Brilliance of Hope [2]

Author:

Samantha Rumbidzai Vazhure

Title:

Brilliance of Hope [2]

Publisher:

Carnelian Heart

Nataka Books Reviews: 

Brilliance of Hope [2]

The collection creates a rich mosaic of short stories in brilliant prose and poetic form. Brilliance of Hope carves a significant niche for itself, more so, for pioneering a trailblazing collaborative approach through bringing together underrepresented voices whose stories are certainly lofty in charting the migrant experience. What should be lauded is how Samantha Vazhure (the anthology’s editor) has accorded an enabling platform to nascent voices whose sublime excellence shines throughout the myriad stories and is therefore a harbinger of greater things to come.

-- Review by Andrew Chatora, author of 'Diaspora Dreams' published on 1st April 2021

Nataka Books Full Review: 

Brilliance of Hope [2]

Book review: Brilliance of Hope offers a – ‘‘Where the rains began to beat us” moment.


Brilliance of Hope, a recent literary offering by a motley of Zimbabwean writers, joins a burgeoning body of scholarship on Zimbabwe and her diaspora populations dispersed all over the world.


“We are like the man in the Igbo proverb who does not know where the rain began to beat him and so cannot say where he dried his body.”

–  Chinua Achebe


The collection creates a rich mosaic of short stories in brilliant prose and poetic form. Brilliance of Hope carves a significant niche for itself, more so, for pioneering a trailblazing collaborative approach through bringing together underrepresented voices whose stories are certainly lofty in charting the migrant experience. What should be lauded is how Samantha Vazhure (the anthology’s editor) has accorded an enabling platform to nascent voices whose sublime excellence shines throughout the myriad stories and is therefore a harbinger of greater things to come.


I found myself enthralled, teleported, and catapulted to dizzy heights by these talented voices, as I traversed with them from the ‘iron pyrite’ streets of Johannesburg South Africa, the rough and tumble of Cyprus to the nimble streets of London. Throughout my literary travails, a common theme punctuated the innumerable narratives, i.e., what does it mean to be far away from home, what are the trials and adversities of navigating the diaspora terrain particularly for first generation immigrants? This literary project marks an uncharted territory of creative output which worked out well through deploying numerous voices amplifying the diaspora experience and what happens in the aftermaths of dispersion.


Tales like Brilliance of Hope are relevant in enabling us to appreciate in Achebe’s words, ‘‘where the rains began to beat us in order to know how to effectively dry ourselves.’’ How can we as migrants scattered all over the world ever be able to make sense of our new lived culture in these foreign habitats? Will there ever be a homecoming of some sort as some of the stories or voices in this anthology yearn? Perhaps, the answer to this is aptly provided in the anthology editor’s short story, Tariro, a befitting denouement in which Samantha Vazhure seems to acknowledge through her story ‘‘that we are now living in a global village. Should we perhaps begin to feel at home wherever we are.’’ These are a plethora of some of the pertinent questions this anthology raises.


Some of the conspicuous stories to stand out for me were Tariro Ndoro’s La Duma 32/12 and Rudo Manyere’s Zadzisai, a prelude to her forthcoming novel. Tariro Ndoro’s Abishai was quite notable a story as was her dystopian gem Stasis. Ndoro expertly weaves her sublime craft in the latter through a dystopian lens which resonates with our postmodern world and the seemingly surreal events in this story were akin to acclaimed popular TV show, Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror. I was absolutely dazzled by the genius creativity imbued in this story as the protagonist Chiedza amplified the position of vulnerable black women in a futuristic South Africa.


The hallmark of the generality of the short stories which underlines their prowess lies in the multiplex fusion of cleverly infused/merged experimental narrative structure such as the beautiful prose and poetic style in An Ode to My Aching Heart by Ivainashe Ernest Nyamutsamba, the allegorical La Duma 32/12 and Tariro Ndoro’s expert narrator in Abishai. There is also the extensive use of soliloquies and turbulent stream of consciousness in Yours Truly I’m Gone by Nyamutsamba. The stories are a feast of manifold, captivating storylines presented through these unique narrative techniques tropes. And we do need these novel narrative techniques as a living testament to Zimbabwean literature’s enduring, soaring brand.


-- Review by Andrew Chatora, author of 'Diaspora Dreams' published on 1st April 2021