A documentary film featured on Aljazeera captures the day-to-day life of Zimbabwean novelist Petina Gappah in Harare, Zimbabwe.
The film was made by renown filmmaker Brian Tilley. Gappah opens the film with a lovely declaration of what Zimbabwe means to her.
My Zimbabwe is greatly misunderstood
My Zimbabwe is full of hope, is full of broken, sad people, but is also full of happy, industrious, resilient people.
My Zimbabwe is a Zimbabwe of Stories, and those are the stories I want to tell
My Zimbabwe is the source of my inspiration.
My Zimbabwe is books.
Then she talks about her writing, focusing on her latest book Out of Darkness, a Shinning Light. The film reveals quite a bit about Gappah’s journey as a writer. Apparently, when she read Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions while she was in law school, she realized, for the first time, that a black Zimbabwean woman could write a book in English. That experience validated the dream she’d always had of becoming a writer.
With the camera trailing Gappah, we get to see her in her everyday element. She takes a work call, during which she talks international trade with very important people. She goes to the market in Mbare Township to buy apples and pineapple. She stops by a used book store on Rotten Row to pick up some rare books. Her next stop is the theatre where she attends the table read of her play about Dambudzo Marechera. She also visits Harare city library, which she says made her fall in love with books as a child.
At the end of the film, Gappah is hosting friends to an evening hangout full of music, laughter, and dancing. The film is a heartwarming depiction of a writer being herself and loving every minute of it. Go here to watch!