From: My Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean writer Petina Gappah: Out of Darkness

Trying to tell Zimbabwe’s story as it has never been told before; meet Petina Gappah, who writes about her country’s hardships and struggles for change.

“I am Petina Gappah. I write about what it means to be Zimbabwean in recent times.”

Petina discovered books when her family moved from the townships to the suburbs of Harare when she was nine years old, and she became obsessed. “I used to read and walk at the same time, and once almost got knocked over by a car,” she says. Now an international trade lawyer and author, she has achieved success in both these roles. As a writer, she wants to flip the script and tell the story of Africa from the African perspective.

“I’ve written as long as I’ve read and will keep writing about this city and country.” Her passion for her work remains strong as she writes about Zimbabwe’s failings and injustices in the hope that in the face of darkness, change can be achieved.

Petina is plugged into the intellectual undercurrent in her city, is busy with a new play in rehearsal, and is involved in an ongoing project to keep Harare’s central library functioning and relevant. This film follows her busy schedule as she cuts across Harare’s different layers – shopping at vegetable hawkers, visiting a craft fair, and meeting up with friends and colleagues who are musicians, educators, writers, and civil servants. She also discusses her new novel and speaks with enthusiasm about life and the challenges and rewards of being a Zimbabwean today.