The Hairdresser of Harare

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When a young, confident man named Dumi walks into the salon where Vimbai works and applies for an open position, at first she is not threatened. Surely his overbearing style and charm will wear off and she will once again be the most popular and best-paid hairdresser in the business.

Yet Dumi’s star does not dim, and she eventually pushes down her jealousy and tries to form a friendship with him. As they grow closer, Vimbai and Dumi construct different visions for their future together — a future which will be torn apart by the revelation of a desperately held secret.

The Hairdresser of Harare brings readers into the everyday bustle of Harare, from political tensions to bombastic preachers and government corruption.

“There was a time that I was reputed to be the best hairdresser in Harare, which meant the best in the whole country. Amai Ndoro was the fussiest customer to ever grace a salon and she would not let any ordinary kiya-kiya touch her hair. Having sampled all the salons in Harare — and rejected them all — she settled on ours. The fussiest customer was also the largest motor mouth and gossip-monger. Once she was our client, we never needed to advertise again, as long as we kept her happy. That was my job and why Mrs Khumalo paid me the highest wage.”

Tendai Huchu’s novels include The Hairdresser of Harare and The Maestro, The Magistrate & The Mathematician. Born in Zimbabwe, he now lives in Scotland, where he works as a podiatrist.

Published: 2010
Length: 189 pages
Set in: Harare, Zimbabwe