In a series of fictional narratives, Phiri paints evocative, and dark pictures of women such as Chido and Nhamo, who share one condition – desperation – that drives them to the fateful decision. Phiri tells us in her preface to the book that while operating as a freedom fighter during Zimbabwe’s struggle for independence, her life was saved by a group of prostitutes who she never had the chance to thank. Desperate is her tribute to them and a plea to the world to think about how it treats women and how this treatment can push them down this desperate path.


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Virginia Phiri was born in Bulawayo, where she also grew up. She works and lives in Harare now. An accountant by profession, she is also an expert on African orchids, especially the Zimbabwean varieties.