Sign and Taboo

Perspectives on the Poetic Fiction of Yvonne Vera

Robert Muponde



Yvonne Vera's Nehanda (1993) signaled the presence of new and remarkable writing in Zimbabwe, and her four subsequent novels confirmed her stature as one of the most important African novelists of the 1990s. This work brings together critics from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Britain, the Caribbean, and the United States, demonstrating through a diversity of approaches the complex beauty of Vera's work. It shows how Vera expanded the formal possibilities of the African novel by placing the experiences of women at the center of literature, and in so doing, retold and recreated Zimbabwe's history and imaginative life.

Review important, well-researched and thoughtful account of Vera's works by a group of critics from literary, historical, anthropological and political backgrounds...this dense collection of essays highlights the essential relationship between the African past, the period after independence and the plight of women in Mugabe's Zimbabwe. - Sekai Nzenza


Robert Muponde is Professor of English in the School of Languages, Literature and Media Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.