A Tragedy of Lives

Women in Prison in Zimbabwe

Chiedza Musengezi & Irene Staunton



A collection of first-hand stories, based on interviews with former female prisoners, conducted by Zimbabwe Women's Writers. Each story is highly personal and particular. As a body, they document that women who find themselves in prison are often driven by circumstances into a situation where the emotional or material poverty of their lives makes breaking the law the only option. They illustrate how once in prison, women are subjected to punitive or demeaning action; and not infrequently, are regarded as pariahs by their families and friends, and society at large.


A Tragedy of Lives does a wonderful job of allowing outsiders into the lives of female prisoners. - Karoline Kemp, Pambazuka


Chiedza Musengezi is a founding member of the Zimbabwe Women's Writers (ZWW), and a former director of the organisation.

Irene Staunton is an editor and publisher at Weaver Press. She held the same role at Baobab Books.