Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 3,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

Dambudzu-marechera

If Dambudzo Marechera were still alive, he’d have been celebrating his 63rd birthday today.

The Zimbabwean author, best known for the experimental fiction titled The House of Hunger, is to African literature what Fela Kuti is to African music.

Marechera was born in in Rusape, Zimbabwe on June 4 1952 and lived a troubled and enigmatic life.

Marechera was something out of the ordinary in an African literary scene where cultural conservativeness was the norm. He once said of himself: “I think I am the doppelganger whom, until I appeared, African literature had not yet met.” He was a social misfit and even earned a reputation for being something of a madman. Somehow, he channeled this outsideness into some of the best fiction ever written in African literature.

The are 6 books in his repertoire—The House of HungerBlack SunlightMindblast or The Definitive BuddyThe Black InsiderCemetery of Mind, and Scrapiron Blues—the last three of which were published posthumously.

Marechera was not well-liked in his day. Everyone from Wole Soyinka to Ama Ata Aidoo have had something to say about Marechera. And they have not always been nice things.

But today, Marechera is an icon for experimental fiction and cultural rebellion in African literature.

Sadly, he met an untimely death in 1987 at the age of 35—something to do with AIDS-related illness. What a loss!

Let’s raise our glasses to the life and legacy of a man whose genius and enigma continues to inspire us.

Marechera Quotes:

1. “If you are a writer for a specific race or a specific nation, then f**k you.”

2.”I think I am the doppelganger whom, until I appeared, African literature had not yet met.”

3. “I am against everything. Against war and those against war.”

4. “To write as though only one kind of reality subsists in the world is to act a mentally retarded mime for a mentally deficient audience.”

5. “Life is a series of minor explosions whose echo, fading away, settles comfortably at the back of our minds.”

6. “I dont hate being black, I am just tired of saying its beautiful.”

7. “For a black writer the English language is very racist; you have to have harrowing fights and hair-rising panga duels with the language before you can make it do all that you want it to do.”

Tags: , , ,

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

One Response to “Happy Birthday, Dambudzo Marechera!” Subscribe

  1. Davis Oldham 2015/06/04 at 21:56 #

    “I got my things and left.” One of the great opening lines in literature.

Leave a Reply

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

A Kenyan Tank Engine Joins The Hit Children’s TV Show Thomas & Friends

nintchdbpict000360191926

Thomas the Tank Engine is the fictional character in Reverent Wilbert Awdry’s The Railway Series about steam locomotives. Thomas who […]

The Fall of the Gods | Chapter 6: Ise | by Anthony Azekwoh | #TFOG

anthony-Azekwoh-fall-of-the-gods-1-e1502690904876

Ebe onye dara ka chi ya kwaturu ya. Where one falls is where his god pushed him down. *** Emeka […]

Our Favorite Sci-Fi Filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu Publishes a Children’s Book

wanuri kahiu wooden camel 2

For those of you who are desperately and constantly in search of African children’s books, Wanuri Kahiu’s recent collaboration with […]

Akwaeke Emezi and Uzodinma Had a Moment

Screen Shot 2017-10-06 at 5.14.25 PM

Akwaeke Emezi is, in more ways than one, the writer we all want to be. Her debut novel is still […]

An Ode to Depression | Victor Enite Abu

14395331431_1727aab52d_o

Some mornings, getting out of bed feels like carrying ten bags of cement. Other mornings, you float through space, watching […]

The Brittle Paper Award for Essays/Think Pieces: Meet the Nominees

billy kahora

To mark our seventh anniversary on August 1, 2017, we announced the inaugural Brittle Paper Literary Awards, to recognize the finest, original pieces of […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.