HOPE DEFERRED: NARRATIVES OF ZIMBABWEAN LIVES

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Hope Deferred might be the most important publication to have come out of Zimbabwe in the past thirty years.
—Alexandra Fuller, Harper's

The fifth volume in the Voice of Witness series presents the narratives of Zimbabweans whose lives have been affected by the country’s political, economic, and human rights crises. This book asks the question: How did a country with so much promise—a stellar education system, a growing middle class of professionals, a sophisticated economic infrastructure, a liberal constitution, and an independent judiciary—go so wrong?

In their own words, they recount their experiences of losing their homes, land, livelihoods, and families as a direct result of political violence. They describe being tortured in detention, firebombed at home, or beaten up or raped to "punish" votes for the opposition. Those living abroad in exile or forced to flee to neighboring countries recount their escapes, of cutting through fences, swimming across crocodile-infested rivers, and entrusting themselves to human smugglers. This book includes Zimbabweans of every age, class and political conviction, from farm laborers to academics, from artists and opposition leaders to ordinary Zimbabweans: men and women simply trying to survive as a once thriving nation heads for collapse.

To read an excerpt of this book, click here.

Praise for the Voice of Witness series:

“These books are amazing … beautifully produced, with incredible editing and literary sensibility. Voice of Witness has done a better job than I’ve seen anybody do with having people tell their stories in a way that really engages you.”
—Rachel Maddow

“The series does not so much weave a tapestry from different experiences as braid a rope, a lifeline by which we might haul ourselves into a less ignorant, more actively compassionate future. In them, the specific illuminates the general, destroying preconceptions, stereotypes, and cop-out responses along the way.”
—Richard Vernon, Sojourners Magazine

“In a time when history is told in cheap television re-enactments, if at all, and personal tragedy is gobbled up in rapidly digestible magazine photos and reality shows, this project goes against the grain.”
—Guardian UK

Voice of Witness is a non-profit organization that uses oral history to illuminate contemporary human rights crises in the U.S. and around the world. Founded by author Dave Eggers and physician/human rights scholar Lola Vollen, Voice of Witness publishes a book series that depicts human rights injustices through the stories of the men and women who experience them. The Voice of Witness Education Program brings these stories, and the issues they reflect, into high schools and impacted communities through oral history-based curricula and holistic educator support.