Tendai Huchu is the author of the novels The Hairdresser of Harare and The Maestro, the Magistrate and the Mathematician. He was born in Zimbabwe and now lives in Scotland.
From his Q & A with Deborah Kalb:
Q: How did you come up with the main characters in The Hairdresser of Harare, Vimbai and Dumi, and why did you decide to set part of the book in a hair salon?--Marshal Zeringue
A: Writing the book was a spontaneous affair. It started with Vimbai’s voice, the first line: “I knew there was something not quite right about Dumisani the very first time I ever laid eyes on him,” and I was out of the gate after that…
I decided to use the salon as a microcosm of Zimbabwean society, a place where people from all walks of life can meet and interact organically without me needing to orchestrate those encounters.
Q: What do you think the book says about tolerance and intolerance in Zimbabwe?
A: I’ve discovered in the last couple of years that what the author intends of the work and what the reader deciphers are two very different things.
I never set out to write a polemic for or against one thing or the other. Instead, if the book demonstrates tolerance/intolerance in its characters, this is merely a reflection of the situation in that simulation. I think most societies fluctuate on who/what they will...[read on]