it and i promise to finally put my hands on this book not just the reviews but the whole book. I proud of you. Well done

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