Tears of the Dead

The Social Biography of an African family

Richard Werbner


The book is out of print.


Illuminating 100 years of family history in Western Zimbabwe, from the colonial period to the present, this social biography is the first account of its kind for southern Africa. At the heart of the book are the life histories of several generations of Kalanga men and women in a single extended family. Together they chronicle the family's endurance and empowerment in the face of large scale eviction, displacement from home, the threat of imposed resettlement, guerrilla war, and near starvation in a food blockade.


The great strength of Tears of the Dead is its close and compelling picture of how the world looks to those at the grass roots - even if this can be disturbing to liberal academics. - Kate Crehan, American Anthropologist


Richard Werbner is an American anthropologist who specializes in the Zimbabwe and Botswana region, including ritual, personal and historical narrative, politics, law, regional analysis. He has taught at the University of Manchester since 1961.