The Guinea Fowl Girl

A colonial childhood Southern Rhodesia 1939-1958

Val Sherwell



Val Sherwell’s memoir is set in the 1940s and 1950s, long before the independence of Zimbabwe from Britain, when it was still known as Rhodesia. The title derives from the formative years she spent at the Guinea Fowl School outside Gwelo (Gweru), in the Rhodesian bush. Sherwell recalls her days at the Bulawayo convent as a boarder, and happier days at the Guinea Fowl School. She explores the disintegration of her family life, due to the excessive behaviour of her father (a magistrate and local governor), and how everything changed for her, her mother and younger brother.


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Val Sherwell was born in 1939 in the city of Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia as Zimbabwe was known then.