The hairdresser of Harare by Tendai Huchu
The hairdresser of Harare is a story about. .. ..well a hairdresser in a hair salon in Harare, Zimbabwe; but not only that, it is also a story that navigates the socio-economic and political dynamics of Zimbabwe set in the hyper-inflatory era of 2008.
It’s strange reading this book 10 years later from when it’s set and seeing how things have changed and yet stayed the same.
The Hairdresser of Harare is peppered with colourful characters whom you experience from the perspective of the main character Vimbai who reigns like a queen in MaKhumalo’s Hair Salon, until a position for a new hair dresser opens up and Dumi enters the picture then everything gets tangled up into an unlikely love story……..
I loved how the book captures the duplicitous nature of society having one set of standards other people expected to live up to and another for yourself, mixed together with the judgement, through whose glasses we peer at the world…….
Chapters in the book end with a predictive statement which is a highlight of what comes next, at first I found it interesting but after a couple of chapters; it stops being cute as it felt at times like a spoiler; the way it forced me to start anticipating the story, aspects of it wound up disappointing compared to how I imagined would unfold, and how it took away the element of surprise as you already have been primed to see it coming and you justing wait for the other shoe to drop……
The book is easy to read although it has a few colloquial phrases and slang words in the Shona language which are relatable to Zimbabweans but jarring for non-Shona readers and without a glossary at the end, well you simply have to figure out from the context of the italicized words that this is probably a greeting or better yet make friends with someone who speaks the language……. I can be your friend ðŸ˜‚ ðŸ˜‰