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Chenjerai Hove

Chenjerai Hove, (born Feb. 9, 1956, Mazvihwa, near Zvishavane, Southern Rhodesia [now in Zimbabwe]—died July 12, 2015, Stavanger, Nor.), Zimbabwean novelist, poet, and essayist who explored the lives of ordinary people in his homeland under British colonial rule and during Pres. Robert Mugabe’s postindependence regime. Hove was the son of a polygamous local chieftain. He was educated at Roman Catholic missionary schools, Gwelo Teachers’ College (1975–77), the University of South Africa (1980–83; through its external learning program), and the University of Zimbabwe (1984–85). Hove taught at rural schools in Zimbabwe and later at several universities abroad. He also served as an editor at Mambo Press and Zimbabwe Publishing House and was the inaugural president (1984–92) of the Zimbabwe Writers’ Union. After enduring several years of surveillance and harassment, Hove, a fierce public critic of Mugabe, fled Zimbabwe into exile in 2001. He eventually settled in Norway under the auspices of the International Cities of Refuge Network. Hove’s best-known work, the novel Bones (1988), followed a rural woman in colonial Rhodesia seeking to learn the fate of her son, who left the farm to join a band of liberation fighters. The novel won both the Zimbabwe Book Publishers Association Award for Literature (1988) and the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa (1989). His other novels include Shadows (1991), Ancestors (1996), and the Shona-language Masimba avanhu? (1986; “Is This the People’s Power?”). Among his poetry collections are Up in Arms (1982), Red Hills of Home (1985), Rainbows in the Dust (1998), and Blind Moon (2003). Hove also wrote a radio play, Sister, Sing Again Someday (1988), essay collections, and a memoir, Homeless Sweet Home (2011).

Melinda C. Shepherd

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