22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Tendai Huchu

Portrait Tendai Huchu
©Hartwig Klappert

Tendai Huchu was born in 1982 in Bindura, Zimbabwe. He studied Mining Engineering at the University of Harare and dropped out in the middle of the first semester, and from there had various jobs, including working in a casino. His writing career began in 2010.

His début novel »The Hairdresser of Harare« (2010) is about Vimbai and Dumisani. Vimbai is a hairdresser in Mrs Khumalo’s salon, and is one of her most popular employees. Her role changes dramatically when her new colleague Dumisani appears. She loses her best customers to Dumisani, and then the new boy moves in with her. Tendai Huchu uses the microcosm of the hairdresser’s salon to present a precise and uncompromising vision of life in contemporary Zimbabwe. The problems of this poverty-stricken nation – political corruption, economic decline and widespread social neglect – are always present in his fiction. He carefully observes and then writes in a refreshing style about how it feels to be young and to live in Harare. He enters the world of Vimbai and Dumisani and watches as old prejudices collide with their liberal ideas about life, and in so doing sketches a remarkable picture of liberalism, tolerance and the cost of friendship. »The Hairdresser of Harare« is a book about homosexuality, which has been a punishable offence in Zimbabwe since 2006 under the laws against »sexual abnormalities«. The book is a knowledgeable, committed plea for tolerance and equality in a land which to this day suffers under the rule of Robert Mugabe. Tendai Huchu has succeeded in writing a »funny, clever début« (»FAZ«) which tells the fascinating story of young people looking for their true place in life.

Tendai Huchu’s second novel, »An Untimely Love« (2010) begins with the intriguing question: what happens when two suicide bombers meet and fall in love with each other on the day planned for their attacks? Told from the perspective of the terrorist Khaled Patel, Tendai Huchu has written a story about love occurring at an extremely inconvenient time. Khaled’s encounter with the tough Smokey turns his world upside down and both must decide for or against love. The writer has once again succeeded in bringing his characters to vibrant life and, in extremely difficult conditions, leads them through the steps of falling in love.

It was his first novel »The Hairdresser of Harare« that won Tendai Huchu international acclaim. Today he lives and works in Edinburgh as an author and podiatrist.

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