Sweet Medicine by Panashe Chigumadzi
About the author: In the genre of non-fiction, she is the founder and editor of Vanguard Magazine, an impressive black feminist platform for young black women coming of age in post-apartheid South Africa.
She is also a founding member of The Feminist Stokvel, a collective of 8 young black women in media and arts with the aim of addressing the social issues specific to young black women in South Africa.
As if she is not already amazing she also has experience within the media industry as a TV journalist at CNBC Africa and columnist for Forbes Woman Africa.
Young Panashe Chigumadzi, is a Zimbabwe born storyteller, raised in South Africa. Her interests have remained in the narratives of black women this far in her career as a writer.
About the novel: Published by Jacana in October 2015, “Sweet Medicine, the story of a woman who seeks economic and romantic security through ‘otherworldly’ means”.
My experience with this read was nothing short of a intriguing and incredibly easy for follow. More often than not I have found that storytellers who set their narratives in socioeconomic or sociopolitical contexts tend to use heavy language and long descriptions which can become confusing.
I do not remember having to reach for my dictionary too much, with the exception of some few Shona language phrases and words that were thrown around several times throughout some chapters. That is definitely something to watch out for considering no body bothered to add a glossary list for us non Shona speakers.
There are two main characters, both young black twenty something year old women navigating their way through life during the economic crisis of their country at the time. Their choices in they way they cheat their way to a comfortable life for themselves and their families back home. There are obviously similar but there seems to be a double standard when it comes to morality in their relations to men.
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