Original Research

Black writers’ Shona novels of the liberation war in Zimbabwe: an art that tells the truth of its day

D.E. Mutasa, W.L. Chigidi
Literator | Vol 31, No 2 | a47 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v31i2.47 | © 2010 D.E. Mutasa, W.L. Chigidi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 July 2010 | Published: 13 July 2010

About the author(s)

D.E. Mutasa, Department of African Languages, University of South Africa, South Africa
W.L. Chigidi, Department of African Languages and Culture, Midlands State University, Zimbabwe

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Over the years Shona fiction that portrays Zimbabwe’s liberation war has been a subject of severe criticism because of its tendency to falsify and distort history. This article attempts to provide answers to the question of why authors of Shona war fiction tended to romanticise the war of liberation. In pursuance of this objective this article looks at circumstances and conditions that prevailed at the time that most of the Shona stories about Zimbabwe’s liberation war were written. These stories were published during the first decade of Zimbabwe’s independence and it is possible to look at this time and come up with a set of interdependent cultural, economic, political and ideological conditions that helped to shape writers’ perspectives on the war. The article argues that the conditions of artistic freedom that interfaced with internalised fear, the euphoria and celebration, the dominant ideology of the time, as well as the situation of competition were responsible for shaping the consciousness of the war fiction writers. In this article views expressed in interviews by some of the writers of Shona war fiction are taken into consideration. All interviews with authors referred to in the article were carried out by the researcher.


Artistic Freedom; Euphoria And Celebration; Liberation War Novels; Self-Censorship; Shona War Fiction


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