Van Aggelen African Literary Agency

Sweet Medicine


Author: Panashe Chigumadzi

Sweet Medicine takes place in Harare at the height of Zimbabwe’s economic woes in 2008. Tsitsi, a young woman, raised by her strict, devout Catholic mother, believes that hard work, prayer, and an education will ensure a prosperous and happy future.

She does well at her mission boarding school and goes on to obtain a scholarship to attend university, but the change in the economic situation in Zimbabwe destroys the old system where hard work and a degree guaranteed a good life. Out of university, Tsitsi finds herself in a position much lower than she had set her sights on, working as a clerk in the office of the local politician, Zvobgo. With a salary that barely provides her a means to survive, she finds herself increasingly compromising her Christian values to negotiate ways to get ahead.

Sweet Medicine is a thorough and evocative attempt at grappling with a variety of important issues in the postcolonial context: tradition and modernity; feminism and patriarchy; spiritual and political freedoms and responsibilities; poverty and desperation; and wealth and abundance.

“ It’s a story set in Zimbabwe about a young woman, Tsitsi, who looks for romantic and economic security through other-worldly means. Ultimately, I think it’s about agency – in the bedroom, in the workplace, in the family and many of the spheres we have to navigate as people, as women, as African women.” – PANASHE CHIGUMADZI about her debut

Rights: rights available
Publisher: JACANA Media/ BLACK BIRD imprint, South Africa
Publishing date: October 2015