The Hairdresser Of Harare by Tendai Huchu
Publisher: Weaver Press Zimbabwe

“There are people who can get anything they want through the strength of their personality. It’s a combination of having the right type of education and an upbringing that taught you how to navigate society’s mores.”


The Hairdresser of Harare is the story of Vimbai, a young single mother estranged from her family, her struggles, her life as a hairdresser. Vimbai is the best hairdresser in Harare until Dumisani, an equally good hairdresser arrives at Mrs Khumalo’s Salon and poses a threat to her “reign as champion”. Despite her initial resistance, they end up becoming good friends, the drama unfolds and the relationship ends in a rather brutal manner.   

Set in Zimbabwe, this book describes the state of the country; the level of corruption, unemployment, prejudice, shortage of basic amenities under Robert Mugabe’s government and it sheds more light on what life really is like in Zimbabwe and everyday issues. It also talks about a major controversial topic in Africa- Homosexuality which we’d rather not talk about.  

Plot-wise, it is quite predictable as I saw the plot-twist coming, right from the start and her reaction to it, in my opinion was rather silly and extreme.   The latter part of the book is rushed and the end too abrupt it took away the excitement I had built from the beginning.  

I like that it is descriptive, easy to read and enjoyable. It portrays the real African hairdressing salon experience with all the drama, gossip and every other thing that goes on in a typical hairdressing salon, it felt like I was watching a Nollywood movie.

It’s a good debut, I totally enjoyed reading it and I look forward to reading other books by the author.