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Andrew Chatora’s Literature award…a background

Harare Voices and Beyond explores without restraint, a multitude of topics including family feuds, money, identity, love, substance abuse, mental health, and politics, among others.



Mainstream media in Zimbabwe has announced that Andrew Chatora, the UK based Zimbabwean author of Diaspora Dreams, has won the 2024 Anthem Awards, Silver category, with his rabble-rousing third novel, Harare Voices and Beyond which was published by the Chicago based Kharis Publishing – an imprint of Kharis Media in February 2023.

Writing on his online X handle (formerly Twitter) a few days ago, Chatora said, “(I am )thrilled to share the news that my debut short story collection Inside Harare Alcatraz and Other Short Stories is published today, which incidentally is my birthday. I am equally excited to finally reveal I am an award winning author courtesy of my third book: Harare Voices and Beyondwhich has recently been awarded The 2024 Anthem Silver Award on Tuesday’s cocktail ceremony in New York Thank you to all those who read me and my esteemed Publisher: @KharisPublish.”

This hat trick is just deep and will surely shine a bright light on Zimbabwean Literature and particularly the city of Mutare, where Andrew Chatora grew up. Currently he writes from his base in Bicester, England, where he teaches English and Media Studies.

The winner in this category is for “any published book or other written work that aims to document or raise awareness for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. This can include fiction and non-fiction literature, history books, children’s story books, essays, op-eds, and more.”


In Chatora’s winning novel, a white Zimbabwean family; The Williams loses land in the Zimbabwe land reform and they are thrown into chaos and move from being previously well heeled and privileged white Rhodesians to being mere scarecrows, who are sometimes pitied by their former black employees. They have to go to downtown Harare and sometimes grovel to black people more like what you see in Nadine Gordimer’s July’s People. In Chatora’s novel, the empire is somehow deconstructed. The story is based on Robert Mugabe’s  post-independence Zimbabwe, exploring without restraint, a multitude of topics including family feuds, money, identity, love, substance abuse, mental health, and politic, among others.

This is a shocking glimpse into the lives of white Zimbabweans and their struggles in a country that is built on the corruption, part of which they entrenched before losing power by 1980. We see the ripple effect of the land reform affecting Julian, a young white Zimbabwean man who loses his father, wife and children. Harare Voices and Beyond tells the stories of the predator, the prey and everyone else in-between.

A sublime read. Chatora offers a vibrant new voice in African Literature.

This is, to my knowledge, the first fully fledged novel by a black Zimbabwean writer to look at the setbacks suffered by white folk during the Zimbabwe land reform. Andrew Chatora searches delicately for the place and scope of the white community in post independent Zimbabwe.  Being a pathfinder of sorts, many may find this novel either unsettling or satisfying, or both.

Many critical questions shall be asked, however. How do you write white people effectively when you are a black writer from Zimbabwe? Would that tantamount to speaking on behalf of the enemy? Would you be able to show that their loss is as a result of complex events within and beyond Zimbabwe? The author’s real test was in tactically navigating this very contentious terrain.

However, Chatora speaks clearly about this matter in his acceptance speech: ‘‘Much as I’ve been denigrated in some quarters as taking the side of whites, nothing could be further from the truth. It’s not about taking sides really.”

With my novel, Harare Voices and Beyond, I was attempting to fill in the missing link, the constant question on how it could have felt on the other side, the landed white community during the land reform,”


So much had happened to white people during the land reform. Now, this should not be conflated with I am anti-land reform as charged by some of my detractors. But, to reiterate, that is the essence of the writer. I will always defend my right to write without fear or favour on any contentious issues affecting our society.’’

In his debut novel of 2021 called Diaspora Dreams, which was a national Arts Award nominees in Zimbabwe, the main character, Kundai Mafirakureva, is following up on his teacher wife in England, Kay.Her pregnancy is now very advanced and Kundai has come to be with the beautiful Kay in her time of need, something far away from Chikwava’s man in Harare North.  Kundai does not know that he has in fact come to ‘school’ to learn about what women can do, sometimes, to their unsuspecting men when the survival instinct rises above love ties. When you are used to the many books that dwell on how men typically abuse women, then this book is something else, in terms of how it treats the losing black male psyche.

In his second novel, Where the Heart Is, Chatora comes out as one of the very few novelists from Zimbabwe to fully imagine the joys and hazards of a physical return home from the diaspora. A man moves from Zimbabwe to the UK, returns to Zimbabwe but finding it necessary to return to the UK, as the centre can no longer hold for him. It is a charmed book about going to and fro. Its place in African literature is lofty.

In his fourth work, which is a collection of short stories called  Inside Harare Alcatraz and other short stories Chatora temporarily quits the novel to give us this charmed confluence of the novella, the short story, the vignette, and the poetic essay.  A collection of shorter forms usually allows the artist to tell his story in tit bits and with more varied urgency than what a novel allows.

Amongst some of the leading celebrities honoured in this year’s 3rd Annual Anthem Awards in New York were notable luminaries such as Hollywood actors Matt Damon, and Kevin Bacon. Other conspicuous recipients of the Special Lifetime Achievement includes Misty Copeland, Aurora James and Leon Ford inter-alia. These are people who have distinguished themselves in different spheres of life and thus honoured for their diverse roles and contribution in the field of Arts and popular culture and it is this group that Zimbabwean, Andrew Chatora joins!


Author Biography

Andrew Chatora writes novels, short stories, literary essays and hails from Zimbabwe. His writing explores multifarious themes of belonging, identity politics, blackness, migration, multi-cultural relationships, citizenship and nationhood. He lives with his wife Priveledge and their two children in Bicester, England where he teaches English and Media Studies.

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