African Book Talk Series - 'House of Stone' by Novuyo Rosa Tshuma

House of Stone' by Novuyo Rosa Tshuma was the fourth book in our African book talk series. With this series, we hope to offer a platform where African writers can engage a global audience, offering not just their work, but exciting perspectives on how personal, political, and cultural experiences drive their storytelling.

February 10, 2021

Our fourth book in this series was House of Stone' by Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, which is is a story about the chronic turmoil of modern Zimbabwe whereby Abednego and Agnes Mlambo's teenage son, Bukhosi, went missing, and the Mlambos feared the worst.

House of Stone is a sweeping epic that spans the fall of Rhodesia through Zimbabwe's turbulent beginnings, exploring the persistence of the oppressed in a young nation seeking an identity, but built on forgetting.

You can buy a copy of this book via the link below.


Program Moderator:

Mshaï Mwangola Ph.D.– Oraturist / performance scholar.


Novuyo Rosa Tshuma – Author.


Webinar Highlights:

Novuyo Rosa- In order to try and get this history as depicted in the book, I had to interview family members, I had conversations with my mother and uncles because the history depicted is not the mainstream history because its history that is not talked about or not found in the books, the way to get this history was by asking others to share the stories which informed me on the way I was to write the book. To me, it's also a valid way of telling history outside the formal notions of what history is. (Time frame from minute 10:53- 11:33)

Novuyo Rosa- The post-colonial foundation that history has really helped me to also think about writing or art in the world in terms of ideas and abstract notions of being which is also useful in trying to understand systems, our histories, and people generally. (Time frame from minute 17:00- 17:22)

Novuyo Rosa- House of stone to me is about the desire to learn Zimbabwe’s history and also to tell the history that is not always part of the mainstream history because Zimbabwe has liberation movements that are suspicious of history and thus history is tightly controlled in Zimbabwe. (Time frame from minute 33:44- 34:05)

Mshai Mwangola- It's one thing when you say soo many people died, it's another thing when we look at a person and a family and somebody says, this happened to my brother or to my wife or to my child and this was the effect, and see how these people live with the effect of this history. (Time frame from minute 39:12- 39:30)

Novuyo Rosa- There is some great academic work that is not in the mainstream, it's not published for some reason and this points out that academia or intellectual rigor is needed and is part of building national or human knowledge. It's unfortunate in a place like Zimbabwe, knowledge is not respected. (Time frame from minute 42:46- 43:20)

Mshai Mwangola- One experience doesn’t define us or shape us, it influences us and this is not to say that it's great when bad things happen but that’s not all people’s lives shrink to but they are able to keep doing other things as well. (Time frame from minute 48:50- 49:09)

Mshai Mwangola- Yes we have a majority and the majority might have a history whether it is a gendered majority, a racial majority or an ethnic majority. This is echoing throughout the world, a political majority that the minority must also have a place, their stories must be told and that their wounds are the wounds of a nation. (Time frame from minute 55:10- 55:33)

Novuyo Rosa- The story shows the beauty of the human spirit that as we are living, we are still struggling in a positive sense to achieve what we want. (Time frame from minute 1:01:00- 1:01:12)

Mshai Mwangola-  No matter where you look, you listen to the news and whether we are looking at the U.S or Uganda, anywhere in the world, the issues raised in this book are also what minorities all over the world are struggling with no matter where they are. (Time frame from minute 1:01:52- 1:02:18)