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hairdresser

I got this book from my book club on twitter. Just like the title suggests, this book tells a tale of a hairdresser from Harare, Zimbabwe. Written by Tendai Huchu, and published in 2010, it centers around not just hairdressing but also the political and economical society of Zimbabwe.

Be warned, spoiler alert ahead.

Vimbai, our narrator is a young single mother who works as a hairdresser in a popular salon in Harare. She is the ‘Queen Bee’ of the salon, that is until Dumi walks in. Dumi is not just handsome and charming, he is a perfect example of a gentleman, very skilled at his work and seemed to be a better hairdresser than Vimbai, much to her disgust. However her hatred for him subsided when she allowed him to live with her when he had nowhere to stay. They both became friends and as expected, Vimbai started to develop feelings for him. However, there seemed to be some mystery surrounding him. At his brother’s wedding, he introduced her as his girlfriend and this got Vimbai confused as they hadn’t defined their relationship. Dumi’s family fell in love with her instantly and they helped get her own salon as a birthday gift. After a while, Vimbai noticed certain changes in Dumi and the fear that he might be seeing another woman made her search his room while he was away one weekend. However she wasn’t prepared for she found. The guy she was in love with apparently was a homosexual. Out of shock and betrayal, she did something drastic which she regretted. She informed the wife of his lover who then sent men to kill him so as to silence him just to save her reputation. Dumi however survives and eventually fled the country due to the threat to his life.

This book was written in first-person narrative, which I liked. There was also an element of surprise as the narrator kept saying things like, “If I had known what was to come…..”, “I shall regret the next thing I did…..”, making the reader eager to find out what happened next. However one thing I don’t understand is why it took so long for Vimbai to find out Dumi was gay. I mean there were some signs which made me guess he was, way before the end of the story. It was highly predictable which I find unamusing. Regardless, this book is a good an easy read.

~”Men don’t take rejection so well. It’s like they’re raised expecting that they can have whatever they want”- The hairdresser of Harare, Tendai Huchu ~

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