The Family Connection: White Expatriate Memoirs of Zimbabwe
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One of the most striking phenomena of Zimbabwean literature since the 1990s has been the boom in white memoirs. Often written from abroad, these texts respond to the hostile political climate of the land reforms by insisting upon their authors’ right to speak as national subjects. This article studies four memoirs by the two most famous exponents of the genre, Alexandra Fuller and Peter Godwin. It argues that their texts negotiate a contested sense of belonging, challenged by their own doubts and expatriate position as well as by government exclusion. Outweighing such concerns, however, are the authors’ continued family connections to the continent they have left behind. Their parents and siblings are used to insist upon the right of Fuller and Godwin, and with them whites more generally, to call Africa home.